Friday, April 16, 2010

A quality piece of journalism

Recently, we wrote an entry about our frustration with the way the media talks about disabilities. From saying a person is "confined" to a wheelchair, to talking about somebody as "suffering" from a birth defect, the media oftentimes uses adjectives that are hurtful and false.

But as this article in the Chicago Tribune shows, it's unfair to lump all journalists together. Lolly Bowean does a fantastic job of telling the story of a new wheelchair basketball team in the south suburbs of Chicago. This became immediately clear in just the second paragraph, when Bowean says Tony "has spina bifida and uses a wheelchair." Later, Bowean describes the athletes as "gliding," "pumping the chair," and "rolling [themselves]" up and down the court. From a journalistic standpoint, this is tremendous. These are all phrases that accurately paint a picture, yet at the same time don't portray the athletes in a negative light (even subconsciously).

In the end, Bowean treats the athletes as they should be treated: as athletes. And for that, she earns the inaugural golden spoke quality journalism award from us here at Different Spokes!


Haddayr said...

Here's another one:

johana Schwartz said...

People-first language in the press
elevates our status and our credibility by putting the disability second to
the person and talents. Media can project a positive image
of ourselves as people with various traits: perhaps we play a musical
instrument or perhaps we speak with a communication device. When we hear
about traits related to our disabilities, we do not want the disability to
overshadow our selves.