Newsline Coming to Maine

Newsline For the Blind is Coming to Maine in March. It will be a toll free call for all users. It is necessary for individuals who qualify for the service to register and get a user ID and security code. If you would like to apply for this newspaper reading service that is accessible 24 hours a day and at your command with a telephone keypad, or if you have friends who qualify, you should apply early!

Newsline electronically "reads" the full text of each day's edition, which is immediately made available via modem to the local distribution centers. Users telephone the nearest local center and listen to the articles they choose, read to them in a synthesized voice. The reader is free to jump between articles, sections, and publications, and to pick the speed of reading to suit their needs.

Newsline is not the Internet, and no computer is necessary to use it. The system is easy to learn, and easy to access. Service is available to any person at least legally blind, and again, there is no charge.

The Newsline service will be available in Maine beginning in March 2002. It will be available on a toll free line. Full text of newspapers, as they are printed, will be available. This is not a web version of the newspaper. It is not headline news. It is full text of the newspapers, and at least two local papers from Maine may be included with the service. Work is currently in progress to include these local papers.

The Newsline service will be available for a year, under a grant from the Federal Government. During that year, consumers can try and use the service. They will not need a computer or a wallet full of cash to use it, and many folks do not currently have computer access or expertise so this will be important for all!

Funding will be sought for private and public funds to continue the Newsline service in Maine. There has been a reserve account established by the National Federation of the Blind of Maine for this purpose. We will gladly accept contributions for Newsline and its future here in Maine.

Be assured that Newsline will continue to be updated and changed according to consumer needs and wishes. A full text version of newspapers such as USA Today, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post and, in Maine, The Portland Press Herald and the Bangor Daily News, this is one way we continue to change what it means to be blind. The equal understanding of a newspaper, and the daily events and information it contains, will set us on a more equal footing in the workplace, in social circles and with our families.

There will be a rush of applications closer to March and, since this deployment is national, you may be delayed getting your ID and code. Early application is a must!

You can go to for copies of the application or you can call the National Center (410) 659-9314. When the phone is answered dial 0 then ask for the Newsline office.

You can also Contact:
National Federation of the Blind
1800 Johnson Street
Baltimore, MD 21230-4998
(866) 504-7300

NFB-NEWSLINE now has The Christian Science Monitor available as a national newspaper.

You will find this newspaper located in "Your newspapers," option 3 and in the main list of newspapers, option 5. We have had many requests for this newspapers and we hope your subscribers enjoy it. If you receive any feedback I would like to pass it on to the newspaper, they are very interested in NFB-NEWSLINE and believe it is a great service. I have also included some more information on the newspaper below, the name can be deceiving-it is not considered a religious newspaper-it's most well known for it's international news.

About the Monitor

The Christian Science Monitor is an international daily newspaper published Monday through Friday. Founded in 1908, it's now also a multimedia website, an e-mail edition, a personal digital assistant (PDA) edition, and a version for electronic books. To learn more about the Monitor, including its mission and its founder, Mary Baker Eddy, see the answers to some of our frequently asked questions:

Is the paper a religious periodical?

No, it's a real newspaper published by a church The First Church of Christ, Scientist in Boston, Mass., USA. Everything in the Monitor is international and US news and features, except for one religious article that has appeared each day in The Home Forum section since 1908, at the request of the paper's founder, Mary Baker Eddy.

In an age of corporate conglomerates dominating news media, the Monitor combination of church ownership, a public-service mission, and commitment to covering the world (not to mention the fact that it was founded by a woman shortly after the turn of the century, when US women didn't yet have the vote!) gives the paper a uniquely independent voice in journalism.

How do you compare to other newspapers covering international news?

Unlike most US dailies, the Monitor does not rely primarily on wire services, like AP and Reuters, for its international coverage. We have writers based in 11 countries, including Russia, China, France, the UK, Kenya, Mexico, Israel and India, as well as throughout the US.

Why does the Christian Science church publish a newspaper?

One answer might be found in a story the Monitor's Washington bureau chief, David Cook, told in a talk he gave several years ago:

"Consider this case. It is 1907. An elderly New England woman finds herself being targeted by Joseph Pulitzer's New York World. She is 86 years old and holds some unconventional religious beliefs that she expounds in a book. The book becomes a bestseller, making her wealthy and a well-known public figure.

"The New York World decides she is incapable of managing her own affairs and persuades some of her friends and her two sons to sue for control of her estate.

Although Boston and New Hampshire newspapers and major wire services interview this person and find her competent, the New York World is unrelenting. The lady in question finally is taken to court where the case against her is dropped.

"And the next year this woman, Mary Baker Eddy, founds The Christian Science Monitor.

Given her experience with the press, it is not all that surprising that she sets as the Monitor's goal 'to injure no man, but to bless all mankind.' In one of life's little ironies, Joseph Pulitzer went on to endow the Pulitzer prizes for journalistic excellence. And Mrs. Eddy's newspaper went on to win five Pulitzers so far." (Since Dave gave this talk, the Monitor won a sixth Pulitzer the 1996 prize for international reporting, and a seventh Pulitzer in 2002 for editorial cartooning.)

Mrs. Eddy had been thinking about a newspaper for a long time before 1907. Way back in 1883 she wrote: "Looking over the newspapers of the day, one naturally reflects that it is dangerous to live, so loaded with disease seems the very air. These descriptions carry fears to many minds, to be depicted in some future time upon the body. A periodical of our own will counteract to some extent this public nuisance; for through our paper we shall be able to reach many homes with healing, purifying thought."

There were many more letters and messages to church members from Eddy on the subject between then and the New York World case. Then an interesting coincidence occurred in March 1908, eight months before the paper's launch: Eddy received a long letter from a local journalist and Christian Scientist, John L. Wright. In it, he told her he felt there was a growing need for a daily newspaper that "will place principle before dividends, and that will be fair, frank and honest with the people on all subjects and under whatever pressure" a truly independent voice not controlled by "commercial and political monopolists."

Wright certainly got the idea. (A few months later he left the Boston Globe to become the Monitor's first city editor.) His was among 1,000 job applications the Monitor's first editor, Archibald McLellan, received prior to launch.

Is publishing the Monitor about spreading good values?

That's part of it, but let's be clear: The Christian Science church doesn't publish news to propagate denominational doctrine; it provides news purely as a public service. Here's why: If the basic theology of that church says that what reaches and affects thought shapes experience, it follows that a newspaper would have significant impact on the lives of those who read it.

A newspaper whose motive is "to injure no man, but to bless all mankind," as its founder charged, would have a "leavening" effect on society, as well as on individual lives to use a metaphor Eddy herself appreciated and used. The idea is that the unblemished truth is freeing (as a fundamental human right); with it, citizens can make informed decisions and take intelligent action, for themselves and for society.

Then if the paper's basically secular and for everybody, why is "Christian Science" in its name?

Eddy insisted, against strong opposition from some of her advisers and church officers, that the words "Christian Science" should be in the paper's name. According to one of her biographers, Robert Peel, to Eddy, "the designated title was an identification of the paper with the promise that no human situation was beyond healing or rectification if approached with sufficient understanding of man's God-given potentialities. Nor did the 'good news' of Christianity involve the prettification of bad news, but rather, its confident confrontation" (witness Monitor correspondent David Rohde's widely followed reporting in late '95 on alleged massacres by Bosnian Serb forces).

(Ms.) Karen Hartman
NFB-NEWSLINE Program Manager
1800 Johnson Street
Baltimore MD 21230
(410) 659-9314

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