This article originally appeared on ASHA.org.
In recognition of news coverage that helped promote public awareness of communication disorders, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) has named NBC’s TODAY Show, USA Today, Allied Health Media, and NPR as the winners of its 2014 media awards.
“These awards acknowledge and honor reporting and messaging about the millions who live with communication disorders and the professionals whose work contributes enormously to improving their quality of life,” said ASHA 2014 President Elizabeth McCrea, PhD, CCC-SLP.
“What’s more, our media champions have given generously of their time and expertise as they have worked effectively with media to give the public important information and insights about the nature, significance, and treatment of communication disorders.”
NBC’s TODAY Show won for its May 2014 coverage on advances in hearing aid technology that featured an interview with ASHA Chief Staff Officer for Audiology Neil DiSarno, PhD, CCC-A. The national morning show segment reached an audience of more than four million. TODAY showcased some of the latest hearing aid technology, emphasizing the importance of seeing an audiologist as a first step toward treating hearing problems and gave viewers other positive and practical advice.
USA Today won for its important follow-up coverage of a study in Pediatrics on stuttering in preschoolers. Unfortunately, initial media coverage propagated a message that a “wait and see” approach is appropriate for children in this age group, as the study indicated there is little evidence stuttering harms preschoolers’ social and emotional development and stated that best practice is waiting at least 12 months to seek treatment. However, USA Today’s follow-up piece expressed the professional opinion of many U.S. speech-language pathologists that such an approach is ill-advised, particularly in children at higher risk for continued stuttering. ASHA members Tommie Robinson, Jr., PhD, CCC-SLP and Craig Coleman, MA, CCC-SLP were quoted and the Identify the Signs campaign was highlighted as a resource for parents.
Allied Health Media, which runs AudiologyOnline and SpeechPathology.com, won for its partnership with and consistent promotion and coverage of the Identify the Signs campaign. This included promotion of a video with ASHA 2013 President Patricia A. Prelock, PhD, CCC-SLP; a feature article with ASHA Director of Public Relations Joseph Cerquone about the development, implementation, and impact of the campaign; letters from the editor that included campaign information; and social media promotion. Allied Health Media has also signed on as a partner of the International Communication Project 2014, a collaborative undertaking of which ASHA is a founding member.
NPR won for its national piece on voice banking, an emerging opportunity for patients to be able to utilize their own voice long after they lose the ability to speak. The story featured a man preparing to lose his speech because of ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. After this coverage originated with NPR station KPLU-FM Seattle, it was picked up by NPR stations nationwide.
About the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
ASHA is the national professional, scientific, and credentialing association for more than 173,000 audiologists, speech-language pathologists, speech, language, and hearing scientists, audiology and speech-language pathology support personnel, and students. Audiologists specialize in preventing and assessing hearing and balance disorders as well as providing audiologic treatment, including hearing aids. Speech-language pathologists identify, assess, and treat speech and language problems, including swallowing disorders.