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People  •  Journalism  •  Associate Teaching Professor

Jody Santos

A human rights filmmaker, Jody Santos has traveled to some 30 countries across five continents, documenting everything from the trafficking of girls in Nepal to the widespread and often abusive practice of institutionalizing children with disabilities in the U.S. and other countries. Santos became involved in disability justice after her son was diagnosed with autism and she began to navigate the various systems – educational, medical, etc. – that seemed to exclude if not actively work against persons with disabilities.

In 2020, Santos founded the Disability Justice Project, which trains human rights defenders in the Global South in documentary storytelling. She is the executive director and editor-in-chief. She has trained six cohorts of fellows – from Malawi, Indonesia, Rwanda, Nepal, Nigeria, Uganda, Samoa, Fiji, Kiribati and the Solomon Islands – in documentary storytelling, sending camera kits across the globe. Recently, the DJP won two gold Anthem Awards honoring mission-driven journalism. From nearly 2000 entries across 43 countries, the DJP’s work was featured along with Mother Jones, Al Jazeera and Human Rights Watch. The DJP was also nominated for a Webby Award in the Websites and Mobile Sites – Diversity, Equity & Inclusion category, singled out as one of the five best sites in the world in this category among the nearly 14,000 projects entered, and it was a finalist in the On The Rise: 0-4 Years in Business category and an honorable mention in the Media & Entertainment category in Fast Company’s World Changing Ideas Awards.

Santos’s documentaries have appeared on public television and cable networks like Discovery Channel, and her work also has been featured on New England Public Radio and in advocacy journals like Mad in America. Regardless of the medium, Santos’s goal has been to highlight those narratives that are usually unseen or underreported.

Santos is the recipient of American Women in Radio & Television’s Gracie Allen Award, and she was nominated for an Emmy for a special report on black-market guns airing on NBC Boston. Her book, Daring to Feel: Violence, the News Media, and Their Emotions, was published by Rowman & Littlefield’s Lexington Books division in 2009.

Research/Publications Highlights



Rowman & Littlefield, New York, NY| 2009

Featuring interviews with journalists who have covered some of the worst tragedies in our nation’s history, the book explores what happens when the news media dare to feel. No longer detached observers, they are free to see violence in all of its emotional complexity, often telling stories that have a profound impact on how we view issues like gun violence and sexual assault.

International Documentary

Visits to over 30 countries across five continents to produce public television documentaries for national and international audiences.

Media for Social Change

  • News editor for the Pulitzer Prize-winning Boston Phoenix, the nation’s largest chain of alternative newsweeklies.
  • Producer/director for The Visionaries, a public television series focusing on philanthropy and social justice.
  • Creator of #LetThemOut Internet series to free Americans with disabilities who are being held against their will in for-profit facilities.

Investigative Journalism

National and international reports airing on New England Public Radio, Discovery, PBS, and NBC and published in newspapers from The Boston Globe to The Providence Journal


Courses Taught

  • TV Journalism
  • Introduction to Communications




  • M.A., Journalism, Northeastern University
  • B.A., English, Boston University


  • Telly Award 2018
  • Telly Award 2015
  • James Ragsdale Memorial Award 2006
  • Gracie Allen Award 2005
  • Telly Award 2004
  • Emmy 2001
  • National Conference for Community and Justice 1999
  • Rhode Island Press Association 1997/1995
  • New England Press Association 1995

Research Focus

  • Media for social change
  • participatory filmmaking
  • emotionally engaged reporting