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Have you heard the news today?
6:00pm Thursday 4th October 2012 in News
The Pershore talking newspaper team, clockwise from back left, Chris Smith, Eileen Merry, Harry Searle, Keith Stewart, June Herbert, Selwyn Higgins, Janet Hughes and Malcolm Hiscock.
WHEN the Journal drops on to the door mats of homes across the Vale, many people take for granted their ability to flick through it at leisure.
It is easy to forget the newspaper is read not just by people in their kitchen or front room, but also recorded for those among us who are blind or visually impaired.
Talking newspapers in both Evesham and Pershore have now been around for 32 years and recently celebrated recording their 800th editions.
To mark the milestone the groups invited the Journal to see how it works.
The two newspapers are now recorded using computerised systems, this being the main change to have taken place since the talking newspaper started out in 1981.
Chairman of the Evesham Talking Newspaper, Gordon Grove, explained how it worked. “Each edition requires an editor who selects the items to be included.
There are three readers who read out each article, and copiers who duplicate the programme. The process is overseen by the technician who makes sure everything is produced professionally.
“We are very proud on this 800th anniversary to have been of service to those blind and visually handicapped people who have been dependent on our service. Let’s roll on to the 1,000th edition and beyond.”
One of the first technicians at the Evesham paper was Chris Warren, who still volunteers, alongside original reader Heather Staite.
Another long-term reader is Ann Banks. She said: “I do enjoy doing it. I began because my mum used to have the talking newspaper. At first she didn’t think it was important to her but it did become very much so.”
Recording now takes place inside the John Martin’s Charity building in Evesham.
Both the Pershore and Evesham talking newspapers, which have more than 100 listeners, aim to record an hour of news from the Journal and other local news sources. A weekly feature or interview is recorded separately.
While the Pershore talking newspaper has fewer readers than its neighbour, the hope is this will change in the near future as they launch a new publicity campaign.
Harry Searle, who volunteers as a producer in Pershore, has been doing his bit for 12 years. He said “The main progression over the past 12 years is from tapes to memory sticks.”
Operator Chris Smith said: “We try to keep the articles mainly about Pershore and then include things from the villages and Evesham that may affect our listeners. It’s a matter of keeping it interesting.
If there is a funny I always put that in. We want to make it interesting and happy but also to ensure they get all the local news.”
Eileen Merry was one of the first Pershore readers. She said: “The age of the listeners has changed and there is so much more available for the blind and partially sighted.
“We did a news reading course at BBC Wood Norton.
They said it was important not to use too much intonation or to assume you know how the person in the story would have said something.
It is the one thing the listeners don’t like.
“I really enjoy doing it because after meeting a lot of the listeners over the years I know they enjoy it and are grateful for what we do. “ To get the Evesham Talking Newspaper, or to volunteer, call Sylvia Wisbey on 01386 41165. To find out more about the Pershore Talking Newspaper call Chris Smith on 01386 556167.