New journalism award to recognize disability coverage

August 1, 2012

A new national journalism awards program will recognize excellence in reporting on disability issues and people with disabilities.

The Katherine Schneider Journalism Award for Excellence in Reporting on Disability is the first national journalism contest devoted exclusively to disability coverage. It is administered by the National Center on Disability & Journalism, headquartered at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University, under a grant from Katherine Schneider, a retired clinical psychologist who also supports the Schneider Family Book Award. That awards program is administered by the American Library Association and honors the best children’s books each year that capture the disability experience for children and adolescents in three age categories. Download Full Image

Entries for the new journalism award will be accepted beginning early next year at Each entry may consist of a single story or story package published in print or online or broadcast on radio or television. The first-place winner will receive an award of $5,000 and an invitation to speak at the Cronkite School. A second place award of $1,500 also will be given, and judges additionally may give $500 honorable mention awards.

Entries must be published or aired between July 1, 2012, and June 30, 2013, and submissions will be due on Aug. 1, 2013. The inaugural winners will be announced shortly after that.

“I'm thrilled to sponsor these awards for the best of the best reporting on disability issues,” Schneider said. “The Cronkite School is the perfect place for these awards to be housed. I eagerly await the judges' selection of the first year's winners.”

Schneider, who has been blind since birth, hopes the award will help journalists improve their coverage of disability issues, moving beyond “inspirational” stories that don’t accurately represent the lives of people with disabilities.

“That kind of stuff is remarkable, but that’s not life as most of us live it,” she said.

NCDJ, which has been housed at the Cronkite School since 2008, offers resources and materials for journalists covering disability issues and topics.

Kristin Gilger, Cronkite associate dean and administrator of NCDJ, said an estimated 56.7 million people in the U.S. – about 19 percent of the country’s population – live with disabilities of some kind. But while there are journalism awards on virtually every other important societal topic, including religion, poverty, injustice, minorities, women and children, government, politics and health care, there is no comparable award recognizing work on the topic of disabilities.

“We hope to call attention to the really good work that is being done in this area and to encourage more of it,” Gilger said.

This is the second national journalism awards program operated by the Cronkite School. The Barlett & Steele Awards for Investigative Business Journalism are administered by the Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism, which is headquartered at the Cronkite School. 

Reporter , ASU Now


ASU book group to discuss English professor's 'Ephemeron: Poems'

August 2, 2012

The ASU Book Group, which is open to all ASU faculty, staff and students, will begin its program for 2012-2013 on Aug. 29, with T.R. Hummer’s latest book, "Epheremon: Poems."

The Book Group meets the last Wednesday of each month from noon to 1 p.m., in Piper Writers House on the Tempe campus. (Aug. 29 meeting will be in the Memorial Union Copper Room, 206, due to construction in Piper Writers House.) Authors are generally present to discuss their books. Download Full Image

In a work of startling originality, Hummer's “Ephemeron” presents a meditation on ephemerality from the point of view of the ephemeron itself as it passes, be it the individual, the atom, the particle. Relentless in its stalking of the boundary between being and nonbeing, Hummer's work becomes a tour-de-force that shines a spotlight into dark corners of Being, revealing yet more darkness.

Hummer won the ASU Faculty Achievement Award for Best Performance or Artwork for the book, as well as the Mississippi Arts and Letters Award for Poetry.

Hummer grew up in the Deep South, and spent many of his high school years playing saxophone in various rock and roll bands before he met poetry. This musical influence is visible in his work: he often discusses poetry together with music, or music with poetry, and his career has included both writing and performance.

On Sept. 25 (a departure from the usual date), mystery writer and former journalist Betty Webb will discuss her book “Desert Wind.”

In “Desert Wind,” an old wrangler holds the key to hundreds of deaths in secretive Walapai Flats, Arizona, but the only person he’ll confide in is the ghost of John Wayne. Also in the mix: a uranium mine close to the Grand Canyon, a tie to a 1954 movie and secrets kept by the desert.

In November, the Book Group will read “The Cat’s Table” by Michael Ondaatje, date TBA, as part of ASUReads Ondaatje. The author will be on campus that month. Ondaatje is the author of “The English Patient.”

The remaining Book Group dates for the year are Oct. 31, Jan. 30, Feb. 27, March 27, April 24 and May 29. For more information, contact Judith Smith, (480) 965-4821, or

The ASU Book Group is sponsored by the Department of English and the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing.