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NCDJ Opens Ruderman Foundation Contest Recognizing Excellence in Disability Reporting

April 6, 2018
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The National Center on Disability and Journalism is accepting entries for the 2018 Ruderman Foundation Awards for Excellence in Reporting on Disability. The Ruderman contest is the only journalism contest devoted exclusively to disability coverage.

More than $20,000 in cash prizes will be given to first-, second- and third-place winners in large and small media categories. There is no entry fee for the competition, which is open to digital, broadcast and print media outlets.  

The contest seeks to recognize and promote the best reporting on disability issues and people with disabilities in the U.S. and abroad. Major support comes from the Ruderman Family Foundation, a philanthropic organization that advocates for the full inclusion of people with disabilities in society.  Katherine Schneider, a retired clinical psychologist who lives with a disability, sponsors the awards in a category for small media outlets.

“People with disabilities are 20 percent of the world’s population, making them the largest minority in any society,” said Jay Ruderman, president of the Ruderman Family Foundation. “Yet, their civil and human rights are often ignored, making them the poorest and most segregated group. The Ruderman Foundation Awards for Excellence in Reporting on Disability seeks to recognize those journalists who most accurately report on the real issues facing people with disabilities and by doing so attack the stigmas which perpetuate the segregation and discrimination of this population.”

The contest is administered by the National Center on Disability and Journalism at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University. The NCDJ provides resources and materials for journalists covering disability issues and topics and has run a national disability journalism awards program in Schneider’s name since 2013. Past winners have included journalists from The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Minneapolis Star Tribune, Center for Investigative Reporting, WAMU public radio in Washington, D.C, ProPublica and Business World of India.  

The 2018 winners will be recognized at a fall 2018 ceremony in Washington, D.C., featuring a keynote speaker on disability coverage as well as a disability reporting workshop for journalists.

Contest entries are due by midnight on Aug. 6, 2017. Entries must have been published or aired between July 1, 2017, and July 31, 2018. Entries are accepted from outside the U.S., although the work submitted must be in English. For more information and to enter, visit http://ncdj.org/contest/.

Entries are judged by professional journalists and disability experts. Past judges have included “PBS NewsHour” anchor Judy Woodruff; Tony Coelho, a former six-term U.S. congressman from California and the primary sponsor of the Americans With Disabilities Act; and former Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post reporter Leon Dash.

Judges look for entries that illuminate key government and private practices that impact people with disabilities as well as stories that go beyond the ordinary in conveying the challenges experienced by people living with disabilities.