By Sue Lichtenfels, Chair
Over the last several months the Content Committee has been focusing most of its efforts on TheReImage project. In October we began working with a graphic artist in the Harrisburg area to design a logo that we feel represents TheReImage purpose. We hope to finalize the logo in the next few weeks so it can be incorporated into our new website. The web developer has begun his work and the site will be ready after the New Year.
Also in preparation for the website launch, TheReImage held its first-ever writing contest to gather its initial website content. The contest yielded 28 entries, several from PCB members. We hope you will visit the new site once complete to read the winning stories.
Even though the contest is over, TheReImage continues to seek stories that portray people who are blind or visually impaired in every-day human ways. I know, I know, you don’t think you have anything special to write about. That’s exactly the point. To us the stories are ordinary but to the sighted community, they are unique and extraordinary. They don’t think about us as parents, siblings, teachers, travelers, entrepreneurs, home owners, workers, care takers, and the like. The more stories we tell about what we consider are ordinary lives, the more the novelty of vision loss wears off. What is now unique to the sighted world will become the new norm—TheReImage of people with vision loss. So, while a story about my daughter and I baking a cake isn’t earth shattering to us; it could be mind-altering to a sighted individual who never before considered that people with vision loss are moms and dads too. Please email your stories to content@TheReImage.net or send via postal mail to TheReImage, P.O. Box 13019, Harrisburg, PA 17110.
The concept of TheReImage aims to overcome a challenge that affects people with vision loss around the world. It is not limited by age, race, or blindness advocacy affiliation. While remaining a project of and steered by PCB, in 2016 TheReImage will begin inviting stakeholders from other groups, countries, and skill sets to join the effort. The PCB steering team will be spearheaded by Thomas Reid. TheReImage needs volunteers to assist with writing, editing, audio creation and production, marketing, social media, website posting, story generation, and more. Please express your interest in helping by contacting TheReImage at 412-564-3214 or TheReImageCampaign@gmail.com. Keep up-to-date by following @TheReImage on Twitter.
The Content Committee has also been investigating new ways to get information to PCB’s membership. For example, this issue of The PCB Advocate is being converted to audio for cartridge recipients by special software that can turn text into synthesized speech. If acceptable, this technology will drastically reduce the turn-around time it takes for the magazine to be recorded into audio, transferred onto cartridge, and received by members. This conversion method may also be useful to load audio files into the Philmore announce system.
With the Philmore system, PCB could provide content such as The PCB Advocate, conference updates and archives, advocacy news and calls-to-action, PCB-produced podcasts, articles posted to the PCB listserv, chapter announcements, and much more. All of this information could be accessed 24/7 by calling a PCB-specific phone line. Unfortunately the call would be long distance so members without unlimited long distance should really begin shopping around for an unlimited long-distance calling plan that can fit into their budget. For sure, PCB’s Philmore announce line is coming, but first we would like to find a PCB member who could be trained specifically to coordinate the audio uploading and maintenance of the system. Interested individuals should email firstname.lastname@example.org.
As we move into 2016, the Content Committee will become part of the Communications Team. It has been a pleasure serving as the Chair of this committee. Our hard-working group included Mary Ann Alexander-Grignon, Rosemary Martin, Thomas Reid, Jeanette Schmoyer, and Tony Swartz. Best wishes to all for the New Year.