Literature Review: Journalism and Disability from a Canadian Perspective
Keywords:Journalism, disability, news, radio, Canadian media, media representations, media framing, communication, disability stereotypes, attitudes toward disability
Using a dual lens of disability theory and journalism, this literature review compacts a wide range of sources to investigate the reasons for the nature of journalistic representations of disability in Canadian media, and the subsequent interpretations of these by disability scholars and advocates. Through five key themes – attitudes, representation, language, framing, and a broader category of gate-keeping, agenda setting and editorial controls -- this review recognizes longstanding and persisting gaps between journalists’ understanding of disability and disability advocates’ understanding of journalism, as well as a jarring lack of Canadian research to these ends. Encouraging a shift from dialogue about disability and journalism to a dialogue between players in both fields, this paper calls for further Canadian-based research at a time when journalistic stories are shaped by more than journalists’ attitudes towards disability, and disability representation exists stereotypically or out of synch with journalistic principles of fairness and accuracy.
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