Thursday, May 9, 2013

Autism reporting needs better sources

Shannon Des Roches Rosa, writing at about autism in the media, urges journalists to “work harder, find better sources, seek out fairer messages, and help the rest of society learn to better accept and understand autistic people.”

As she aptly states,
“Would you want someone patronizing you in front of the entire world, or writing headlines about how awful your life is and how much you suck? Well, autistic people don’t want that either, and neither do autism families -- yet those are the autism stories most frequently in the news.”
This former journalist, diagnosed in adulthood, appreciates Rosa’s stance. When I worked for a California newspaper, I placed personal emphasis upon accurate, respectful portrayals of people with disabilities. I continue to advocate greater representation by people with disabilities in the field of journalism.

What I appreciate most about Rosa’s essay is that she goes beyond merely complaining about bad sources and misinformation in the media. Instead she has curated an impressive list of authoritative, credible sources.

Adult autistics, autistic parents and neurotypical parents of autistic children, autism professionals, autism science, research and pseudoscience debunking; journalists and autism communities are included in her list.

(Aspiring library professional that I am, I salute effective curating. I also advocate greater diversity among library professionals.)

 With their position of power, journalists have a responsibility to portray autistic people accurately. My thanks to Rosa for her efforts toward advancing this aim.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Robust debate and even unusual opinions are encouraged, but please stay on-topic and be respectful. Comments are subject to review for personal attacks or insults, discriminatory statements, hyperlinks not directly related to the discussion and commercial spam.