The National Center on Disability and Journalism has announced the winners of the 2021 Katherine Schneider Journalism Award for Excellence in Reporting on Disability, the only journalism contest devoted exclusively to the coverage of people with disabilities and disability issues.
Journalists working in digital, print and broadcast media from around the world competed for awards and cash prizes totaling $8,000.
Reporters from The Washington Post won the top two spots in the large media category. William Wan took first for “Pandemic Isolation has killed thousands of Alzheimer’s patients while families watch from afar,” which examines the number of deaths caused by Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia in the U.S. during the COVID-19 pandemic and how the isolation associated with dementia has been exacerbated by the pandemic.
Hannah Dreier of the Post took second for “What to do about Ahav?,” a profile about a mother working to take care of her Black, mentally ill son during the pandemic and a time of racial unrest, with photographs by Bonnie Mount.
Freelance Phoenix journalist Amy Silverman claimed third in the large media category for “People with Developmental Disabilities Were Promised Health. Instead, They Face Delays and Denials.,” published by ProPublica, about an Arizona state agency that has turned away people who seek assistance for developmental disabilities because of paperwork issues.
In the small media category, reporters from the ARIJ Arab Investigative Network took first and second places. Ayat Khiry won first for “Falling on Deaf Ears,” an investigation into how deaf and hard-of-hearing people struggle to receive services at government hospitals in Egypt. Safaa Ashour finished second for “Blue, Beaten and Bruised,” which details physical abuse of children at special needs centers in Egypt.
The third place prize was given to Diana Mwango of Nation Media Group, whose story, “Challenges Disabled Women Face in Accessing Sexual and Reproductive Health Services,” examines the mistreatment disabled women receive in maternity wards and sexual health clinics.
The contest generated more than 130 entries from around the world, said NCDJ Director Kristin Gilger, Reynolds Professor of Business Journalism at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.
“Over the years, the contest has been more and more international in focus,” Gilger said. “There’s a growing recognition of the importance of covering this important community – and covering it well.”
Judges for the Large Media Market category were Eric Garcia, senior Washington correspondent for The Independent; Amisha Padnani, editor on the Obituaries desk at The New York Times and the creator of Overlooked; and Susannah Frame, chief investigative reporter and reporting coach at KING 5.
Judges for the Small Media Market category were Daniel King, copy editor and Recharge editor at Mother Jones; Cheryl W. Thompson, investigative correspondent for NPR; and Jennifer Smith Richards, reporter at the Chicago Tribune.
First-place winners in both categories will discuss their work at a “Must See Mondays” event on Nov. 1 in the First Amendment Forum at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication in Phoenix, Arizona. The event also will be live streamed.
For previous winners, visit https://ncdj.org/contest/ncdj-contest-archive/.
The Katherine Schneider Journalism Award for Excellence in Reporting on Disability was established in 2013 with the support of Schneider, a retired clinical psychologist who has been blind since birth and who also supports the national Schneider Family Book Awards. The reporting contest is administered by the National Center on Disability and Journalism at the Cronkite School.