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Getting Beyond Stereotypes: Better Disability Journalism

About This Course

There are 56 million Americans who identify as disabled. Tens of millions more are connected to disability as direct caregivers or family members. Yet journalism about disability is too often stuck in decades-old models that imagine disability only as tragedy, a personal medical problem or something to be overcome. Thankfully, the historical divide between newsrooms and disability activist communities is rapidly becoming an a thing of the past.

This webinar will offer better ways to tell stories about disability as identity, reveal key resources for reporting on these stories and see the disability angle hidden within almost every beat.

What Will I Learn?

  • How to avoid common mistakes that dehumanize disabled individuals
  • Where and how to find untold stories about disability in America
  • The benefits of understanding disability as identity rather than as a collection of medical concerns
  • How to connect disability to other stories in other communities in order to practice intersectional journalism

Who Should Take this Course?

Every major beat has a disability angle, likely one you haven’t explored. Politics, metro, sports, health, entertainment, even weather (we could tell you stories about snowstorms, Hurricane Katrina and wheelchair-accessible trailers) — reporters who work in any of these fields, and the editors who oversee newsrooms, will find a wealth of new stories at their fingertips once they begin to engage with disability.

Course Instructor

Lawrence Carter-Long

Lawrence Carter-Long has been featured, or placed stories in the Associated Press, New York Times, Washington Post, Guardian (UK) and USA Today among other respected outlets. He is the Public Affairs Specialist for the National Council on Disability, an independent federal agency.

David M. Perry

David M. Perry is a disability rights journalist and history professor at Dominican University. His work has appeared at, The Chronicle of Higher Education, The New York Times, The Atlantic, Al Jazeera America, The Guardian, The Washington Post, and many others. Perry is the father of a nine-year-old boy with Down syndrome.


Robert R. McCormick Foundation

The Robert R. McCormick Foundation is a nonprofit organization committed to fostering communities of educated, informed and engaged citizens. Through philanthropic programs, Cantigny Park and museums, the foundation helps develop citizen leaders and works to make life better in our communities. The foundation was established as a charitable trust in 1955, upon the death of Col. Robert R. McCormick, the longtime editor and publisher of the Chicago Tribune. The foundation is one of the nation's largest foundations, with more than $1 billion in assets.

This $30 course is free thanks to the generous support of the Robert R. McCormick Foundation.

Frequently Asked Questions

What web browser should I use?

The Open edX platform works best with current versions of Chrome, Firefox or Safari, or with Internet Explorer version 9 and above.

See our list of supported browsers for the most up-to-date information.