NBC’s TODAY Show, USA Today, Allied Health Media, NPR Honored; Ann W. Kummer, Patti Martin, Yadira Medina-Torres, and Sonja Pruitt-Lord Named 2014 Media Champions
(Rockville, MD - August 4, 2014)
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.
In addition, ASHA is honoring members Ann W. Kummer, PhD, CCC-SLP; Patti Martin, PhD, CCC-A; Yadira Medina-Torres, MS, CCC-SLP; and Sonja Pruitt-Lord, PhD, CCC-SLP as its 2014 Media Champions for their grassroots media outreach.
The awards will be presented this November at the ASHA Annual Convention in Orlando, Florida.
"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.
Media Champion Ann Kummer is being honored for her long-time volunteer service as a media source. Most recently, she served as a local spokesperson for the Identify the Signs campaign to help raise awareness of the early warning signs of communication disorders. Her efforts included television interviews with WXIX (FOX affiliate) and WLWT (NBC affiliate) in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Patti Martin was named a Media Champion for her varied contributions to raising public awareness during the year, including her work as a subject matter expert in a story about infant sleep sound machines and potential hearing damage. She was also highly involved in the Identify the Signs campaign through her participation in a podcast on newborn hearing screening and a live Google Hangout event. Both occurred during the most recent Better Hearing and Speech Month.
ASHA named Yadira Medina-Torres a 2014 Media Champion for her work to ensure the early detection message reached non-English-speaking communities by serving as the Spanish-language spokesperson for the Identify the Signs radio media tour in late 2013.
Media Champion Sonja Pruitt-Lord served as an Identify the Signs spokesperson for local public radio and TV interviews for KPBS (PBS affiliate) in San Diego, California. In doing so, she helped raise awareness among parents of the importance of early detection and intervention of communication disorders.
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.