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October
2015
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06:30 PM
America/New_York

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Making news accessible for people with disabilities: The Hon. David Onley with VP Academic Dr. Christine Bradaric-Baus and Associate Dean Kurt Muller launch Canada's first post-secondary course that trains journalism students to produce accessible news content. Making news accessible for people with disabilities: The Hon. David Onley with VP Academic Dr. Christine Bradaric-Baus and Associate Dean Kurt Muller launch Canada's first post-secondary course that trains journalism students on how to produce accessible news content.

HAMILTON (Oct. 16, 2015) – Making digital and broadcast news fully accessible for people with disabilities is the focus of a new course being developed by Mohawk College with support from the Broadcasting Accessibility Fund.

The course, believed to be the first of its kind in Canada, will launch in the Fall of 2016 and be mandatory for all students in Mohawk’s three-year journalism program.

Mohawk has been awarded an $80,000 grant from the Broadcast Accessibility Fund to develop the course. The Broadcasting Accessibility Fund was established as an independent and impartial funding body supporting innovative projects to increase the accessibility of broadcasting content in Canada.

Mohawk faculty and staff will develop the course in consultation with an advisory committee of college partners, including The Hon. David Onley who served as the 28th Lieutenant Governor of Ontario and was one of the first on-air journalists in Canada with a visible disability.

Mohawk will make the course curriculum available at no charge to colleges and universities through a Creative Commons license. Mohawk also plans to develop a one-year post-graduate certificate in accessible media production for working journalists and communications professionals.

QUOTES:

“The Broadcasting Accessibility Fund is delighted to have Mohawk College among the recipients of the very first grants we have awarded. This innovative initiative by Mohawk College is precisely the type of project envisioned by the Fund’s mandate, and addresses a key gap in the accessibility of content for Canadians with disabilities. We look forward to working with the Mohawk team throughout all phases of course design and implementation.”- Richard Cavanagh, Accessibility Fund CEO / Funding Officer

“Mohawk College is proud to take a leadership role in training our students to produce digital and broadcast content that will be fully accessible for everyone with disabilities. We also look forward to training working journalists and sharing our expertise with colleges and universities across Canada.” - Kurt Muller, Associate Dean of Media and Entertainment at Mohawk College

FAST FACTS:

Mohawk is among the first seven projects ever to be awarded a grant by the Broadcasting Accessibility Fund. Mohawk is the only postsecondary institution in Canada to receive a grant.

In 2012, 3.8 million Canadians (13.7 per cent of the total population) reported having a disability. The percentage of Canadians with disabilities increases with age, ranging from 4.4 per cent for people 15 to 24 years to 42.5 per cent for those 75 years and over (Statistics Canada).

Approximately 13 per cent of Mohawk students report having a disability.

More than 400 students are enrolled in Mohawk’s Journalism, Radio Broadcasting and Television and Communications Media programs.

Mohawk’s journalism newsroom will be equipped with software including speech recognition, captioning and screen reading programs. The newsroom will also be redesigned for students with disabilities.

Mohawk faculty and staff are working with an advisory committee to develop the course. The committee includes representatives from CNIB, the Down Syndrome Association of Hamilton, Canadian Hard of Hearing Association and the City of Hamilton.

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For more information, contact:

Kurt Muller, Associate Dean of Media and Entertainment for Mohawk College, 905.575.2046, kurt.muller@mohawkcollege.ca

Jay Robb, Director of Communications for Mohawk College, 905.979.8893, jay.robb@mohawkcollege.ca

Richard Cavanagh, CEO / Funding Officer, Broadcasting Accessibility Fund, 613.729.1891, richard@baf-far.ca