Where the Blind Work
Media, Marketing, and Public Relations

Public Relations Coordinator

Lydia H. Markley

What do you do on your job?

I coordinate public relations for the Florida Division of Blind Services (DBS): 12 districts throughout the state; produce a monthly e-zine EYE on DBS for staff and clients; coordinate with districts and a variety of news media to gather articles for monthly e-zine, sent to clients, staff, and a variety of businesses and service providers throughout the state, nation, and internationally; plan and coordinate various events with DBS staff and clients for the purpose of education and community outreach; solicit donations from businesses to fund events; write press releases, public service announcements and other documents and publications as needed; design brochures, annual reports, and other publications; prepare signs and other materials for legislative information tables and other community events; manage information booths at various events; and develop yearly public relations plan, budget, and calendar.

To what extent are you blind and what special adaptations do you use on the job?

I am legally blind due to closed angle glaucoma.

My position requires me to use the computer extensively. To do so, I use a combination of JAWS (speech output) and MAGic (screen enlargement). Also, for reading hardcopy materials I use a CCTV while at my desk, and as a portable unit I use a Pocket Viewer.

What are the qualifications to enter this job position?

To enter this type of position, a person must have a bachelor's degree in public relations or five to six years equivalent experience.

At the present time, I plan to stay with the Division of Blind Services. It will take several years before the program will meet all of its goals. After that time, I may stay at the division, do PR consulting work, or both.

What influences did you have along the way which aided you to be successful?

Soon after I was declared legally blind, I met some members of the National Federation of the Blind at community college, and we started the Greater Tallahassee Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind in Florida. My involvement with the NFB, helping with projects, and being supported in return has given me the tools and confidence to accomplish what I am doing today.

Reporter

Elizabeth Campbell

What do you do on your job?

As a general assignments reporter at a large daily newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram), I must be prepared to write on deadline about a variety of topics. This often means gathering information quickly so that it can be posted to our Web site. In addition to my general assignment work, I am responsible for two fast-growing counties south and west of Fort Worth.

To what extent are you blind and what special adaptations do you use on the job?

I am totally blind. I was born three months premature and my blindness was caused by retinopathy of prematurity.

I use a refreshable Braille display, JAWS for Windows and the K1000 scanning software.

Since there is little public transportation in north Texas, the Star-Telegram pays for drivers, so I can travel to sites to gather the facts I need to complete my assignments.

What are the qualifications to enter this job position?

A college degree in journalism is required. The Star-Telegram requires that prospective reporters have previous writing and reporting experience. Internships are valuable in gaining experience.

What influences did you have along the way which aided you to be successful?

I joined the National Federation of the Blind before I graduated from high school. The emphasis on independence and having a positive attitude about blindness was invaluable as I pursued a college degree and a job as a reporter. I did not have a mentor in the journalism field, but I knew many blind people who encouraged me to never give up on my dream to be a journalist.

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