National Federation of the Blind: Critical Funding Shortage Threatens NFB-NEWSLINE® in Vermont

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Due to lack of funding, NFB-NEWSLINE®, a free service from the National Federation of the Blind that provides independent access by blind and print-disabled people to hundreds of local and national publications, emergency weather alerts, job listings, and TV listings, may be turned off in Vermont, effective March 31, 2015. Termination of this service will drastically limit the ability of print-disabled Vermont residents to obtain in-depth information about international affairs, local events, and breaking news easily and independently.

The loss of this service would be a severe blow to blind and print-disabled people in Vermont who rely on this information.

Due to lack of funding, NFB-NEWSLINE®, a free service from the National Federation of the Blind that provides independent access by blind and print-disabled people to hundreds of local and national publications, emergency weather alerts, job listings, and TV listings, may be turned off in Vermont, effective March 31, 2015. Termination of this service will drastically limit the ability of print-disabled Vermont residents to obtain in-depth information about international affairs, local events, and breaking news easily and independently.

NFB-NEWSLINE® allows those who cannot read conventional newsprint to listen to newspapers and magazines over the telephone, on the web, by on-demand emails, by portable players or via a free mobile app for iPhone, iPad, or iPod. NFB-NEWSLINE® offers five Vermont newspapers, including the Bennington Banner, Brattleboro Reformer, Burlington Free Press, Rutland Herald, and the Times Argus. In addition to state newspapers from Vermont and across the nation, subscribers have access to many national publications, including the New York Times, USA Today, Popular Science, the Economist, and the Christian Science Monitor. NFB-NEWSLINE® also provides a free local channel through which print-disabled Vermont residents can gain access to information from state agencies and legislative bodies that would otherwise be difficult to obtain.

Through the service, print-disabled people can access over four hundred newspapers and magazines independently, determining how, when, and where they wish to read their favorite publications. The service also provides access to over 100,000 job listings. Additionally, NFB-NEWSLINE® provides emergency weather alerts.

For the past several years, Vermont’s NFB-NEWSLINE® service has been sponsored by joint efforts of private and public funding sources. The service requires approximately $24,000 annually to maintain in Vermont. If funding is not found on or before March 31, 2015, blind and print-disabled Vermont residents will no longer have access to NFB-NEWSLINE®.

Brett Hess, president of the National Federation of the Blind of Vermont, said, “The loss of this service would be a severe blow to blind and print-disabled people in Vermont who rely on this information. Without it, these citizens will not have independent access to current information, job listings, and emergency weather alerts. As a subscriber, I truly benefit from the service every day, and would very much miss reading the paper with my morning cup of coffee.”

Scott White, director of NFB-NEWSLINE®, said: “With NFB-NEWSLINE®, blind and print-disabled people can benefit from the vital news contained in newspapers and magazines. Access to information such as analyses of current events, political commentary, and international news helps all individuals, including the print-disabled, to be successful participants in their workplaces and in the world.”

To learn how you can help keep NFB-NEWSLINE® available in Vermont, please call Brett Hess, president of the National Federation of the Blind of Vermont, at (802) 730-6537 or send email to ibretthess(at)aol(dot)com.

To learn more about NFB-NEWSLINE®, please visit http://www.nfbnewsline.org.

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Chris Danielsen
National Federation of the Blind
+1 (410) 659-9314 Ext: 2330
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