The LSA is delighted to announce that Allyson Waller has been selected as this year's recipient of our Linguistics Journalism Award. Waller was nominated for her article in The New York Times, "Black, Deaf, and Extremely Online." The award will be presented at a special awards ceremony to be held at the LSA's upcoming Annual Meeting in early January 2022. Read on for more details about the merits of the article, Waller's bio, and background about the award.

From the award citation:

Allyson Waller is a very talented young journalist who has gone to great lengths to fully and accurately report on the findings of linguistic research and their implications for minority language communities. As shown in her January 23, 2021 NY Times article, “Black, Deaf, and Extremely Online,” she practiced cultural humility by making exceptional efforts to respect the usage preferences of the language community about which she writes. Her article, and the attention it has received, has contributed to bringing recognition and respect to African American Deaf signers and to Black ASL, the language variety developed in the segregated schools of the American South in the pre-Civil Rights era. Ms. Waller exemplifies the very highest standards of journalistic integrity and accuracy.

From the nomination letter:

"While is it highly gratifying to see the interest in a language variety that has long been stigmatized and neglected, we have been disappointed to see that much of the media coverage has focused on social media content and made no reference to the work that documented both the history and structure of Black ASL. Ms. Waller’s article stands in stark contrast to many other reports, both for its sensitivity to African American signers on platforms such as TikTok and for its clear and accurate description of the research, which she was determined to get right."

More about Waller: 

Allyson Waller is a general assignment reporter at The Texas Tribune. Previously, she was part of the 2020-2021 New York Times Fellowship class where she worked as a general assignment reporter for the publication’s breaking news desk. Allyson is a graduate from the University of Texas at Austin, where she majored in journalism. While at UT Austin, she interned at the Miami Herald as a local government reporter and The Texas Tribune as an investigative fellow. When not closely following politics and state policy, Allyson enjoys listening to podcasts, watching documentaries and stocking up on fiction books.

More about the award:

Established by the LSA in 2014, this award honors the journalist whose work best represents linguistics during the 12-month consideration period indicated in the call for nominations. The award is based on a single news story or body of work that reflects accuracy and timeliness as regards the material but is also appealing to nonspecialist audiences.