Recognizing news coverage that helped promote public awareness of communications disorders, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) has named The Today Show, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, the VoiceBox radio show, and KLTV as the 2013 winners of its media awards.

In addition, ASHA is honoring Kenn Apel, PhD, CCC-SLP, and Julie Masterson, PhD, CCC-SLP, authors of Beyond Baby Talk, as its 2013 media champions.

ASHA’s media awards are presented annually to broadcast, print, and online media outlets that spotlight the work of ASHA’s members: speech-language pathologists and audiologists. ASHA’s media champions are honored for their grassroots efforts to cultivate media coverage. The awards will be presented in November 2013 at the ASHA annual convention in Chicago.

“With ASHA’s media awards, we acknowledge exceptional reporting on behalf of our professional membership and the millions of people who suffer from communication disorders,” said ASHA 2013 President Patricia A. Prelock, PhD, CCC-SLP. “We also salute our media champions, who tirelessly work to improve the public’s understanding of these disorders through media engagement.”

The New York Times won for its “Ask an Expert” series on hearing loss in February/March 2013. Appearing in the Booming section of the newspaper’s website, it featured ASHA Chief Staff Officer for Audiology Neil DiSarno, PhD, CCC-A. DiSarno fielded hundreds of reader questions about specific hearing conditions, age-related hearing loss, genetic reasons for hearing loss, and hearing aids and cochlear implants, among other topics. The series was among the “most-emailed articles” on the website at the time of posting.

NBC’s The Today Show won for its May 2013 story, “Why You Cringe at the Sound of Your Own Voice.” The segment explored the discrepancy between how people perceive their own voices and what they hear on a recording. ASHA Chief Staff Officer for Speech-Language Pathology Lemmietta McNeilly, PhD, CCC-SLP, offered the scientific reason for the difference. The segment also explained how speech-language pathologists can help people improve the sound of their voices.

The Wall Street Journal won for two articles. The first, “Is This How You Really Talk?,” was published in April 2013. It reported on new research showing that the sound of a person’s voice strongly influences how they are perceived, for better or worse, including potential career implications. The article also discussed how speech-language pathologists can work with clients to change their voices. The second story, “New Therapies to Help Stroke Survivors Recover Language Years After Injury,” was published in July 2013. It focused on aphasia, a language disorder that is a common aftereffect of stroke, and how it can be treated by speech-language pathologists using a life participation approach. This approach empowers consumers to select and participate in the recovery process, focusing on their individual life goals.

VoiceBox, a San Francisco-based public radio (91.7 KALW-FM) and podcast series dedicated to exploring the human voice, won for its cumulative programming. Over the course of nearly 4 years, ASHA members have been guests on ASHA-sponsored VoiceBox shows devoted to a wide range of topics. In recognition of Better Hearing and Speech Month in May 2013, VoiceBox dedicated multiple shows to health care-centered topics, including listening and how it relates to vocal health, the evolution of voice care, and voice care as a first world phenomenon.

KLTV-DT3 “Telemundo La Vida,” the Spanish-language digital destination for ABC television affiliate KLTV, serving Tyler, Tex, won for its support of ASHA’s “Speak Up About Hearing Loss” public service announcement (PSA) campaign. The PSAs urge viewers to openly discuss untreated hearing loss among older family members. KLTV-DT3 aired the Spanish-language version of the PSA more than 600 times, reaching an audience of 26 million—approximately half of the Spanish TV audience reached by the PSA.

Media champions Apel and Masterson published a fully revised and updated version of their book Beyond Baby Talk in 2012. Originally published in 2001, the book is a guide to language and literacy development for parents and caregivers. The authors participated in extensive media outreach to educate parents about speech and language development following the October 2012 book release, including The Today Show online, Mr. Dad syndicated radio show,, mom blogs such as New Mommy Oasis and Science of Mom, and many more. A syndicated article, featuring the authors’ tips for raising a good communicator, was published in more than 2,200 newspapers. Both authors are widely known educators and researchers: Apel is a professor and chair of communication sciences and disorders at the University of South Carolina, and Masterson is a professor of communication sciences and disorders at Missouri State University.

SOURCE: American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA)