Disabled people are extremely underrepresented in the media. In fact, disabled people are still frequently not consulted about stories about disability. So, I wanted to list some of the opportunities and support out their for disabled journalists and those who write articles or essays or other non fiction. I know some people don’t call themselves journalists. But if you write articles or essays or other non fiction that you submit to publications, I’m talking about you.
Also, please note some of these things are UK based.
Disabled Writers is a database of disabled journalists and sources, with a view to giving publications a place to find disabled people, so they can no longer justify the excuse that they couldn’t find any disabled journalists or sources.
It’s free to have a profile and all that’s required is to fill out a form on their website. They take profiles of everyone from disabled people starting out looking for paid journalism work, to established disabled journalists.
The database is really easy to use and can be sorted by category and disability, to make searching for relevant people easy.
They also highlight the importance of pay and make it clear that disabled journalists deserve to be paid for their work, so hopefully it should bring paying work your way.
They also share general journalism opportunities on Twitter, though these are mainly based in America.
The Handy Uncapped Pen is a website run by disabled writer J. R. Jackson. It focuses on disability, neurodiversity and writing.
A lot of the stuff on here is for writers in general, but as there are some really cool resources, including lists of publications to submit to and a mentoring program, I think it’s definitely worth checking out.
The Journalism Diversity Fund, can pay for UK based diverse journalists, which includes disabled journalists, to take an NTCJ accredited course, which is the industry standard to become a qualified journalist in the UK. This is useful if you wish to get a position in a news room or become a staff writer for an organisation. They can also contribute towards living expenses.
Unfortunately, you cannot receive this support for a distance learning course, which is frustrating to hear, as this is the most accessible option or the only accessible option, for many disabled people, particularly as there are areas of the country that do not have an NTCJ course.
They also don’t fund undergraduate degrees, though this is understandable, as they are not a required part of an NTCJ course and are not essential for entry in to the industry, yet would be considerably more expensive for the fund to pay for.
They also do have a specific disability bursary, the Thomas Reid Bursary. However, please be advised that their coverage of Thomas Reid, a disabled journalist in whose name the bursary was created, is highly problematic and includes language and ideas that many disabled people will find offensive.
The BBC Extend Hub,aims to provide support for disabled applicants in the recruitment process for BBC schemes that support people to get in to the industry. They have specific journalism schemes as well as wider options in the media industry.
They also sometimes run a specific scheme to support disabled people in to news, however at the time of writing there isn’t one of these schemes taking or due to take applications and as they don’t follow a seasonal pattern, I don’t know when there may be another one.
Erica Verrillo has a list of markets for disabled writers, which includes places that take non fiction and essays.
Nicole Melanson has a list of journals with a disability theme.
I hope you found something useful on this list. As always, if you know of or run any other opportunities, please contact me.
On a related note, if you write novels, I’ve done a list of opportunities for disabled novel writers, that you might like to check out. if there are any other types of opportunity related to disability media you’d like me to do listings of, feel welcome to contact me to suggest them.
I hope you find success in your pursuit of journalism. I think more disabled talent will be a great addition to the industry.