By: Jennifer Heartley
IRIS is a reading information service for the blind and print handicapped, which includes veterans who have been injured in the service and other disabilities as well. I learned about it through my class J66 otherwise known as Media Responsibility. Here at Drake University, this class has traditionally been helping with this group for several years. IRIS is completely ran by two people who started it and all the volunteers they get to help them out. Many people volunteer and read from their homes.
The class is divided into groups. A different group will be responsible for reading each week. A different member in the group is responsible for their assigned day of the week. If students want to volunteer to help out more, they can bring in magazines of interest of any kind without putting any expiration date on the recording so that IRIS can use it to fill dead air whenever they wish.
There is a recording room in the basement of Meredith where students go to read and record for IRIS. There is a website brought up on the screen that is an online newspaper of the Midwest that would interest the readers in that area. IRIS reads for many different areas, but this is the website that J66 students read from.
Before the class was assigned to this project we had a discussion about whether or not certain people do or do not have the right to the news. For example, just because they may be blind, does that mean they should be deprived of their own local newspaper? The class decided “No” right off the bat. Even if you’re not a journalism student, it would be hard to imagine anyone answering that any differently.
Tell me what you think of this program and what it means to the present and future of journalism.