Haller, Beth A.

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    Content & character: Disability publications in the late 1990s
    (Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, 2000) Haller, Beth A.; Towson University. Department of Mass Communication
    Disability publications fit with other types of alternative or dissident media in U.S. society because they advocate on behalf of a distinctive U.S. group, which has come together to form a political and social community. These publications cover the issues that affect that community vigorously. They also fall into this category of media because of the historic discrimination and exclusion people with disabilities have faced in society, as well as the negative stereotyping they have received from the mainstream news media. Many people with disabilities have been isolated throughout U.S. history because of the architectural, occupational, communication, and educational barriers in society, but they still have played an integral part in the social and political development of the country. Their publications illustrate this. However, the publications of this community have never received much attention in mass media studies, even though many disability publications have a long history in the United States, with some that have been ongoing since 1907. Few mass communication scholars have analyzed disability publications at all or in any systematic Way. Therefore, this exploratory study fills that void by content analyzing a sample of the disability magazines, newspapers, and newsletters currently being produced (N=134). By assessing demographic characteristics of the publications, as well as looking as content issues, this study hypothesizes that many disability publications fall into Kessler's alternative press model of dissident media.
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    Images of Disability in News Media: Implications for Further Research
    (1997-11) Haller, Beth A.; Towson University. Department of Mass Communication and Communication Studies
    Even in the 1990s, little research has focused on how local media can more often and more accurately cover the disability community and disability issues. Some positive news coverage arose in the late 1980s because of the disability community's growing status as a minority group striving for equal civil rights. Other positive coverage reflected the consumer model, in which equity in society for people with disabilities is seen as good economic sense. A new negative image, however, includes the business model, which depicts economic equity for people with disabilities as costly to the American business community. Another issue is whether people with disabilities are given a "voice" in the news media--are they speaking for themselves? Mass media researchers should be looking for valid sources in the news; they should continue to assess who is speaking for the disability community in the news media. Communication research should continue to assess why and how news media prop up "ableist" views within society. Research must also assess journalists' attitudes about disability. The news media have begun to successfully change some of their language about disability--they are now likely to use "disabled" rather than "handicapped," or person with AIDS rather than AIDS victim. The media's powerful place in the social construction of people with disabilities may become a positive, rather than negative, force, and the future research of communication scholars must be focused on assessing this potential change.
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    Disability Rights on the Public Agenda: Elite News Media Coverage of The Americans With Disabilities Act
    (Temple University, 1995) Haller, Beth A.; Towson University, Department of Mass Communication and Communication Studies
    This dissertation undertook a content analysis of U.S. elite newspapers and the three major news magazines (N=524), news photographs (N=171), and TV network news (N =24) to understand how the news media presented the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act The Act embodies a new civil rights issue that sharply contrasts with stereotypes and myths about people with disabilities Therefore, this study could assess how the news media juxtapose the newer disability rights perspective relative to older stereotypes of the disability experience and competing perspectives such as U S business interests. This study also assists in the understanding of the news media role in characterizing a new issue on the public's agenda. The findings show that the elite media covered the ADA in the obligatory way it has covered much major federal legislation. Only rarely did media further contextualize and expand ADA information. The coverage of the ADA illustrates that the notion of disability rights is only making a moderate amount of headway into news media representations. However, when they did do stories, the news media did a good Job of casting the ADA as a civil rights act. But they also presented the norms of U.S. society and the business community by looking often at the upfront cost of the Act, as opposed to long-term cost savings the Act might provide. But the news media misrepresented disability in incidence, race, and gender They sought out the visible disabilities as examples and missed the fact that more people have hidden disabilities. They portrayed disability in terms of the white middle class, which reflects the primary composition of the disability rights movement. The nature of the ADA story, however, did not allow the media to use the traditional stereotypes, which present people with disabilities as medical problems or as superhuman. The media accepted a progressive frame of minority group status for people with disabilities because the federal government gave it to them. And because the governmental rhetoric had been fashioned by activists from the disability community, the message of civil rights for people with disabilities flowed through the media.
