Amanda Morris will be The New York Times’s first reporting fellow focused on disability issues.
The fellowship is in partnership with the National Center on Disability and Journalism at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University, which works with journalists around the world to improve reporting on disability. The two-year program is philanthropically supported and will recruit one fellow each year to work at The Times.
Raised by profoundly deaf parents, Amanda identifies with the disability community, having a moderate-to-severe hearing loss. She has worn a hearing aid since she was a year old. A graduate of New York University, she has reported for The Associated Press, NPR, CNN and The Hartford Courant, among others. Most recently, she was a bioscience reporter for The Arizona Republic.
At The Times, Amanda will report and write stories on a range of issues related to disability as part of the newsroom’s effort to better cover the more than 20 percent of the U.S. population that lives with some kind of disability. She will spend her next year with more than 30 new fellows who arrive next month.
“Few avenues exist to develop journalistic expertise on disability issues because such beats do not exist at most news outlets,” said Ted Kim, The Times’s director of early career journalism strategy and recruiting. “The lack of coverage, in turn, results in a lack of awareness about issues that affect a large portion of the country.”
Kristin Gilger, interim dean of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State and director of the National Center on Disability and Journalism, echoed the need for more and better coverage of disability issues and people with disabilities.
“This fellowship program is an important step in the right direction at one of the nation’s top media institutions,” she said.