Dyslexia and the Journalist

Battling a Silent Disability


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About the Book

For aspiring journalists, the challenges of dyslexia can seem insurmountable, especially in the face of an educational system that is ill-equipped to help. Many with dyslexia and related learning and attention deficit disorders also struggle with low self-esteem and emotional health, leading to the assumption that they cannot succeed, especially in a profession dominated by reading and writing. This book profiles famous broadcast journalists who overcame the long-overlooked, often misdiagnosed learning disability, dyslexia, to succeed at the highest level. Among them are Emmy Award winners, including CNN’s Anderson Cooper and Robyn Curnow, NBC’s Richard Engel, and ABC’s Byron Pitts. For students and practicing journalists, it is a resource to learn more about dyslexia and how best to approach covering “the invisible disability.” Each of the journalists profiled offer advice into the best practices in researching, interviewing, writing, and presenting issues related to dyslexia.

About the Author(s)

Tony Silvia is professor emeritus of journalism and digital communication at the University of South Florida, St. Petersburg and had a long career in broadcast journalism. He is the author of seven other titles, including four with McFarland. He lives in Little Compton, Rhode Island and and Dunedin, Florida.

Suzanne Arena is the founder of Decoding Dyslexia Rhode Island, a national advocacy group for those with dyslexia that has members in all 50 states and four countries. Herself dyslexic, and the mother of a dyslexic son, she is a tireless, passionate advocate for the dyslexic community. In addition to speaking, educating, and bringing awareness to a broad range of audiences, she lobbies for legislation to benefit the education of dyslexic students. She has received numerous awards for her work.

Bibliographic Details

Tony Silvia and Suzanne Arena

Foreword by Kate Griggs

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 193
Bibliographic Info: 16 photos, appendices, index
Copyright Date: 2021
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8240-2
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4291-8
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface by Tony Silvia 3
Introduction by Suzanne Arena 7

1. What Is Dyslexia? 17
2. Images of Dyslexia in Media 29
3. Fred W. Friendly 42
4. Anderson Cooper 57
5. Byron Pitts 64
6. Robyn Curnow 79
7. Gabrielle Emanuel 95
8. Jill Wellington 109
9. Richard Engel 114
10. The Journalist’s Role as Change Agent 126
11. Resources for Journalists Covering Dyslexia and Disability 141

A. “Millions Have Dyslexia, Few Understand It” by Gabrielle Emanuel 151
B. “Raising a Child with Dyslexia: 3 Things Parents Can Do” by Gabrielle Emanuel 155
C. “Dyslexia: The Learning Disability That Must Not Be Named” by Gabrielle Emanuel 158
D. Recognizing If Your Child Is Dyslexic 161
E. Fun Facts About Dyslexia 163
F. Famous Dyslexics in History 165
G. “5 Reasons Why Dyslexics Make Great Communicators” by Kate Griggs 167
H. Helpful Links and Resources on Reading 170

Chapter Notes 173
Select Bibliography 183
Index 185