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

People Who Are Deaf and Hard of Hearing Are Asked for Their Input

Rochester, New York (January 28, 2008) –The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) has awarded WXXI a $18,780 grant as part of CPB’s Public Media Innovation (PMI) Fund. 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 using the grant to support its Overcoming Barriers to Civic Participation by the Deaf and Hard of Hearing project. WXXI and its partners will develop and pilot technologies for captioning Web video, and WXXI will develop a Web site that will invite users who are deaf and hard of hearing their input into the use of these technologies. Under the direction of Dr. Peter Lalley, three NTID students will lead the project’s research, which begins with collecting input from the deaf and hard of hearing communities. Members of the deaf and hard of hearing community are encouraged to complete a brief online survey, at, about the use and implementation of these technologies.

Twenty-eight million Americans with severe hearing loss do not have full access to information about political candidates and election issues. This grant will enable WXXI and its partners to experiment with ways to overcome 21st century barriers to civic participation.

The project’s Web site will adapt WXXI’s regular elections content, and allow Americans who are deaf or hard of hearing an opportunity to speak out about political or news media Web sites that represent the best, or the worst, in accessibility. It is the project’s hope that this becomes a national clearinghouse for the concerns of those trying to follow Election 2008 races, whether they are national, state, or local. WXXI and its project partners are also planning an accessible, televised political forum to show the 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 and hard of hearing.

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.


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