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Media and the Deaf:

By Sarah Nowshiravan

As a college student aspiring to be a news reporter, I was interested in learning the ways the deaf and hard of hearing individuals would be able to rely on television and radio then only written sources.

According to Jamie Berke, author of an article titled "Deaf History - History of Closed Captioning" (Berke, 2008), individuals who are deaf and hard of hearing had very few options before closed captioning took effect. One show that I found to be very interesting and incorporated news reporting was an Emmy-winning production made by the Gallaudet University. The Gallaudet University is a liberal arts university for the deaf and hard of hearing and made this well-liked production in the 80's and 90's. The name of this piece was called Deaf Mosaic and Gil Eastman and Mary Lou Novitsky were the hosts. Deaf Mosaic would send its reporters and producers all over the world and interview different sides of the deaf society. A few examples of the stories were a deaf firefighter, a few international deaf artists and deaf child inventers. If interested in watching a few episodes of Deaf Mosaics visited

As I mentioned before, prior to closed captioning, there were a minimal shows that accommodated for the deaf and hard of hearing. Although after January 1, 1998 according to the National Association of the Deaf, slowly by the year 2006, 100% of the new programming had to be captioned. Now that we are coming to the last month of 2008, I can reassure that closed captioning does consist on majority of television stations except there are few exceptions according to the Federal Communications Commission. The first one is commercial advertisements that are no longer then five minutes do not have to include closed captioning. Although we all know advertising companies hope to reach anyone and everyone, we can usually see that it is included. The second exclusion of closed captioning according to NAD is televised symphonies and ballet performances. The last exception is allowing new networks four years to operate and form before giving them the closed captioning requirement.

As I was researching, I was amazed to run across an article having to do with the 2008 Presidential Election. The title of the article was "Captioned Radio Broadcast to Enable Millions of Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing to Experience (Newswire, 2008).  NPR's Live Coverage of Presidential Election for the First Time." I was surprised to see how radio was going to allow deaf and hard of hearing the chance to hear the coverage, and the second was that how long it took for this to become possible. This was made possible using the latest technology to allow the deaf community to experience NPR's election on coverage through HD-Radio. The reporting will be done by live radio content on special equipped coverage through receivers according to Public Radio Newswire. According to NPR, practically seven million individuals in the United States are either deaf or hard of hearing and an additional 28 million have issues with hearing, Gallaudet University reports.

By starting out with just a minimum of two or three television series in the nation, to the NAD making requirements that all networks had to offer the choice of closed captioning showed progress. Lastly to make radio coverage even possible for the deaf and hard of hearing, we can see that the deaf community is rising and will continue to rise in the upcoming years.

Works Cited

Berke, Jamie. "Deaf History - History of Closed Captioning." Deafness. 27 Nov. 2007. 28 Nov. 2008 .

Newswire, 2008. Captioned Radio Broadcast to Enable Millions of Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing to Experience NPR's Live Coverage of Presidential Election for the First Time". PR Newswire. . 28 Nov. 2008.

TV Captioning." National Association of the Deaf. 28 Nov. 2008 <>.

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