The mainstream media dies in 2019


All three are activists in the association “Sozialhelden”, which already offers guidelines for cliché-free reporting on people with disabilities. “But it wasn't enough for us to just train, we wanted to set a good example,” explains Smykowski. This is what her colleague Jonas Karpa does, for example, in an interview with the environmental activist Cécile Lecomte, who talks about her courageous fight against the climate crisis.

Lecomte criticizes the fact that the police sometimes take action against demonstrators in a way that is quite hostile to handicapped people, as in an action by “Ende Ende” in the Rhenish lignite district: “The group moved slowly and the police knew that there were people who were being pushed in their wheelchairs other people with walking difficulties. Everything was manageable and peaceful until the dogs came. When you're in a wheelchair and the dog is exactly at eye level, that's not a nice feeling. ”In this exciting interview, the protagonist's disability is not a reason for reporting, but completes the picture of her as an environmental activist.

The article appeared as a text in the "Society" section. Further sections are “Innovation”, “Culture”, “Columns” and “Work”. There is an article rich in facts about the “invisible minority”: “More diversity, that usually means: more female, more international and more heterogeneous in age. One group often does not appear: workers with disabilities. ”“ Diversity is booming, but people like us are not taken into account, ”says editor-in-chief Smykowski, who sits in a wheelchair and explains that there is still a lack of sensitivity to how people are disabled become, for example through stairs without alternative. Mobility is also the topic of the most recent of the 14 podcasts that are now being produced in cooperation with Bavarian Broadcasting. It is about experiences with buses and trains and the utopia of a “Smart City”.

There is still a lack of “understanding that disability concerns everyone,” says Smykowski, also in many mainstream media. That is why “Die Neue Norm” wants to use disability mainstreaming to question current hero and victim stereotypes in reporting, which are based on old norms. A new magazine text, which is also written by external authors, appears several times a week. Contributions are taken from "enorm", "Edition F" or "Focus online". The editorial team produces podcasts moderated by themselves once a month for BR, which then distributes them via Spotify and Apple Podcast.

Nevertheless, Smykowski is not satisfied with the response. Media consumption has “a lot to do with the habits of the readers” and so “Die Neue Norm” is still too much in a “bubble of people who are already sensitized”. Parents of disabled children are a very interested community. But when people with disabilities claim their rights, everyone should be held accountable.

Disability is still a “niche topic” and the online magazine is currently being financed by the “Sozialhelden” association, reports Judyta Smykowski. The editorial team is permanently employed and external authors receive fees. But the ambitious media project still needs further financing options.