A Voice For People With Disabilities


Life-Wire News Service provides an outlet for individuals with developmental disabilities to communicate in a variety of media that can be accessed widely, giving them a greater voice for expression. Our participating journalists are called crew members and their work is prepared and presented to professional standards of journalism. This Website presents their content to the media with instructions that present proper accreditation of content and proper usage of media. The content reflects the interests and talents of crew members, including art, humanities, sports, news and human rights.
Participants in the Life-Wire News Service crew work at a variety of ability levels. The Media Center will establish a methodology for mentoring crew members and editing their work, including the use of adaptive technologies or environmental adaptations such as the use of audio to record ideas of pre-literate crew members that can be transcribed into text, or the use of photographic equipment that is accessible to people with physical disabilities. Finished articles will be credited as collaborative works depending on the level of participation of the crew member so as not to misrepresent the source of the content to the public. The methodology will be described on the Website so that other participating organizations can utilize the same techniques in working with their own populations and when posting materials to our Website.
As we progress, we will refine our methodologies for providing an environment where our crew members can express themselves creatively and professionally. This page will reflect this evolving process and can be also be a clearinghouse for techniques that have been provided by other organizations.
Pre-literacy and writing. Individuals in day habilitation programs, such as those at Lifestyles for the Disabled, our parent organization, operate at various levels of ability. Various levels of mentoring and assistance are generally required to create finished written works for publication. Very often their ability to express themselves verbally in conversation is at a higher level than their written skills. For that reason, a staff member may be able to work in a one-on-one or group setting to discuss a story concept and help them record their thoughts either in writing, or using recording technology to document their words. Our goal is for a written product to reflect as much of a crew member’s ideas in their own words. Since this is very much a collaborative effort, we insist that a collaboratively-written project bears a byline that includes both the crew member and the staff member whose ideas are both reflected in a finished work.
Crediting Written Works: Articles written independently by a crew member that are only edited by a staff member for grammar, spelling, punctuation, etc. may be credited exclusively to the crew member – [name of writer], for Life-Wire News Service” or “[name of writer], [name of agency] for Life-Wire News Service.” If they article is a collaboration between a crew member and a staff member, both names will be credited- “[name of writer] with [name of staff], for Life-Wire News Service” or “[name of writer] with [name of staff], [name of agency] for Life-Wire News Service.”
Crediting Photography: Photography is generally exclusively the work of an individual crew member. The photo credit can read: “Photo: [name of photographer], for Life-Wire News Service” or “Photo: [name of photographer], [name of agency] for Life-Wire News Service.” In the event that a photographer needs assistance holding, pointing and shooting a camera, then the work cannot be considered their exclusive work. Please credit collaborative works as follows: “Photo: [name of photographer] with [name of staff], for Life-Wire News Service” or “Photo: [name of photographer] with [name of staff], [name of agency] for Life-Wire News Service.”

Please share your observations on techniques that are effective in teaching communication and collaborating on media projects.