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Barbara Jordan Media Awards

Video of Texas Governor Rick Perry congratulating the 2014 Barbara Jordan Media Awardees.

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.

2014 Barbara Jordan Media Awards Ceremony (for 2013 submissions)

The Governor's Committee on People with Disabilities' 2014 Barbara Jordan Media Awards ceremony will be hosted by the University of North Texas Mayborn School of Journalism in Denton. The Awards ceremony will be held at the Apogee Center on the campus of UNT on Thursday, March 20, 11:30am. Bob Phillips of Texas Country Reporter will be the Keynote Speaker. Individual tickets and table sponsorships are available online at the UNT website.

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

2014 Barbara Jordan Media Award Winners


Fran-Tastic by Adam Winkler, Austin


Uncharted Waters by Nikki Lyssy, Westlake
The Featherduster: Westlake High School


Legally Blind Austin Man to Run Boston Marathon with a Special Guest by Matt Largey, Austin
KUT Radio


Finding His Voice by Ralph Barrera, Austin
Austin American Statesman


An Interview with Dr. Temple Grandin by Coalition of Texans with Disabilities, Austin
Coalition of Texans with Disabilities and Golden Arm Productions
10th Annual Cinema Touching Disability Film Festival


MS: Painfully Invisible by Chelsea Henderson, Beaumont
UPBeat: Lamar University Press Magazine


Roxy's Recipes by Bob Phillips, Dan Stricklin and Mike Snyder, Dallas
Texas Country Reporter


Scruggs Finds Sister of Strength by Sarah Mervosh, Dallas
Dallas Morning News


Visions Made Real by Tina Phan, Omar Gallaga, and Ralph Barrera, Austin
Austin American Statesman

View Past Barbara Jordan Media Award Winners »