by Toni and Ed Eames

Words and music from the Newsreel theme song:

The Newsreel -- a celebration,
take a well-deserved vacation, when I get it in the mail.
The Newsreel -- a monthly education,
with bits of information
'bout what someone's got for sale.
It's the Newsreel, and all across the nation,
I'm finding out how other people feel.
But all I have to say
it's a heck of a deal,
and where else can you get it but the Newsreel!

It's the Newsreel -- from Dorado to Miami,
along this Newsreel family, everyone gets a say.
It's the Newsreel,
it's the grandest brand of candy,
yet it's good for us and handy,
with the tips that come our way.
It's the Newsreel,
and if you'll grant me the time to tell you how I really feel,
the low subscription price is part of the appeal.
Some folks may say it's nice, I say it's truly a steal,
and it's worth saying twice because it's such a good deal,
and I'm so glad I said it, I sincerely said it,
there's no place to get it but the Newsreel!

From Ed

I first became acquainted with the Newsreel, a magazine by and for the blind, through Hanan Selvin, a professor at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. Hanan said I would really like this monthly magazine in cassette form that dealt with a vast range of blindness-related issues and, moreover, was recorded in the voices of the contributors. In addition, he said its members could be a great source of information for the book I was writing about guide dog schools. He was right! Not only did I get lots of guide dog-related material from the members, I also heard the voice of my future wife and soul mate Toni on this intriguing window into the world of the blind and visually impaired. It was a world I had recently entered as a result of retinitis pigmentosa.

Hanan was right when he said I would get a better view of what it was like to be blind from this magazine than from all the rehabilitation counselors I was encountering. In addition to words of wisdom about almost every aspect of blindness and the blindness system, I heard about travel, cooking, technology and listened to some fascinating music. Members sang, played instruments and sent in music I had never heard before. Once in a while I sent in questions and was thrilled with the number and variety of responses received.

The late Stan Doran, founder and editor, kept things lively by introducing new topics, such as the medical procedures he was undergoing and a behind-the-scenes visit to Disney World where his brother worked as a security host. Until his death, Stan put his unique imprint on every monthly issue. His penchant for jokes, memory challenges and quizzes have remained part of almost every monthly issue.

From Toni

It's been almost 40 years since I took my first flight. It was to attend a Pilot Dog graduate reunion in Memphis, Tenn. Although not a Pilot graduate, I was welcomed, and loved the camaraderie of my fellow guide dog users. The central figure in this outstanding event was Stan Doran, who also introduced me to the Newsreel. This audio blog extended the warmth I had initially felt at the reunion and kept me in touch with many who had attended that event.

During my four decades with this magazine by and for the blind, I have made friends, found out about technology such as talking blood pressure machines, gotten some good recipes and known where to send my tape recorders for repair. In fact, it was a fellow Newsreeler at the 1984 ACB convention in Philadelphia who encouraged me to contact Ed about his guide dog school book project. We are not the only couple who met through the Newsreel connection!

Recognizing the need for funds to maintain the organization, I started a raffle to commemorate the death of my guide dog Flicka. Initially called the Flicka Memorial Raffle, it is now the Friendship Raffle! That was 25 years ago and I am still the raffle master! From Both of Us

Appreciation of, and commitment to, the Newsreel was another link in bringing us together and cementing our relationship. For several years we edited the guide dog special in which we included stories submitted by Newsreel members. We recorded our wedding and shared it with subscribers. Recorded highlights of our trips to South Africa, the Caribbean and Japan were also shared. In fact, our trip to attend a blindness-focused retreat in the Black Hills of South Dakota was triggered by a discussion by Newsreelers who had attended in previous years. Conversations about guide dogs, pedestrian safety, accessibility, public transportation and the ADA will often elicit a response from us.

In 1997 we were asked to serve on the board and accepted with deep pleasure and a commitment to maintain the organization built by Stan. Celebrating a 50th Anniversary

In 1958, Stan Doran, founder of Pilot Dogs in Columbus, Ohio, initiated an open-reel tape round-robin correspondence with graduates of the program who wanted to keep in touch with him and one another. Initially recorded on five-inch reels, from which the term Newsreel was derived, it shifted to cassettes in 1971 and is currently available on four-track cassettes, CDs and in MP3 formats. The information and entertainment (three hours worth), focused primarily on blindness issues, are recorded in the voices of the contributor members and edited by Irwin Hott at the headquarters in downtown Columbus.

To celebrate this 50th anniversary, we are making a special offer to our fellow Forum readers. If you contact the Newsreel, your name will be entered into a drawing where 10 lucky winners of a free one-year subscription will be selected. For those entering the drawing whose names are not chosen, a complimentary copy of the magazine will be sent to you. This is our way of familiarizing our fellow ACB members with this fantastic resource.

To enter the contest, simply submit your name, address and phone number by calling (614) 469-0700 or 1-888-723-8737. For more information, contact the Newsreel office by phone or send the same information by snail mail to Newsreel, 8 E. Long St., Suite 420, Columbus, OH 43215. You can also e-mail at [email protected] or check out the web site at

A 4-track monthly cassette read-and-return annual subscription costs $30. A $50 annual subscription allows members to keep cassette issues or receive issues in an MP3 or CD format. Currently, Newsreel offers first-time subscribers a $20 read-and-return trial subscription for one year. We look forward to meeting many of you on the tracks of the Newsreel!

Toni and Ed Eames can be contacted at 3376 N. Wishon, Fresno, CA 93704-4832; phone (559) 224-0544; e-mail [email protected].

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