Monday, June 15, 2009

Meet Elizabeth Campbell

Liz and her dog, Gabe

Elizabeth Campbell has been a reporter for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram since the early 1980s. What makes that remarkable is that Liz is blind. When she began her career, StarText played a pivotal role. In the February, 1985 StarText INK, Liz wrote about it.

By Elizabeth Campbell

Imagine not having access to your favorite sections of the newspaper. You couldn't browse through the classified ads or read the breaking stories on the front.

How can a young blind jouirnalist solve these problems?

When I came to the Star-Telegram in June I realized that I needed some way to keep up with the news. The radio and television do not give detailed accounts of the day's events.

Fortunately, StarText came to the rescue! I went online in mid-July (1984), and a new, exciting world opened up for me.

For the first time in my life, I could sit down and "read" the newspaper by myself. Before, I depended on readers to help with this task. Often, having people read for me was a problem because I had story deadlines to meet or my reader had other commitments.

Therefore, I had some problems keeping up with the news everyday. StarText solved the problem because now, I can log on whenever I have time to scroll through the stories.

StarText has helped me to become more independent because I don't have to rely on others to do my work for me.

At this point, you might be asking what kind of system does she use to get StarText in the first place?

I use an Apple IIE and a VersaBraille terminal to do both my news reading and my writing for the Star-Telegram. The Apple and the VersaBraille can be interfaced.

When I am using the Apple, I have a speech synthesizer called an Echo2 that is installed inside the Apple. The Echo says everything that is printed to the screen. It uses over 400 pronunciation rules in the English language.

When I want to download from StarText, I use a data communications program called Talking Transend. I also have the option to download using the VersaBraille. The VersaBraille is a small terminal about the size of a tape recorder. The Braille shows up on a small display that runs across the top of the machine. All my files from VersaBraille are stored on cassette tape.

When I finish downloading what I need from StarText, I like reading through the material in Braille. So, I have another program called Braille Edit. Braille Edit is a word processing package for blind Apple users.

The program also translates text files into Braille. I like to transfer StarText to the VersaBraille so I can read it more accurately.

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