WXXI - Overcoming Barriers to Civic Participation

Twenty-eight million Americans with severe hearing loss do not have full access to information about political candidates and election issues.  Through a grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, WXXI and its partners are experimenting with ways to overcome 21st Century barriers to civic participation. Continue?

Our Partners:

National Technical Institute for the Deaf at Rochester Institute of Technology

Under the direction of Dr. Peter Lalley, three NTID students are leading our research:

David Miller,
J.S. Ost,
James Rowe

read more about these students

Center for Disability Rights

Rochester Hearing and Speech Center

Corporation for Public Broadcasting

Take Our Survey

If you are deaf or hard of hearing, please take a few minutes to fill out our online survey.  It will help us find ways to give people with hearing loss better access to information about political candidates and issues on the internet.

Take the Survey

Civic Sense Blog

An open, ongoing conversation about the accessibility of political and news media Web sites.
Visit the Blog

Recently on the Civic Sense Blog:


About the Project, continued...

First, WXXI and its project partners are launching this accessible Web site to adapt our 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. We hope this becomes a national clearinghouse for the concerns of those trying to follow Election 2008 races, whether they be national, state or local.

Second, WXXI and its project partners are planning an accessible, televised political forum. We’ll show the candidates how to relate to an audience that is deaf and hard of hearing, and we’ll adapt our television production techniques to make sure the forum is accessible to television viewers who are deaf and hard of hearing.

When we conclude our experiment at the end of the year, WXXI will deliver a report about what we’ve learned to the Corporation for Public Broadcasters. This report will be shared with public broadcasters around the nation so they can incorporate our best practices into their civic engagement efforts.

WXXI is one of only five Public Media Innovation grants awarded in 2007.


More about the RIT Students...

David Miller is a Research Assistant within the National Technical Institute for the Deaf's Department of Research and Teacher Education. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Professional and Technical Communications from RIT.

J.S. Ost is a Marketing Communications Specialist with Harris RF Communications. She earned bachelor’s degrees in Professional and Technical Communications and Psychology from RIT, where she was a member of the Honors Program.

James Rowe is working toward a bachelor’s degree in Information Technology at RIT, with a concentration in Database and Web Development and double minors in Political Science and Finance.