The Braille MonitorMarch, 2001 Edition
by Peggy Chong
From the Editor: Peggy Chong is the NEWSLINE Program Manager at the National Center for the Blind. NEWSLINE is our digitized service for providing newspapers by telephone to registered subscribers. Here is Peggy's most recent report about what's new and what's on the NEWSLINE horizon:
The NEWSLINE® service continues to expand and improve. Currently the Federation operates seventy-four sites based in twenty-nine states. These sites also provide limited service to communities along the borders of at least four neighboring states. Nine states provide total statewide coverage for NEWSLINE subscribers. Each morning NEWSLINE receives, translates, and sends out forty-seven newspapers. Last December we passed the 25,000-subscriber mark, and the numbers are steadily growing.
The latest additions to the NEWSLINE family are the Eastern Shore of Maryland and Rochester/Brockport, New York. The Eastern Shore site is sponsored by the Eastern Shore Regional Library, with Blind Industries and Services of Maryland (BISM) coming on board as a co-sponsor in the second year. The Eastern Shore is very rural. A toll-free number for the six counties will bring this service to many blind people in the small towns and resort areas of Maryland.
The Western New York site covers the Rochester, Brockport, and Monroe-County area. Sponsored by the NFB of New York with the support of the New York Commission for the Blind, the Western New York site came on-line February 1, 2001.
NEWSLINE itself has had at least one upgrade recently. The search feature has been improved to permit users to enter every letter and some punctuation marks using the phone keypad to represent them by two-digit numbers. This allows readers to search quickly and accurately for a word or phrase.
Additional changes and upgrades can be expected in the next few months. Because of a recent federal appropriation to the Institute of Museum and Library Services allocated to assist with NEWSLINE, we hope to be able to have NEWSLINE service available by the end of the year to everyone in all fifty states who wishes to read the daily newspapers.
If you have applied for and received an ID code in the past but have lost it or have moved, you need not re-apply. Your ID code is still valid when you move or travel. If you plan a trip to Rochester, New York, plan to vacation in Ocean City, Maryland, this summer, or will be in some other city with a NEWSLINE service center, just call the local access number for NEWSLINE, enter your personal ID number, and begin reading.
To receive an application, to get your ID number again if you have misplaced yours, or to ask for the NEWSLINE telephone number in your area or another to access a local site, call me, Peggy Chong, at (410) 659-9314, extension 356.