Barbara Jordan Media Awards

2017 Barbara Jordan Media Award Winners

Gold award medallion with image of Barbara Jordan in profile The Governor’s Committee on People with Disabilities announces the winners of the 34th Annual Barbara Jordan Media Awards for pieces produced in 2016. Winners were chosen by a panel of judges, including journalists, professionals in the field of disabilities, and Texans with disabilities, and will be honored during a ceremony hosted by the University of North Texas Frank W. & Sue Mayborn School of Journalism on April 13, 2017 on the campus of the University of North Texas. The awards luncheon will begin at 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the Apogee Club at the University of North Texas Apogee Stadium, 1251 S Bonnie Brae Street, Denton, Texas, 76207. Go to the event’s Registration Page to purchase tickets to the awards ceremony program.


Deborah Nowinski, Nassau Bay
“Your Role in Inclusion Theatre”
ISBN 9781517357498

Book Student

Madelynn Faith Niles, Laredo
“My Hospital Journey – It’s Okay to be Afraid”
Tate Publishing, 978-1-68270-671-8

Print Feature

Matthew Payne, Denton Record Chronicle
Veteran’s 900 mile ride ends in Aubrey

Print Commentary

Adam Pitluk, formerly with Dallas Morning News
Reading, Writing and Assessment: Researchers on the verge of an early dyslexia diagnosis

Broadcast Feature

Elizabeth Jeneault, Spectrum News, Austin
Lights, Camera, Sign: Austin News Show for the Deaf Rises in Popularity

Broadcast Series

Alisha Laventure, WFAA, Dallas
“12 Amputations, 2 Years Recovery, 1 New Lease on Life”
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3


Wendy Rigby, Texas Public Radio, San Antonio
Valor Games Played in Military City, USA


Jay Janner and James Gregg, Austin American-Statesman
Paralyzed Triathlete Strives to Race Again” (video)

College Student

Megan Mikaelian, Reporting Texas, Austin
Austin Blades Give Disabled Children Full-Contact Hockey Experience

High School Student

Miranda Alexander, Frisco Independent School District
Jaxon is Able


Teresa Schnyder, University of Texas at Arlington
UTA Movin Mavs host Ethiopian sports advocates

Director’s Challenge – Public Service Announcement

Eric Edling, University of North Texas
Respect the Lines

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.

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 (PDF) or Submission Guidelines (Word) and Entry Form (Word) or Entry Form (PDF) 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 February 17, 2017.

View Past Barbara Jordan Media Award Winners »