[nfbwatlk] Critical Funding Shortage Threatens NFB-NEWSLINE® in Michigan

Freeh, Jessica JFreeh at nfb.org
Tue Aug 31 21:25:34 CDT 2010


    Larry Posont, President

    National Federation of the Blind of 
<?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = 
"urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />Michigan

    Phone: (313) 271-3058

    E-mail: <mailto:president.nfb.mi at gmail.com>president.nfb.mi at gmail.com

    Scott White, Director, NFB-NEWSLINE®
    Phone: (410) 659-9314, extension 2231
    E-mail: swhite at nfb.org

Critical Funding Shortage Threatens NFB-NEWSLINE®

 in Michigan

Thousands of Print-Disabled Michigan Residents May Lose Free,
Independent Access to Newspapers and Magazines

Baltimore, Maryland (August 31, 2010):  Due to 
lack of funding, NFB-NEWSLINE®, a free service 
that provides independent access by 
print-disabled people to hundreds of local and 
national publications and TV listings, will be 
turned off in Michigan, effective October 1, 
2010.  Termination of this service will 
drastically limit the ability of thousands of 
print-disabled Michigan 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 due to a visual or 
physical disability to listen to newspapers and 
magazines over the telephone, on the Web, or by 
download to a digital talking-book 
player.  Through the service, print-disabled 
people can access over three hundred newspapers 
and magazines independently, determining how, 
when, and where they wish to read their favorite 
publications.  If funding is not found on or 
before October 1, 2010, blind and print-disabled 
Michigan residents will no longer have access to NFB-NEWSLINE®.

Dr. Marc Maurer, President of the National 
Federation of the Blind, 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.  NFB-NEWSLINE® offers us the 
ability to read the news independently, choosing 
the content that is of interest to us.  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.”

NFB-NEWSLINE® offers six Michigan newspapers, 
including the Detroit Free Press, the Detroit 
News, the Flint Journal, Grand Rapids Press, 
Lansing State Journal, and the Mining Journal, as 
well as the Michigan Associated Press wire 
feed.  In addition to state newspapers from 
Michigan 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 
print-disabled Michigan residents access to 
information from state agencies and legislative 
bodies that can otherwise be difficult to 
obtain.  Through a state-specific channel on the 
service, entities such as the Michigan Commission 
for the Blind, Michigan Legislative Service 
Bureau, the Michigan State House of 
Representatives, and the Michigan State Senate 
can provide, at no cost, vital information to 
this population in an accessible format.

“This truly is a crisis for the blind and 
print-disabled of Michigan, as we will be losing 
an incredibly valuable service that helps us to 
connect with the world at large and with our own 
communities,” said Larry Posont, president of the 
National Federation of the Blind of 
Michigan.  “With NFB-NEWSLINE®, for more than ten 
years I have been able to read the Wall Street 
Journal, Roll Call, and the New York Times to 
keep up on national news and to learn about 
economic forecasts and pending governmental 
legislation.  I also read the Lansing State 
Journal to learn about events in my 
community.  Losing this innovative service would 
have a profoundly negative impact on my life, as 
the service helps me not only as a citizen and 
retired businessman, but also in my role as an 
advocate for the blind in Michigan State.”

Peter Zaremba, a blind resident of Michigan, 
said: “Using NFB-NEWSLINE® I can access at any 
time and at any place the same essential and 
entertaining news that my sighted peers 
enjoy.  This helps me to be successful in my 
business of course, but also in my relationships 
with others, as conversations with colleagues, 
neighbors, and friends often revolve around the 
news of the day.  It would be virtually 
impossible for me to obtain the news I need 
without NFB-NEWSLINE® and I would miss having 
access to this invaluable resource were it to be shut down.”

Scott White, director of NFB-NEWSLINE®, said: 
“While it would be a great shame to close this 
vital service to blind Michigan residents, unless 
we are able to locate or are provided with a 
funding source, we have no choice but to turn off 
NFB-NEWSLINE® in Michigan on October 1.”

To learn how you can help keep NFB-NEWSLINE® 
available in Michigan, please call Larry Posont, 
president of the National Federation of the Blind 
of Michigan, at (313) 271-3058 or send e-mail to president.nfb.mi at gmail.com.

To learn more about NFB-NEWSLINE®, please visit 


About the National Federation of the Blind of Michigan

With chapters in all major cities, the Michigan 
affiliate of the National Federation of the Blind 
is the largest and most influential membership 
organization of blind people in the Great Lakes 
State.  Since 1941, in connection with thousands 
of blind Michigan residents, the National 
Federation of the Blind of Michigan has worked to 
improve the lives of blind citizens in its 
affiliate through advocacy, education, and 
programs encouraging independence and self-confidence.

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