Friday, May 29, 2009

Georgetown Center for Child and Human Development sponsors symposium on media images of disability June 15

From the Georgetown University Center for Child and Human Development:

The Georgetown University Center for Child and Human Development and the School of Continuing Studies, Journalism Program will present a symposium on "Framing Disability: The Influence of Media Representation" Monday, June 15, 2009, 12-4 p.m. at the Copley Formal Lounge, 37th and O St. NW, Washington, D.C.

A light lunch will be provided at 11:45 a.m. The forum begins promptly at noon. In you are interested in attending, please RSVP at or call (202) 687-8742.(Please inform us of any special accommodations you may need when you RSVP)

According to the US Census Bureau, 54 million Americans have a disability, representing 18% of the population. Between 1990 and 2000, the number of Americans with disabilities increased 25 percent, outpacing any other subgroup of the U.S. population. With an aggregate income of $1 trillion and $220 billion of discretionary spending people with disabilities is an often ignored market.

Media, especially news organizations, have the ability to raise awareness, clarify information, and educate the public on issues as diverse as foreign policy and fashion. Although mass media has the potential to “socially construct images of people with disabilities” positively, in reality, it often perpetuates stereotypes by depicting individuals with disabilities as dependent, helpless, burdens, threats, or heroes. According to the Special Olympics, more than 80% of U.S. adults surveyed felt that media portrayals were an obstacle to the acceptance and inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities.

The symposium, "Framing Disability: The Influence of Media Representation," will explore issues related to the representation of persons with disabilities in the media and how this representation can influence the public’s attitudes and perpetuate stereotypes which in turn influence decisions regarding school placement, employment opportunities, housing choices, use of public transportation, access to health care, and a host of other activities, programs, and supports that are available to all citizens.

The plenary speaker will be Judy Woodruff, Senior Correspondent for the PBS Newshour (pictured).

Panelists are:

· Leon Dash, Swanlund Chair and Professor of Journalism, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

· Tawara Goode, Director, National Center for Cultural Competence

· Beth Haller, Professor, Mass Communication & Communication Studies, Towson University

· Deborah Perry, Associate Professor, Department of Pediatrics, Georgetown University

· Nolana Yip, Lecturer, Department of English, Georgetown University

· Jody Wildly, Diversity Program Manager at the Office of Diversity, Management and Equal Opportunity at the Department of Health and Human Services

For information about the event’s sponsors, please see Georgetown University,; Center for Child and Human Development,; and the School of Continuing Studies, Journalism Program,

The Center for Child and Human Development was established over four decades ago to improve the quality of life for all children and youth especially those with special needs, and their families. The Center is founded on an interdisciplinary approach to service, training, research, community outreach, technical assistance, and public policy.

The Master in Professional Studies Journalism program fuses traditional journalism and "new" media. As innovative technology formats change the way news is delivered, the critical skills remain the same: careful, patient reporting, sophisticated storytelling, and sound, ethical judgment. The MPS Journalism graduate degree program emphasizes all of the elements needed to be a successful, adaptable journalist.