Accessibility

I focused my research for my master’s thesis on an intersection of journalism and accessibility. While much has been studied and written about how to produce journalism about people with disabilities, not much has been done about how to produce journalism for people with disabilities. I chose to try to start filling in that gap by studying how to produce better online journalism for people with vision-based disabilities.

Over the course of a summer, I interviewed 14 people in mid-Missouri who are blind or have low vision. We discussed their news-gathering habits and their opinion on the news that is available to them, and they told me what improvements or changes they would like to see news organizations make. I also watched as they demonstrated to me how they use various adaptive technologies and how traditional news websites interact (or don’t) with those tools.

The end result was a better understanding of how people with vision-based disabilities are getting their news (the short version: not through traditional news sites) and a list of guidelines on how to serve them better.

An academic article based on these findings is under review; in the meantime, I am always happy to discuss this research, and I can provide a copy of my thesis upon request. If interested, please contact me at mhenquinet@gmail.com.

You can also download “Ten ways to improve your site’s accessibility,” a handout I created for a presentation I gave at the 2015 American Copy Editors Society convention, as a Microsoft Word document or as a PDF.

 

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