Cronkite J-School Takes in Disability and Journalism Center

By: E&P Staff The Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University is providing the first university home for the National Center on Disability & Journalism, which provides resources for journalists covering people with disabilities.

Founded in 1998 in San Francisco as the Disability Media Project, the center also aims to raise awareness of how the news media cover people with disabilities. It took its current name in 2000 and was headquartered for some time in Boston.

Last year, the center's board sought an affiliation with a university journalism program.

The center now has an office in the new Cronkite building in downtown Phoenix, and is staffed by Cronkite graduate student Jake Geller. Cronkite Assistant Dean Kristin Gilger oversees the center.

"The mainstream press frequently under-covers this segment of the population or the coverage is inaccurate or incomplete," Gilger said in an announcement of the center's new home. "We hope to help reporters do a better job, not because we advocate a particular point of view but because we are concerned about the journalistic principles of accuracy, fairness and diversity in news coverage."

The center also announced new members to its national advisory board of journalists and disability experts. They include the following, with descriptions provided by the center:

? Jennifer LaFleur, director of computer-assisted reporting for ProPublica, a nonprofit news organization that produces journalism in the public interest;

? Steve Doig, Knight Chair in Journalism at the Cronkite School and a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter;

? Suzanne Robitaille, founder and editor-in-chief of, a consumer Web site that covers disability news and assistive technology;

? Nan Connolly, former business editor with Knight Ridder who teaches news reporting at the Nicholson School of Communication, University of Central Florida;

? Beth Haller, professor of journalism/new media at Towson University in Maryland and former co-editor of the Society for Disability Studies' scholarly journal "Disability Studies;"

? Greg Smith, book author and host and producer of the nationally syndicated radio program "On A Roll - Talk Radio on Life & Disability."


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