For Immediate Release

Contact: Greg Wilson

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (May 21, 2013) — The Stuttering Foundation,, announced the winners of its 2013 Awards for Excellence in Journalism today. 

“Journalists working for a variety of different types of media outlets have done an outstanding job of covering persons who stutter during the past 12 months,” said Jane Fraser, president of the nonprofit foundation. “This year, we saw a great deal of attention given to stuttering as a result of the hit television show American Idol. Stuttering becomes a water-cooler topic for months if a person who stutters appears on a top television show.

“In addition, we were especially thrilled with a recent article written for a law enforcement community e-newsletter focusing on the interaction between police officers and persons who stutter. It targeted a brand new audience for us and covered a new topic area, which we had previously not seen addressed,” added Fraser.

The 2013 awardees are as follows:

First Place: Debra R. Cohen McCullough, for her January 2013 article titled “When Police Encounter Persons Who Stutter.” The article ran in the e-newsletter of COPS (Community Oriented Policing Services, which is part of the United States Department of Justice) and provides information to help police officers interact more effectively with those who stutter. It reached a large and important audience and had a huge impact on improving stuttering community and law enforcement relations.

Second Place: Fremantle Media’s American Idol, with 12 million viewers on the FOX television network, for educating the widest possible audience on stuttering. We are particularly thrilled that show producers opened the doors to contestant Lazaro Arbos to appear and perform and be repeatedly interviewed on live television. We also applaud their integrity in treating him fairly and honestly when assessing his performances during the first four months of 2013.

Third Place: Rob Ferrett, for a program on Wisconsin Public Radio that aired Feb. 4, 2013, regarding American Idol’s Lazaro Arbos and childhood stuttering. 

Honorable Mention:

Internet blog:  Matt Sander, for his blog which featured “Walking for the Stuttering Foundation” on May 15, 2012.

Syndicated Columnists: Dr. Wallace, for his column on Feb. 25, 2013, that answered a teacher’s questions about how to help one of her students who stuttered.

Spanish TV: Telemundo’s program, Un Nuevo Dia, for a live interview on Feb. 4, 2013, with American Idol contestant Lazaro Arbos and speech-language pathologist Lisette Betancourt, combines therapy with outreach to the Spanish-speaking audience in the United States.

Local TV: Katie Jones, for a report on WFTX TV that aired March 14, 2013, on the community support American Idol contestant Lazaro Arbos received in his hometown of Naples, Fla.

Wire Service: Michael Gormley, for a syndicated article on the Associated Press wire service titled “How a Stammering Kid Became a Governor’s Spokesman.”

Daily Newspaper: John M. Steinbach of The Virginia Gazette for the March 21, 2012, article, “There’s Help for Stuttering.” In this article, Steinbach tells the story of Leon “Jigger” Sirois, who has been a long-time ombudsman for the stuttering community.


About the Foundation

Malcolm Fraser, a successful businessman and stutterer, went on to establish and endow the nonprofit Stuttering Foundation in 1947. The Stuttering Foundation provides a helpline, 800-992-9392, and free online resources at

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