The Important Role of the Media in Starting a ‘Dialogue on Disability’

Public relations - PR. Filming an media event with a video camer

As Mad Man Don Draper once said, “If you don’t like what’s being said, change the conversation.”

Two influential organizations in the Rochester, NY community are doing just that. And it’s commendable. They’ve embarked on an education-based mission to make sure people with disabilities are seen, heard, and understood – and they’re prompting important conversations that are in many cases, overdue.

Our public broadcasting station WXXI and the Al Sigl Community of Agencies have partnered on weeklong programming for a “Dialogue on Disability” initiative.

The talk radio and television shows are designed to encourage conversations about the abilities of people with physical and intellectual disabilities. The programming will run from Jan. 10 through 17. Some offerings I’m most looking forward to include:

Independent Lens Autism in Love: 10 p.m. Monday, Jan. 11, on WXXI-TV (cable channel 11). Follow the lives of four adults on the autism spectrum as they navigate dating and romantic relationships.

Independent Lens Mimi and Dona: 1:30 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 17, on WXXI-TV. What happens when love runs out of time? For a 92-year-old mother, Mimi, who has cared 64 years for Dona, a daughter who has an intellectual disability, it means facing the inevitable.

Connections with Evan Dawson, weekdays from noon to 2 p.m. on WRUR-FM (88.5). Topics include: autism and relationships (1 p.m. Jan. 11), RIT’s Effective Access Technology innovations (1 p.m. Jan. 12), and lifetimes of care (1 p.m. Jan. 14).

This isn’t a new initiative, as it’s been a weeklong annual event since 2003. You can even check out some of the programming highlights from past years, here: http://interactive.wxxi.org/dod/previous

I plan to take in as much of the programming as I’m able – and I’ll keep you all posted on what I learn.

If you’re not in the Rochester area, you can follow along online via the WXXI website this week and encourage your own local media to get on board and start these conversations in your own community. There is SO much that needs to be discussed!

Related Topics