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Barbara Jordan Media Awards

Each year the Governor’s Committee on People with Disabilities, in conjunction with local committees throughout the state, accepts nominations for media professionals and students who have produced material for the public which accurately and positively reports on individuals with disabilities, using People First language and respectful depictions. Nominations can be submitted by anyone, including the producer of the piece, by completing the submission form and sending it with any necessary supporting materials to the Governor’s Committee on People with Disabilities.

Gold award medallion with image of Barbara Jordan in profile

A panel of judges, including media professionals and people with disabilities, score the entries and collectively select the winners. Each year the decisions for the judges become more difficult as more quality entries are received in the categories of Print Feature, Print News, Photojournalism, TV Feature, TV Documentary, Special Contribution by an Organization, Internet, etc. See Submission Guidelines and Entry Form for complete list of categories.

For teachers and students of journalism, THE SCOOP is an educational video produced by the Texas Governor's Committee on People with Disabilities. This informative and interactive 45 minute training session titled "The Scoop on Reporting About People with Disabilities" illustrates how to interact with and report about people with disabilities. The video incorporates open captioning and audio description to show media accessibility. The video, lesson plans, and related documents can be viewed for free on our Website, or teachers can contact the Governor's Committee on People with Disabilities directly for a DVD and paper copies.

The Barbara Jordan Media Awards are named in honor of the Houston native and U.S. congresswoman who gained recognition and a place of honor in history. She was known as a remarkable orator who broke barriers and built bridges. She received the Presidential Medal of Freedom and served for one day in 1972 as the Governor of Texas (both Governor Preston Smith and Lt. Governor Ben Barnes were out of state). In 1973, Jordan was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, and eventually began to use a cane and then a wheelchair. Barbara Jordan passed away in 1996.

 The Barbara Jordan Media Award itself is a beautiful three-inch bronze medallion designed by David Deming, an internationally prominent sculptor, and is presented to winners in several categories each year at an awards ceremony hosted by one of the many local committees throughout the state.

 Elements in past winning entries include:

  • Portraying people with disabilities as independent and productive.
  • Focusing on stories about people first and disability second.
  • Using people with disabilities as sources, rather than as examples.
  • Placing coverage in appropriate subject area (e.g. sports covered in sports section).

To be eligible, entries must have been produced and offered to the public between January 1 and December 31 of the current year and submitted to our office by January 15 of the following year.

Download and print a Barbara Jordan Media Awards Brochure in PDF format

Download and print Barbara Jordan Media Awards Brochure information in Word format

The Barbara Jordan Media Awards Brochure is also available in large print upon request.

For more information and resources on reporting on people with disabilities, as well as information on the national Katherine Schneider Journalism Award for Excellence in Reporting on Disability, visit the website of the National Center on Disability and Journalism.

2015 Barbara Jordan Media Awards Ceremony

The Governor's Committee on People with Disabilities' 2015 Barbara Jordan Media Awards ceremony will be hosted by the University of Texas in Austin. The Awards ceremony will be held at the San Jacinto Residence Hall, 309 East 21st Street, on the UT campus on Saturday, April 18, 6:00pm. Ticket prices are $25 per person, $15 for students; Sponsorships are available. For more information, please contact Yvonne Loya at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or by phone at (512) 232-4856.

For more information, contact Jo Virgil at (512) 463-5740 or send her a message.

Purchase tickets here.

2015 Barbara Jordan Media Award Winners


My Father’s Eyes
Sheila Allee


Adaptive Crossfit
Kevin Reece, KHOU-TV

Summer Jobs
Teresa Woodard, WFAA-TV


Bridging the Gap: Arts in Context
Eve Tarlo and Galia Farber, KLRU-TV


Confidence and Courage
Gabe Wolf, Killeen Daily Herald
Lone Wolf Photography


Cancer Survivor to Tackle Marathon on Two Good Legs
Roberta MacInnis, Houston Chronicle


Never Defeated
Alyssa Biere, Mary Cuba, J.C. Rickman, and Samantha Forester
Midwestern State University


Sisterly Love
Zhouie Martinez, Westlake High School

View Past Barbara Jordan Media Award Winners »