Sunday, November 23, 2008

Now this is how it should be done

Barack Obama's website is now captioning the streaming YouTube video of the president-elect's weekly fireside chats. Here's yesterday's address on the economy:

To get the captions, start the video rolling. If the captions don't appear immediately, click the "up arrow" at the right side of the screen, then the "CC" symbol. You'll see the transcript, word for word as Obama speaks, at the bottom of the screen. (You could teach yourself how to read lips by turning off the sound, then glance at the captions as you focus on Obama's face.)

Now why can't the American news organizations do this with their streaming videos? There are a lot of hearing-impaired and deaf people in this country -- perhaps 20 million of us -- and regular captioning would attract a lot of new business to a news web site. Besides, goddam it, it would be the right thing to do.

(With thanks to Tina Davidson for the heads-up.)


  1. Awesome! Thanks for mentioning this. I just mentioned your post on my blog.

  2. I wrote them about captions versus a transcript about a week ago. I'm not surprised they did it since YouTube makes it pretty easy.

  3. About time! I had the most novel feeling as I watched: finally my government is addressing ME.

    You're right, lipreading is greatly facilitated by watching the captions and Obama's lips alternately.

    This Thanksgiving I am remembering our President-elect and his philosophy of "change". May the dawn begin!

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