News coverage of people with disabilities and about accessibility for the disabled is often sparse. Now, a startup news service, Lens15.com, is reporting stories that describe these challenges from the perspective of people with disabilities.
Lens15 describes its mission this way: “One billion, or 15%, of all people across the globe have some kind of physical, sensory or developmental impairment, but media depictions of this population largely reduce these individuals to caricatures that are either helpless or inspirational. By looking at the news through the lens of disability, we strive to reveal a fuller picture of this community and point toward solutions to barriers that limit social, economic and political inclusion.”
Before launching Lens15 Media in 2022, Jason Strother spent 15 years filing stories for US and other international media outlets from Seoul, South Korea another datelines across the globe. His reporting on disability is informed by his own experience having a low vision impairment.
Jason is an adjunct professor at New Jersey’s Montclair State University, where he’s created courses on freelancing overseas as well as how people with disabilities are portrayed in entertainment, journalism and social media. He is also an advisory board member of the National Center on Disability and Journalism at Arizona State University.
Jason’s work has been supported by grants from the National Geographic Society, UC Berkeley’s 11th Hour Food in Farming Fellowship and he is a US Fulbright Scholar.
Jason has given SBN permission to cross-post two of his documentaries here for SBN readers.
In 2012, Superstorm Sandy devastated parts of New Jersey and New York. For many people with disabilities, the disaster should have been a wake up call for more inclusive emergency management. But, some say not much has changed since then. One Sandy survivor tells her story. You can watch this news report in the player below, or watch a version with audio description here.
After Hurricane Sandy, disability advocates in New Jersey realized emergency responders didn’t know how to safely evacuate and shelter people with physical, sensory or developmental impairments. So, they started teaching them.
You can watch this news report in the player below, or watch a version with audio description here.
You can learn more about Lens15.com and its news coverage of people with disabilities in this video explainer:
Steve Lubetkin is the news director for StateBroadcastNews.com. Steve’s journalism background includes print and broadcast reporting for NJ news organizations. He refocused on multimedia journalism and podcast production after a long career in corporate branded journalism and public relations.
He has won numerous awards for his audio and video news reporting from the Garden State Journalists Association, and he has also been recognized for video by the New Jersey Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. He has produced a wide range of audio and video podcasts in his other role as managing partner of State Broadcast News’s parent, The Lubetkin Media Companies.
Steve is co-author, with Toronto-based podcasting pioneer Donna Papacosta, of the book, The Business of Podcasting: How to Take Your Podcasting Passion from the Personal to the Professional.
In March 2021, he was elected to the board of directors of the New Jersey Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, and in July 2021 he was named secretary of the chapter. In August 2021, he was honored by SPJ with one of the organization’s 2021 Howard S. Dubin Outstanding Pro Member Awards, given to regular members of an SPJ chapter who go above and beyond in serving their chapter.
Steve has been the computer columnist for the Jewish Community Voice of Southern New Jersey, since 1996.
Steve also has reported on-camera and produces virtual conferences for NJSpotlightNews.org, a public policy news coverage website focused on New Jersey government and industry; and for clients of StateBroadcastNews.com, a division of The Lubetkin Media Companies LLC.
From May-November 2019, he produced and reported a weekly podcast, The CRE News Hour, a news and features program focusing on the commercial real estate industry.
From 2014 to 2019 he was New Jersey and Philadelphia editor for GlobeSt.com and filled in covering Chicago/Midwest and Atlanta.
Steve has also served (from August 2017 to March 2018) as national broadcast news correspondent for CEOReport.com, a news website focused on practical advice for senior executives in small- and medium-sized companies.
Earlier in his career, Steve reported on rock music at the Jersey Shore for the Asbury Park Press, and was a broadcast news anchor and production engineer for WJLK-AM & FM, then owned by the Press. He also worked as a general assignment reporter for the Red Bank Register, Shrewsbury, NJ.
You can email Steve at email@example.com.