Friday, October 16, 2009

Signs of The Times

The printed newspaper, before long, will be a piece of nostalgia. I understand the desire of some to hang on to their dependence on newsprint, as I was forced to quit some time ago. It was not a habit I particularly wanted to kick, but one of the first things to go with declining vision is the ability to read newsprint – small fonts, bad contrast.

With such difficulty, one might think it best to let go, turn on CNN and be done with it. I tried, but quitting for me proved equally as difficult. It is no surprise that I moved with the herd to The New York Times on the Web, and while a definite improvement, it was still not the news-reading experience I was dreaming of.

Then, just a few months ago, I had, what I consider, a major breakthrough. Having signed up (reluctantly) for daily emails with “Today’s Headlines,” I was delighted to discover that I could scroll through article headlines, synopses, and links to full articles. Once linked, I click on “Print” to get a cleaned-up version of the article, which makes reading much easier with my eyes--or with my computer’s speech, a satisfying experience.

Sounds like a pretty simple solution, and indeed it is. Took me a while, but today I’m feeling it was worth the trip. Especially since so many people I’ve shared this with are switching, happily, to my method of reading, whether they were struggling or not. Good for me, better for everyone. Try it!

I continue to dream of the day I will be able to choose how I read the “paper” online. I will be able to select the font, the contrast, the layout, and I even get to choose the voice in which the paper is read to me, aloud. I know that day is coming!


  1. This might be something I try out. Thanks for the suggestion.

  2. Another suggestion I recently heard for making news orgs easier to access online: using the site's "mobile" version. Many mainstream sites are programming mirror versions for people browsing using mobile devices - but in doing so are inadvertently doing a favor to people using screen readers/screen magnifiers. A lot of the features that trip up those programs are stripped out for the mobile version and you can access them not just through a phone, but from a regular computer.

    On most major websites you can find these mobile versions by replacing the "www" with an "m" in the address bar. For example:


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