Chichester talking news goes digital with online service amid coronavirus outbreak

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The Chichester Area Talking News (CATN) programme for blind and visually impaired listeners is back up and running with an online service for its users.

CATN’s work has been badly affected by the coronavirus pandemic, and the charity could no longer use its recording studio at St Richard’s Hospital or post memory sticks with recordings of local news to its 400 or so local listeners.

Volunteers are now recording at home and emailing programmes to be uploaded onto the charity’s website – www.catn.org.uk – and the programmes are also available through the British Wireless for the Blind Fund (BWBF) app on Android and Apple devices.

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The first of the new programmes – Edition 1146 – is available now.

The Chichester Area Talking News (CATN) programme for blind and visually impaired listeners is back up and running with an online serviceThe Chichester Area Talking News (CATN) programme for blind and visually impaired listeners is back up and running with an online service
The Chichester Area Talking News (CATN) programme for blind and visually impaired listeners is back up and running with an online service | User (UGC)

CATN is a charity which has provided a recorded digest of local news for blind and visually impaired listeners for over 45 years.

The service - which is completely free - is run entirely by volunteers.

Talking News helps restore independence and create an opportunity to take an active interest in the local community.

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As well as Chichester, the area covered includes Bognor Regis and Petworth - from the coastal towns and villages as far north as Midhurst, east to Middleton-on-Sea and west to Emsworth.

The main content of the programme is a round-up of local news and features taken from local newspapers.

In addition, there is an Information Desk, Nature Notes, Village News and events of local interest.

There is also a quarterly magazine programme, Insight, which runs for around 75 minutes.

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It contains articles and information of local and general interest, many by well known guest speakers.

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A message from the Editor, Gary Shipton:

Thank you for reading this story on our website.

But I also have an urgent plea to make of you.

In order for us to continue to provide high quality local news on this free-to-read site and in print, please purchase a copy of our newspaper as well. With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on our town centres and many of our valued advertisers - and consequently the advertising that we receive - we are more reliant than ever on you buying a copy.

Our journalists are highly trained by the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ) and our content is independently regulated by IPSO to some of the most rigorous standards anywhere in the world. Our content is universally trusted - as all independent research proves.

As Baroness Barran said in a House of Lords debate this week on the importance of journalists: “Not only are they a trusted source of facts, but they will have a role to play in rallying communities and getting the message across about how we can keep ourselves and our families safe, and protect our NHS. Undoubtedly, they have a critical role.”

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But being your eyes and ears comes at a price. So we need your support more than ever to buy our newspapers during this crisis. In return we will continue to forensically cover the local news - not only the impact of the virus but all the positive and uplifting news happening in these dark days.

In addition, please write to your MP urging the Government to provide some additional financial support for local newspapers and their websites like this one and ensuring that supermarkets continue to stock them. I cannot stress enough how important such an intervention would be.

We thank all our readers and advertisers for their understanding and support - and we wish YOU all the best in the coming weeks. Keep safe, and follow the Government advice. Thank you.

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