Blind Justice: Donors Help Revive ‘Talking Newspaper’ Program In Texas

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By: Joe Strupp

Two donors, including an anonymous contributor, have provided $40,000 to help keep a “talking newspaper” program going in Texas that had been shutdown, The Houston Chronicle reported.

Officials with the National Federation of the Blind told the Chronicle that the Newsline program was reinstated this week after a Houston woman, who requested anonymity, donated $25,000 ,and Alcon, an eye-care company in Fort Worth, gave $15,000.

“The folks in Texas have gone out of their way to get the service going again,” Linda McCarty, spokeswoman for the National Federation of the Blind, told the newspaper.

Newsline is a service that enables blind people to access nearly 200 daily newspapers by telephone, including the Chronicle and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram in Texas.

Callers use a touch-tone telephone to pick which stories they want to hear on an automated voice system.

The program, available in 37 states and the District of Columbia, was temporarily discontinued in Texas last week because the National Federation of the Blind of Texas had not been able to raise the necessary $40,000 for its yearly subscription fee, the Chronicle wrote.

“I sincerely thank anyone who was kind enough to help reinstate the service and donate to that,” Larry Lawson, a Houston city employee who is blind, told the paper. “It’s a valuable service.”

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