Applying for jobs is a formidable task, but it’s even more challenging for people with disabilities — the largest and one of the most underemployed minority groups in the world. So when I came across an employment listing on Newsday’s careers website last Monday featuring job requirements related to mobility, strength, weight and size, I was shocked.
The job listing advertised a general assignment reporter role for the Long Island-based newspaper in New York. In addition to actual job-related functions like “ability to break news” and “meet tight deadlines,” the posting listed bullet points requiring the “ability to reach, bend, lift, push, pull and carry a minimum of 25 lbs” and the “ability to type a minimum of 40 wpm.” Another bullet point noted that the role was a sedentary desk job that would “require one’s ability to sit for an extended period of time up to full 8-hour shift.”
This listing was particularly egregious to me because I’m a disabled journalist, and I started my career in 2016 as a summer intern for amNewYork, a Newsday-owned publication that covers New York City. During my internship, I scored front-page bylines, shot several cover photos on assignment, interviewed celebrities on the red carpet and made some incredible friends. Even though I was an intern, my managers treated me seriously, as though I were a full-time staff reporter.
When I saw that listing online, I couldn’t help but think of the journalism students and aspiring reporters with disabilities who might have seen it and decided not to apply. So I decided to ask Newsday publicly on Twitter why the organization had included these exclusionary job qualifications on not just one, but what I realized were several of their job postings — including one for a director of market research and a circulation compliance analyst.
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