About the newspaper
We send weekly recordings of local news in the Exmouth and Budleigh Salterton Journals and the Express and Echo to anyone in the area who has little or no sight or who just has difficulty reading the local newspapers. Talking News has around 60 volunteers working in teams to edit, read, record, copy and distribute an hour’s local news every week to our listeners. We also produce a fun magazine every quarter purely for entertainment.
We cover an area that encompasses Exmouth, Budleigh Salterton, Lympstone, Littleham, Exton, Topsham, Otterton, Yettington, Woodbury, Colaton Raleigh and Woodbury Salterton.
The idea of sending recordings of local news to listeners started in Aberystwyth in 1969. Using old equipment from the Talking Book Service the local news was recorded and laboriously copied on to cassette tapes and sent out to 18 blind listeners. From that tentative start there are now over 600 Talking Newspaper Organisations in the UK, providing local news to thousands of listeners.
Exmouth Talking Newspapers was started in 1981 by 15 Volunteers meeting regularly at Rolle College which had a faster copier and other recording equipment. After a few years the College staff involved retired and new accommodation had to be found.
For a time weekly recordings continued in a room in Salterton Road, and then space was offered in Danby House. The disadvantage was that all our equipment had to be packed away in a cupboard after each weekly recording. Our first specially made recording studio was housed in a rented property off Rolle Street. When that room was needed for other purposes in 2006 we made the bold decision to buy a rather derelict building at auction.
We even became brief stars, over that year, on the BBC programme “Homes under the Hammer” as renovation work progressed. After a lot of hard work planning, project managing and most importantly raising money to pay for it all, we became the proud owners of our own purpose built studio in 2007. Still, as far as we know, the only one in the Country.
The next big challenge for us was switching from cassette tapes to digital recording on to memory sticks, which has provided our Listeners with a much improved quality recording. We are proud of the fact that since we started recording the local news in 1981, with the help of our team of enthusiastic volunteers we have never missed a week’s production for our Listeners.
How is it done?
Every week before production an editor selects items of news in the local newspapers to be read by 3 or 4 readers whilst a producer makes a digital recording. About 100 copies are then made and transferred onto memory sticks which are then posted to our listeners free of charge in special wallets.
Our listeners are provided with a player, specially designed for people with sight problems, and shown how to insert the memory stick and listen to the recordings.
After listening to the week’s news the listener returns the memory stick to the studio in the same wallet by simply reversing the address label. Again, postage is free.