The Journalist’s Guide to Disability in Media: An Overview of Disability Inclusion, Accessibility, and Representation

This resource collection is designed for journalists and other media professionals looking to improve their content related to the disability community. You'll find simple, actionable tools and practices you can use today to make your coverage more accessible to people with diverse communication disabilities, needs, and preferences.

By Ability Central

9 May, 2024

A visually impaired Black man with close-cropped black hair controls his computer via the keyboard while talking to a Black woman in a pink shirt sitting beside him

As the world of media continues to evolve, our role as storytellers evolves, too. In the digital age, new accessibility tools, along with language surrounding disability and other concepts of intersectionality, allow communities to connect in new and more authentic ways. However, when we overlook access and inclusion for people with sensory and communication disabilities, new technology and media can also create new barriers to communication.

This resource collection is designed for journalists and other media professionals looking to improve their content related to the disability community. You'll find simple, actionable tools and practices you can use today to make your coverage more accessible to people with diverse communication disabilities, needs, and preferences.

We also explore language, culture, and inclusivity practices related to disability. Our goal is to help journalists and other media professionals learn to communicate about disability in ways that do not create harm, while also empowering journalists to lean into authentic perspectives from the disability community.

"This guide is a helpful reminder that as journalists we should strive not just to make our material as widely accessible as possible - but also to improve how we represent and portray people with disabilities. I found it comprehensive, simple, and easy to use - a practical resource for time-poor journalists looking for straightforward guidelines."

Laurence Zavriew, Senior Broadcast Journalist, BBC World Service

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Who is this collection for?

The media plays a critical role in amplifying authentic relationships. Poor representation in the past has led to many misconceptions about the disabled community. Similarly, technology created with people who do not have disabilities in mind has created barriers for people with disabilities who want to access, create, and be a part of media. 

The phrase “Nothing about us, without us” is commonly used by people in the disabled community. Disability is not widely covered in popular media, and when it is, sources and quotations often come from doctors, caregivers, and other “industry experts,” rather than directly from people with lived experience. 

This collection of resources serves to educate journalists and media professionals, but it has also been built with readers, educators, and members of the disability community in mind. Our hope is that everyone who creates, consumes, or shares content finds something to benefit from in these resources. We encourage everyone who visits our website to educate yourself as thoroughly and often as possible.

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The sources for these articles are excellent resources to keep learning about disability inclusion and accessibility. You can view them here. 

For further information about disability-related media, or to get in contact with members of the Ability Central board and community who are available to speak about their experience or disability, reach out to the Ability Central team at hello@abilitycentral.org.   

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Assistive Technology Education
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