Henshaws joins the Talking Newspaper app

Our Rehabilitation Officer, Richard, who specialises in assistive technology for people with visual impairments, took the time to review a new Talking Newspaper app; he was so impressed with it, that we have now added our regular Henshaws Hello newsletter to it!

Image shows a member of Henshaws staff wearing a pink t-shirt and hoodie. He is holding a mobile phone, showing the Talking Newspaper app on the screen.

Wales.  Famous for Tom Jones, sheep, leeks and the recognised birthplace of Talking Newspapers in the UK!

Talking Newspapers first came to the UK in 1970 in the town of Aberystwyth in Wales.  They were recorded onto cassette and initially distributed to twenty addresses in the Cardiganshire area. Almost 50 years later, there are over 500 local Talking Newspaper organisations across the UK, and over 60,000 listeners.

During this time, as well as the expansion of Talking Newspapers, the technology has also moved on.  Talking Newspapers were originally recorded onto cassette tapes (ask your parents if you don’t know what this is!), then CDs and more recently memory sticks.  Now you can access some Talking Newspapers through an Echo skill or, more recently, by using the Talking Newspapers app.

The Talking Newspapers app has been developed by a collaboration between British Wireless for the Blind Fund and Talking News Federation.  It gives access to over 200 Talking Newspapers from around the country, including Trafford, Stockport and Tameside from the Greater Manchester region.

Talking Newspapers is available for free on IOS and Android.  I tested it using an iPhone 8 with voice over on and screen curtain so I couldn’t cheat.  The app was very easy to navigate as it used lists of options rather than icons.  This meant it was easy to navigate with just the basic voice over gestures.  As a novice user of voice over, I was able to get to Trafford Talking News very quickly!

For the most part, the app also worked well with the largest font on Dynamic Text. It was only the lapsed time of the track that was obscured by other items on the screen.

An exciting development is that you can now listen to the quarterly Henshaws Hello newsletter on the app! From the main page, navigate to ‘North-West’ and then to the ‘Henshaws Hello’ option.  The most recent version of our newsletter will then automatically play.  Every three months, the next issue will be available to listen to.  It is also hoped that our monthly Knowledge Village newsletter will also be available on the app shortly.

To download this free app, search for “Talking Newspapers” on Google Play or App Store.  You can also access the content of the app online; listen to the latest Henshaws Hello newsletter by following this link.

Thank you to Richard for sharing his review of the new app, we hope you find it useful!

Image shows close up of mobile phone screen, with a finger pointing at the screen. On the screen is the main page of the Talking Newspaper app.

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