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    The news of inclusive education: a narrative analysis
    (Taylor & Francis, 2001-10) Dorries, Bruce; Haller, Beth A.; Towson University. Department of Mass Communication and Communication Studies
    This paper investigates a nationally publicized case in the debate over the best method of educating millions of children with severe disabilities. Using Fisher’s narrative paradigm, this paper analyses 4 years of the extensive media coverage of the legal battles of Mark Hartmann’s family. The 11-year-old’s parents took the Loudoun County, VA, Board of Education to court to reinstate their autistic son in a regular classroom. Much media attention focused on the story because it dramatized the issues concerning the national debate about inclusion. The paper provides a synopsis of the narratives about inclusive education within the news media that arose from their coverage of the Hartmann case. Through the press, competing interests told their stories to the public, hoping to win the moral high ground and persuade others of the ‘good reasons’ that support their understanding of the costs or bene fits of inclusion. Although the Hartmanns lost in court, this narrative analysis suggests that the family and its supporters provided more persuasive narrative themes in the news media’s court of public opinion, thus advancing the national inclusion movement.
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    Media labeling versus the US disability community identity: a study of shifting cultural language
    (Taylor & Francis, 2006-01) Haller, Beth A.; Dorries, Bruce; Rahn, Jessica; Towson University. Department of Mass Communication and Communication Studies
    This study examines disability terminology to explore how the news media frame cultural representations of the disability community. More specifically, the paper examines the impact of the Americans with Disabilities Act on journalist’s language choices about disability topics. A content analysis of news stories using disability terms in The Washington Post and The New York Times during the past decade was conducted. The paper illustrates that disability community identity continues to be formed, transformed and maintained through news media presentations of disability terminology. The paper argues that the US Disability Rights Movement had some success during the 1990s in putting forth language that advances its aims, though the study also suggests that some journalists continue to use terms that perpetuate limiting, narrow stereotypes about people with disabilities.
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    The politics of representing disability: exploring news coverage of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the National Disability Insurance Scheme
    (Sage Publications, 2015) Burns, Shawn; Haller, Beth; Towson University. Department of Mass Communication and Communication Studies
    Twenty-five years on from the implementation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), media representation of people with disability has become even more significant. More recently, the implementation of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) in Australia has placed people with disability, and the issues they face, at the forefront of political discourse. This study looks at the media coverage of the ADA and the NDIS as significant social and political landmarks in their respective countries. Using content analysis, this article explores how media representations of people with disability are substantial factors within social reform, societal inclusion and equal rights. Because of numerous barriers to participation in many countries, people with disability may only be known to the larger society through media representations. Disability rights-focused news coverage is important to a society’s awareness of disability issues, so this research contributes to a better understanding of how political issues regarding people with disabilities play out in two countries’ news media.
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    When political comedy turns personal: humor types, audience evaluations, and attitudes
    (Howard Journal of Communications, 2014-02) Haller, Beth; Becker, Amy; Towson University. Department of Mass Communication and Communication Studies
    This study examines the impact of diverse comedy types on relevant political attitudes and what happens when the comedy content moves beyond the political to focus on personal attributes that are beyond a politician’s control. Using a real political case study of David Paterson, New York’s first blind and African American gov- ernor, the research measured the differential impact of exposure to self-directed and other-directed hostile humor on evaluations of comedy content, favorability ratings, perceptions of media portray- als of disability, and attitudes toward blindness. The results suggest that differential exposure to the comedy clips had an impact on attitudes toward blindness with those exposed to Paterson’s humor exhibiting more positive attitudes toward blindness than those who were exposed to Saturday Night Live’s other-directed hostile humor.
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    Profitability, diversity, and disability images in advertising in the United States and Great Britain
    (Ohio State University Libraries, 2001) Haller, Beth A.; Ralph, Sue; Towson University. Department of Mass Communications and Communication Studies.
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    John Callahan’s Pelswick cartoon and a new phase of disability humor
    (Ohio State University Libraries, 2003) Haller, Beth A.; Ralph, Sue; Towson University. Department of Mass Communications and Communication Studies.
