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DisabledWriters.com: Increasing disability diversity in journalism

The Disability Visibility Project® is all about pushing the status quo in media and journalism. One example is our partnership with novelist Nicola Griffith in #CripLit, a series of Twitter chats with disabled writers on publishing and disability representation in literature. In our partnership with #CripTheVote, we recently hosted a chat on political coverage of disabled people during this current Administration.

graphic with a white background. On the left is an illustration of a typewriter in black. On the right side are the words: DISABLED WRITERS in black. Below in smaller font in red: disabledwriters.com @DisabledWriters. Below that in larger black font: Increasing disability in journalism one connection at a time.
Image description: graphic with a white background. On the left is an illustration of a typewriter in black. On the right side are the words: DISABLED WRITERS in black. Below in smaller font in red: disabledwriters.com @DisabledWriters. Below that in larger black font: Increasing disability in journalism one connection at a time.

 

The DVP is thrilled to announce a new partnership with reporter s.e. smith focused on connecting disabled journalists/writers to editors: DisabledWriters.com.

Disabled Writers is a resource to help editors connect with disabled writers and journalists, and journalists connect with disabled sources. Our goal is specifically to promote paid opportunities for multiply marginalized members of the disability community, and to encourage editors and journalists to think of disabled people for stories that stretch beyond disability issues.

This resource is specifically designed to help editors connect with disabled people working in journalism, or trying to break into the field. It also includes disabled experts who are available to serve as sources, such as attorneys, physicians, social workers, artists, and others with professional experience or education that makes them expert sources in their fields.

 

People can complete a form and once reviewed have their profile added to a database that will allow editors or reporters contact them directly. Here are more details on how this project works. The database has over 50 profiles so far! Check these amazing folks: https://www.disabledwriters.com/profiles/

s.e. smith, creator of Disabled Writers, on how this project came about:

I started Disabled Writers because disabled voices are painfully underrepresented in journalism, particularly in the case of multiply marginalised people. We’re rarely treated as authorities on our own stories, or anything else. We need disabled people reporting on disability issues and disabled experts being quoted in stories about disability. This is especially vital for complex intersectional subjects, like disability and police violence or LGBQT abuse in long-term care facilities. But more broadly, we need to create opportunities for disabled journalists who want to break into the field and are struggling to get a foothold, no matter what they want to cover.

“Nothing about us without us” was created by the disability community for a reason. I’m hoping that this project will eliminate the “I couldn’t find anyone” excuse from journalists quoting nondisabled “experts” and editors commissioning disability stories by nondisabled people to the exclusion of disabled journalists.   Journalism as a field is my passion and I want journalism to be better. While increased diversity on its own has merits and is something to promote, this isn’t just about hitting checkboxes. Diversity and inclusion have demonstrable benefits that improve the power, performance, and depth of reporting. Your newsroom will be stronger with disabled staff writers and editors, and your publications will be better with disabled freelancers.

 

I’ve written previously about the need for more disabled people in radio on and off-air. The diversity in media conversation doesn’t include disability but it should. DisabledWriters.com has the potential to be an invaluable resource for editors and publishers in finding talented and diverse disabled people.

We’re here. It’s up to them now.

More Information

s.e. smith: http://realsesmith.com 

Twitter: @sesmith

Disabled Writers: https://www.disabledwriters.com/

Twitter: @DisabledWriters

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