Language Matters2022-05-19T12:06:31+01:00

Language Matters

The initiative: Free training on how to report using appropriate and sensitive language

News is a fast-paced industry. In the busyness of newsrooms and reporting deadlines, sometimes we tell the story, but, the language we use can be lacking nuance and sensitivity. Lived experience and expert advice can help us to choose the right images, and think about the headlines and terminology we use for underrepresented groups and taboo subjects.

Journalism exists to help our audiences stay informed about the things that matter most. At times the language we use and the way we tell stories can alienate audiences and cause a backlash. That doesn’t mean we shy away from saying challenging things when they need to be said, but we understand that there can be better ways of language and visuals in reporting.

Language Matters and Women in Journalism want to support all newsrooms around topics that journalists often don’t receive training in. We believe that media outlets can strike a balance between being fast and improving their language to improve the audience experience.

Language Matters by Women in Journalism is sponsored by Newsworks. We want to encourage every newsroom in the UK to send a journalist to receive free training on using appropriate and sensitive language while telling stories about disability. In addition, we want staff members to go back, and champion how language matters when reporting on disability.


Language Matters: Disability

A workshop for journalists reporting on disability and disabled people

Disabled journalists are underrepresented in newsrooms and the reporting around disability is largely done by people with little or no lived experience of it. This can lead to outdated stereotypes, language, and images being used, which at times alienates and even offends audiences. Language matters and we want to support newsrooms and content creators in reframing how they portray disability and begin to deepen their understanding of how to approach these reports in a culturally appropriate way in a fast-changing society.

Taking you through the session is Genelle Aldred, Deputy Chair of Women in Journalism and Author of Communicate for Change: Creating Justice in a World of Bias. She is a broadcaster with over a decade experience of newsrooms. She is joined by Rachel Charlton-Dailey, Founder and Editor-in-Chief of The Unwritten, an independent publication that allows disabled people to tell their own authentic stories. She is also a freelance journalist specialising in health and disability and the current recipient of the Women in Journalism Georgina Henry Award for Digital Innovation.

Watch below to explore how language matters in reporting disability…

During this workshop you will learn:

  • How to leave some of the alienating stereotypes of disability behind
  • How to use language in the most appropriate way, how to find out what you don’t know, different ways to describe words
  • How to assess how the context of a report will change what language use is appropriate, what to look out for, what to do

View the slides from the workshop here: Language Matters – Disability

Relevant Links


Rachel Charlton-Dailey

The Unwritten

Genelle Aldred

Women in Journalism


Check our Upcoming Events for more Language Matters workshops, coming soon.

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