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Captioning the New Frontier
Oregon's Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services (ODHHS)-Technical Assistance Center
ODHHS Information and Technical Assistance Series

Captioning the New Frontier
(Source: National Center for Accessible Media)
Major leaders in the television industry, educators of deaf students, and consumer advocates gathered in New York City recently for "Captioning The New Frontier," a symposium on new media and the future of captioning. This landmark meeting, sponsored by The US Department of Education, Captioning and Adaptation Branch and conducted by the CPB/WGBH National Center for Accessible Media (NCAM), took place at The Lighthouse.
Speakers and subjects reflected the diverse expertise of the 75 invited participants who came together to brainstorm access to existing and emerging media for deaf and hard-of-hearing people of all ages in school as well as at home.
Speakers included:
  • Reed Hundt, Chairman, Federal Communications Commission
  • Ervin Duggan, President, Public Broadcasting Service
  • Amos Hostetter, Chairman and CEO, Continental Cablevision
  • Vinton G. Cerf, Senior Vice President, Data and Information Architecture, MCITelecommunications Corporation and Trustee, Internet Society
  • Katherine Seelman, Director, National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research, US Department of Education
  • Ernest Hairston, Chief, Captioning and Adaptation Branch, USDepartment of Education
  • Robert Davila, Headmaster of the New York School for the Deaf
  • Judith Harkins, Director, Technology Assessment Program, GallaudetResearch Institute
  • Brigid Sullivan, Vice President, Special Telecommunications Services, WGBH Educational Foundation
  • Larry Goldberg, Director, NCAM
"The public interest requires equal access to the information superhighway for all Americans," said FCC Commissioner Hundt. "We have no higher responsibility than making sure that people with disabilities share in the communications revolution." Toward this goal, the FCC Disabilities Issues Task Force was established in March 1995 to monitor developments in all fields regulated by the FCC and to ensure their accessibility to all Americans. At the close of his presentation at Captioning The New Frontier, Commissioner Hundt announced a historic Notice of Inquiry (NOI) regarding closed captioning and video description of television programming. The FCC seeks comments on the current availability, cost and uses of these services and wants the public's views on appropriate ways to promote their wider use in programming delivered by television broadcasters, cable operators and other video providers.
Captioning The New Frontier provided a unique opportunity for participants of varying backgrounds to communicate. "Many excellent ideas emerged from Captioning The New Frontier, but quite possibly the most productive result was the dialogue and the establishment of relationships among leaders in the industry, education and consumer advocacy," said Larry Goldberg, Director of NCAM. Discussions featured the educational applications of video and CD-ROMs, the impact of the Television Decoder Circuitry Act on the growth of closed captioning, and the goal of access to all new forms of media. "Key issues were illuminated; real concerns and practical solutions were voiced and heard by people in a position to make a difference," added Goldberg. "NCAM is proud to have set the stage for such frank and productive dialogue. We are grateful for the participation of so many key people and for the support of The US Department of Education."
The CPB/WGBH National Center for Accessible Media is a research and development facility dedicated to making media accessible to disabled people in their homes, workplaces, schools and communities. NCAM and its sister organizations, The Caption Centerand Descriptive Video Servicereg., make up the Media Access department of the non-profit WGBH Educational Foundation.
For more information, contact:
Mary Watkins
Project Coordinator
CPB/WGBH National Center for Accessible Media
WGBH Educational Foundation
125 Western Avenue
Boston, MA 02134
617 492-9225 (voice/TTY)
617 562-0590 (fax)