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Newsline-Newspapers Service By Touch Tone Phones

Editor's Note: David Brun is the newly elected Treasurer of the NFB:AE. He attended the 1995 Convention of the NFB in Chicago. This article was taken from a report he made to his employer, the Toronto Dominion Bank, about the convention.

Picking up the newspaper and quickly scanning it for articles we may find of interest is a daily occurrence for people with sight. The monetary value we place on it is 50 to 75 cents a day. But the real value is immeasurable. It is the basic democratic tool which keeps us informed and aware of the day to day workings of our neighbourhoods, towns, provinces, country and world. For the blind it has been accessible through readers, computers and other forms which although useful are not fully accessible to many.

Newsline is a service by which an individual (legally blind) calls a local number, enters a security code and has access by digital synthesized voice to a choice of USA Today, Chicago Tribune, New York Times, Wall Street Journal and local papers. No computer system required by the reader, no reduction in articles offered, no delay in having access. By 6:30 a.m. EDT/EST that day's papers in their entirety are available (except ads and comics).

Canada is a secondary market for this service. Consequently, many questions still have not been resolved on the structure of Newsline in Canada. What Canadian National Newspapers will be available? What US National Newspapers will be available? Are there any regulatory commissions to be consulted?

The NFB:AE is exploring all of these issues and seeking funding to begin Newsline in Canada. With hard work, determination, and support, we can bring this vital service into the homes of blind Canadians.