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CWDHS teacher recipient of Michener Award Fellowship

June 29, 2023

Fergus, ON — Congratulations to Centre Wellington District High School teacher, Alanna King and her project partner, journalist Sarah Trick, for being the recipients of The Michener Awards Foundation Fellowship.

The fellowship is awarded in partnership with TVO and Carleton University. It is given to individuals to recognize and celebrate the best in public service journalism. King and Trick were among those awarded the fellowship for their proposal on creating a new style guide for the Canadian news and media landscape – a guide that will help journalists and journalism students cover disabilities thoughtfully, accurately and with nuance.

King and Trick were not surprised that they’re idea earned them a lot of attention. “It’s a great idea,” King said, “however, I was very surprised that we would be presented medals and certificates by Governor General Mary Simon at a formal ceremony along with many award-winning journalists.” 

King’s partner on the project, Sarah Trick, lives with multiple disabilities and her support services were severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. “As a journalist, her life was impacted to the point where she couldn’t work and she began to examine how often the idea of disability isn’t centred on the individual,” King said. “Instead reporters focus on the system and context while minimizing the actual individual’s story.”

King and Trick’s research has made them realize that disability representation in other media types rely on false narratives that suit the audience rather than the individual or community living with the disability.  

When King was introduced to Sarah’s idea, she agreed to be the instructional designer of the style guide because as an educator she recognized the educational value in the idea. King teaches media literacy at CWDHS, through this project it is her goal to incorporate this project into the curriculum of her courses. 

“I want to set high goals for the representation of all marginalized individuals.  I plan to develop a curriculum based on deconstructing the portrayal of disabled individuals and their communities in order to construct more positive framing of these stories,” King said. 

King and Trick know they are setting a global precedent with this style guide they are developing and with that they anticipate some challenges.“How we establish a baseline in our evidence, create the style guide, and teach the style guide to journalists, students of journalism, and as part of media literacy is all a little elusive,” King said, “but we have partners in TVO and Carleton University who believe in the ideals enough to give us ample support.” 




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