A new organization doesn’t need to be created from scratch to house a program like this. The goal is to find an existing organization that already has the infrastructure in place and the people on the ground to support such an initiative. In return, the stories generated would support that organization’s mission, bringing to life the humanitarian crisis that makes your work necessary and showing that solutions are possible.
The initiative would kick off with a pilot course whose participants would begin contributing to this central news hub. This pilot would be a fellowship program in which people with disabilities would apply to a storytelling workshop that could be in person or remote. Through a non-profit called Paper Airplanes, last summer I taught an online citizen journalism class to young Syrian refugees in Turkey using Google Meet and Google Docs. Based out of Disability Rights Washington in Seattle, the Rooted in Rights news team has a similar program for people with disabilities. They send a storytelling kit (video/still camera, etc.) to their virtual fellows, paying them a stipend to attend weekly online classes and ultimately to create two three- to four-minute video stories for their site.
Overall, this initiative would be a collaboration between disabled and non-disabled/professional and emerging journalists, challenging the separations that typically divide us and starting a more universal dialogue around these issues. This dialogue would extend to mainstream media outlets as well, as the goal would be to partner with several such outlets to distribute some of the stories created. The GroundTruth Project (based out of WGBH in Boston and a frequent partner of FRONTLINE, GroundTruth has a strong climate change initiative) and Reveal (based out of the Center for Investigative Reporting in San Francisco, Reveal has investigated several private care corporations charged with abusing and neglecting people with disabilities) have expressed interest in collaborating, and Northeastern University’s School of Journalism has been approached about endorsing a curriculum.