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Bishop's Stortford Talking Newspaper keeping visually impaired in touch with local news


By Paul Winspear


Talking newspaper (7081422)
Talking newspaper (7081422)

A Bishop's Stortford charity which for almost 40 years has been delivering local news every week to visually impaired people and those who have difficulty in holding and reading a paper has started the new year with a new logo.

Produced by volunteers and posted to the listener’s home, the Bishop's Stortford & District Talking Newspaper’s information sheets and new logo were on display in the window of the Bishop's Stortford Independent’s North Street office last week.

Cassettes were used in the early days. The first edition went out in February 1980 with support from local Rotary and Inner Wheel clubs and East Herts District Council. But technology has moved on and the service switched to USB sticks in 2013.

Today, the Talking Newspaper sends out about 80 USB sticks to its listeners in the Stortford area. The new logo, designed by Church Street marketing agency Simpsons Creative, incorporates a graphic of the USB stick as the ‘i’ in ‘Talking’.

The USB stick arrives in a zipped envelope. The listener just turns on the machine and inserts the stick; introductory music starts and an audio summary of the local news begins. When the listener has finished, the stick goes back in the envelope and can be posted, free of charge, to the Talking Newspaper team.

The Talking Newspaper’s Richard Barnett says: "The sound quality of the players is excellent and they've been designed specifically for visually impaired people; the yellow controls show up very well against the black and silver background."

Listener John Gibb said: "It’s so simple to use, it’s lightweight and has the latest technology. In my opinion it couldn’t be better."

The first recording studio was a Portakabin in the grounds of Herts & Essex Hospital. The Talking Newspaper now operates from two rooms in the hospital building.

If you would like to hear a recording, then go to www.bstalkingnewspaper.co.uk/listen-online/

If you want to receive the Talking Newspaper or you know someone who might benefit from the service, contact Richard Barnett on 01279 651270 or email familybarnett24@hotmail.com. You can also contact Richard if you want to volunteer.



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