For Immediate Release                                                                                   
Contact: Kristin Tutino, (585) 258-0253

WXXI LAUNCHES ACCESSIBLE ELECTION WEB SITE AND HOSTS A POLITICAL FORUM TO BENEFIT THOSE WHO ARE DEAF AND HARD OF HEARING

(Rochester, New York) September 15, 2008 – Twenty-eight million Americans with severe hearing loss do not have full access to information about political candidates and election issues. This fact is what fueled WXXI’s launch of an accessible election Web site for deaf and hard of hearing citizens. In addition to these online efforts, WXXI and its project partners will host a televised political forum to show candidates how to relate to an audience that is deaf and hard of hearing, and adapt its television production techniques to ensure that the forum is accessible to television viewers who are deaf or hard of hearing.

 In partnership with the National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID) at Rochester Institute of Technology and the Rochester Hearing and Speech Center, WXXI is adapting its regular elections Web content to make it more accessible for those who are deaf or hard of hearing. A major portion of this project includes the development of captioning Web video, which could make the site the first news Internet site in the nation to provide captioning for election news reporting. WXXI is launching the site on Monday, September 22, which marks the beginning of National Deaf Awareness Week.

The forum is also being recorded on Monday, September 22 at WXXI, 280 State Street, Rochester, NY.  All candidates from the 25th, 26th, 28th, and 29th Congressional districts have been invited to participate.  (Press is welcome to attend the recording, which begins at 7 p.m.)  Deaf and hard of hearing citizens who would like to participate in the forum are invited to contact WXXI’s Center for Public Affairs by calling 585-258-0267 or sending an e-mail to jphilipp@wxxi.org.  Participants must pre-register in order to attend.

The forum will air on WXXI’s digital channel, WXXI-World (cable 524/DT21.2) on Friday, September 26 at 9 p.m., Saturday, September 27 at 4 p.m. and Sunday, September 28 at 7 p.m. 

The forum and accessible Web page are being funded in part by a grant from The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) as part of CPB’s Public Media Innovation (PMI) Fund. The Corporation for Public Broadcasting’s PMI Fund was established to support new media initiatives that demonstrate technical or service innovations with respect to a specific target audience. WXXI was one of five public broadcasting stations chosen out of 59 applicants to receive the grant.

To read more about the project, visit WXXI.org/citizen/pmi/. On Monday, September 22 you can visit the same address for a link to the newly launched site.

 

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WXXI is the essential, life-long educational media resource for the Greater Rochester area. WXXI puts the community first with programming that stimulates and expands thought, inspires the spirit, opens cultural horizons and promotes understanding of diverse community issues. Log on to wxxi.org for more information about our services and programs.

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