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    Promoting disability-friendly campuses to prospective students: An analysis of university recruitment materials
    (Ohio State University Libraries, 2006) Haller, Beth A.; Towson University. Department of Mass Communications and Communication Studies.
    Estimates are that currently about 9 percent of students on college campuses have some form of disability. These students are all are supposed to receive accommodations on those college campuses based on Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act. The focus of this study is how these students receive information about these accommodations, their rights, the campus accessibility, and other issues related to them. The findings of this study show that university viewbooks and other materials sent to interested high school students are depicting disability. However, there does not appear to be much recruitment of prospective students with disabilities past the occasional picture in the viewbook. No cover letter made a mention of unique services for students with disabilities, and less than half of the university general materials mentioned campus disability services (40%). In addition, only 39 percent of the schools that sent any general materials sent Disabled Student Services (DSS) materials (N=85).
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    Are disability images in advertising becoming bold and daring? An analysis of prominent themes in US and UK campaigns
    (Ohio State University Libraries, 2006) Haller, Beth A.; Ralph, Sue; Towson University. Department of Mass Communications and Communication Studies.
    Advertisements featuring disabled people have become more noticeable in the United States (USA) and Great Britain/United Kingdom (UK) in the last decade. The focus of this article is to qualitatively analyze a selection of these advertisements since 1999 to understand how disability currently is being used within advertising messages. The goal of the analyses are to understand whether advertising images remained static in their messages or are expanding their messages to show a variety of disability images. The findings revealed that some improvements have occurred in advertising images of disability, such as the themes of empowerment (Cingular) and the themes of disability pride and inclusion (Doritos, Marks & Spencer, and HSBC). However, several ads still embrace antiquated themes that continue to stigmatize disabled people, such as the Nuveen, HealthExtras, and Bank of America ads. These themes convey underlying messages that disabled people are broken and in need of repair, are awash in tragedy, or are Supercrips, who are put on pedestals for just living their lives.
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    Stepping backwards with disability humor? The case of NY Gov. David Paterson's representation on "Saturday Night Live."
    (Ohio State University Libraries, 2014) Haller, Beth A.; Becker, Amy Bree; Towson University. Department of Mass Communications and Communication Studies.
    In the modern era, discerning TV viewers know the shows that trade in cheap laughs by making fun of people with disabilities are not tapping into much creativity. So it was a surprise in 2008 when the highly regarded comedy show Saturday Night Live (SNL) stooped to that level by ridiculing the blind governor of New York, David Paterson, in a series of sketches lasting two years. This article analyzes the way humor narratives about a high-profile blind politician on television, like those depicted in the SNL skits, may have influenced larger cultural themes about blindness. Because the East Coast news media reported on the SNL skits every time an episode aired, this project undertook a textual analysis of all aspects of the controversy including the content of the SNL skits, the repeated responses from Gov. Paterson and the blindness community, and the news media framing of the SNL-Paterson skit story. This analysis examines the intertextuality of the event, revealing that the blindness community had a very different reading of the SNL skits, due to concerns about continuing media narratives that devalue and stereotype them.
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    iTechnology as cure or iTechnology as empowerment: What do North American news media report?
    (Ohio State University Libraries, 2016) Haller, Beth A.; Jones, Chelsea Temple; Naidoo, Vishaya; Blaser, Art; Galliford, Lindzey J.; Towson University. Department of Mass Communications and Communication Studies.
    With the growth of tablet technology as a communication method for many people with disabilities, the news media have created new narratives about disability, as well as reinforcing older narratives. This project evaluates U.S. and Canadian print news media coverage of people with communication disabilities and iTechnology (Apple products), as well as other new tablet and smart phone technology, being used as communication devices. Using qualitative analysis, the project investigates media coverage since 2007, when the first iPhone was available, through 2012 (N=98). Themes evaluated in the stories were related to the medical model, the social model, and the Supercrip model, as well as investigating economic models related to the expense of and access to iTechnology. These media stories are rich texts that illustrate how news narratives about disability are changing, especially when disability stories intersect with the new hot topic of iTechnology.