February 17, 2018

Free Newspaper Service Available for Blind

By LJ Staff

A free service that allows blind people to “read” daily newspapers using a
touch-tone telephone is now available throughout the United States and Puerto
Rico. Technology for the service was developed by the National Federation for
the Blind (NFB) and was previously used on a more limited basis in several
states. Through a $4 million grant from the Institute of Museum and Library
Services, NFB-NEWSLINE will use
synthesized speech to deliver an audio version of the newspaper text from dozens
and eventually hundreds of daily newspapers.

Participating newspapers provide digital text of articles to the service
using the Internet, modem, or satellite communications. Text is converted into
synthesized speech and immediately made available to all subscribers, allowing
them to access any participating newspaper. The technology allows users to
advance or return to a specific article or sentence, spell a word or phrase, or
search for a specific word. There is no charge to subscribe to NFB-NEWSLINE.
Federal funds are being used to cover operations and communications costs for
one year. Funds are being sought from both federal and state sources to support
the service beyond that time. To request an application or find the sponsor of
the service in your state, contact NFB at 410-659-9314.