Saturday, September 22, 2007

Good "News" for the visually impaired in Kansas!

Today blind and visually impaired Kansas residents will be able to enjoy over 255 newspapers, including two local Kansas newspapers and the Kansas City Star, through a service called NFB-NEWSLINE(R). The service makes content from participating newspapers and magazines accessible on-demand by touch-tone phone and electronic delivery twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Personalized TV listings and both national and state hourly updates from Associated Press and United Press International are also included.

Offered in forty-one other states and the District of Columbia, NFB-NEWSLINE(R) is now available in Kansas through the Talking Book Service, State Library of Kansas. State Librarian Christie Brandau said, "The focus of the Talking Books program at the State Library of Kansas is providing outstanding service to our customers. We are pleased that NFB-NEWSLINE(R) is the newest service available statewide to visually impaired Kansans."

The NFB-NEWSLINE(R) system reformats the digital transmissions of participating newspapers and converts them to synthetic speech. The available newspapers include the Wall Street Journal, Chicago Tribune, USA Today, Christian Science Monitor, and the New York Times among many others, including five Spanish-language newspapers and varied magazines. The Wichita Eagle and the Hutchinson News are currently on the service and another Kansas newspaper will be added in the near future.

"The daily newspaper remains unparalleled as an information source for all individuals, enhancing their lives as professionals, students, parents, and community members," said Dr. Marc Maurer, President of the National Federation of the Blind. Subscribers are given an access code and then call a toll-free or local number to enter the NFB-NEWSLINE(R) system.

They can browse the papers, choosing or skipping articles as they wish. The system reads each article aloud. The menu allows the user to change the speed and voice and to search for a particular word or subject. "I have recently gotten to try NFB-NEWSLINE(R) and have appreciated very much the ability to access national newspapers! For many Kansans this will be the first chance they have had to access any newspaper without a human reader," said Tom Page, second vice-president of the National Federation of the Blind of Kansas.

All individuals who are physically unable to read print are eligible to subscribe free of charge to NFB-NEWSLINE(R). To subscribe or to request more information to NFB-NEWSLINE(R), contact the Talking Book Service at (800) 362-0699. For further information, call the National Federation of the Blind at (866) 504-7300, or visit them online at


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