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Journalists honored by governor's office for reporting on people with disabilities

Adam Pitluck, a former reporter and editor at The Dallas Morning News, says he chose to be a journalist even though he had dyslexia. 

Pitluck's piece for the News about research into ways to diagnose dyslexia earlier in childhood was one of 12 award winners at the Barbara Jordan Media Awards Luncheon on Thursday at Apogee Stadium on the campus of the University of North Texas.

"We know that it's extraordinarily hard because usually you don't get diagnosed with dyslexia until you start lagging behind in school," he said. "We are already starting from a competitive disadvantage from other classmates because we're starting to regress as everyone else shows progress."

The Governor's Committee on People with Disabilities present the awards each year to journalists and students who wrote about the realities people with disabilities face. This year, the event was hosted by the UNT Frank W. and Sue Mayborn School of Journalism.

Eric Edling, a student from UNT, was also awarded at the luncheon for a public service announcement he created to raise public awareness about parking correctly near handicapped spaces. 

The video shows a car parked too close to his, and him having to use his wheelchair to enter his car from the passenger's side, put in his wheelchair and maneuver into the driver's seat. As he finally settles in, the driver of the car parked too close walks up, gets in his car and drives away. 

Rolling up to the stage in his wheelchair with his front two light-up wheels flashing, he took the microphone to talk about why raising awareness about simple things like handicapped parking is necessary. 

"It creates the image of what I've had to deal with in my life, which is sometimes it's not disability that gets in the way of people, it's people that get in the way of the disability," he said. 

Matthew Payne, an intern reporter for the Denton Record-Chronicle, speaks to the audience after winning a Barbara Jordan Media Award for his story "Veteran's 900 mile ride ends in Aubrey," Thursday at Apogee Stadium.  The award is designed to recognize outstanding reporting on people with disabilities.DRC/Jeff Woo
Matthew Payne, an intern reporter for the Denton Record-Chronicle, speaks to the audience after winning a Barbara Jordan Media Award for his story "Veteran's 900 mile ride ends in Aubrey," Thursday at Apogee Stadium. The award is designed to recognize outstanding reporting on people with disabilities.
DRC/Jeff Woo

Matthew Payne, a Denton Record-Chronicle intern reporter, was awarded for a story about a veteran biking 900 miles to raise awareness about post traumatic stress disorder and suicide. 

For a complete list of the winning works, visit gov.texas.gov/disabilities/awards/barbara_jordan_media_awards.

JENNA DUNCAN can be reached at 940-566-6889.