Blind From Birth,
Reporter Is Undaunted

Copyright © 1995
National Federation of the Blind

          From the Associate Editor: Liz Campbell is the president of the Fort Worth Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind of Texas and a general assignment reporter for the Fort Worth Star- Telegram. She had had some contact with the Federation before our 1990 annual convention, held in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. She wangled an assignment to cover the convention and wrote several good stories before and during the convention about the organization and its work. When the members of the Texas affiliate recovered from the excitement of hosting the fiftieth anniversary celebration, they decided that the time had come to organize a chapter in Fort Worth, and Liz Campbell pitched in to help and was elected president.

          On December 24, 1990, the Publishers' Auxiliary printed a story about Liz Campbell and her work at the Star-Telegram. It is clear that Campbell's colleagues respect and admire her as an equal and that without fanfare she carries her share of the load. Here is the story as Jennifer Wright wrote it:

          Like any other good journalist, Elizabeth Campbell of the Fort Worth (Texas) Star-Telegram approaches her stories as an observer of events.

          "Good journalists have to listen carefully to people," says the general assignment reporter, blind since birth. "And most important, whether they have sight or not, [journalists] must have curiosity."

          Campbell, twenty-eight, has been on staff at the Star- Telegram since her graduation from Baylor University's school of journalism in Waco, Texas. She covered religion for four years, then moved to the features department, where she enjoys the diversity of assignments and writing styles involved. Campbell said she feels the wide variety of stories she covers in features will help prepare her for situations she may face later in her career as a journalist.

          She does interviews for stories over the telephone about 75- 80 percent of the time, which she said is typical of her co- workers as well, considering the time-saving aspect of the telephone. When she does go out into the field, she is aided solely by a white cane.

          "If you think hard enough about ways to do something, you can always overcome obstacles," said Campbell, who takes taxis or buses or gets rides from photographers to her stories.

          Campbell was born in Fort Belvore, Virginia, three months premature. Weighing just 1 1/2 pounds, she was administered so much oxygen by doctors that although it helped her to survive, it left thick scar tissue over the lenses of her eyes. Only a small amount of light can get through. She can tell the difference between light and dark, but she cannot distinguish separate images.

          "Some journalists may rely too much upon vision or other individual senses when covering stories," she said. Campbell emphasized the need for journalists to use all of their senses as best they can when covering stories. She said that in her articles, she would probably be more apt to describe sound and the tone of people's voices, giving her stories a different feel than the other writers.

          Features Editor Michelle Hancock said she was pleased with Campbell's work.

          "Liz has done a very good job for us," she said. "She's fearless."

          Hancock said Campbell's performance had been "wonderful." She works independently, needing little assistance. She referred to Campbell as an asset, even volunteering to work while on vacation. During a ski trip, Campbell did a story on blind skiers for the paper.

          Hancock said, "Liz is not only a fine and courageous person, but a fine journalist as well."

          Chris Evans, a staff reporter for the Star-Telegram, described Campbell in a positive light. "Liz is part of the fabric here," he said. "She is a good and trusted friend and an incredible person who would be an asset to any business."

          Evans said Campbell is involved in the community through the Junior League of Fort Worth and has started a chapter of the National Federation of the Blind.

          "She is very impatient with disabled people who don't use their knowledge and qualifications," he said.

          Campbell said she appreciates the chances her colleagues and editors have taken with her, and she would like all employers to have the same attitude she's encountered at the Star-Telegram.

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