CAPTION THIS: A CONTENT ANALYSIS OF LOCAL NEWS CLOSED CAPTIONING
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Because of the Americans with Disabilities Act, accommodations have been made to allow for better access to buildings, services, and information. Raised bumps on a sidewalk at an intersection allow for blind pedestrians to know where they are and the different noises that the crosswalk signs make also signal for them to know when they can cross. Ramps next to stairs allow for persons in wheelchairs to be able to access the same area without having to battle going up stairs. In the same need for accessibility, closed captioning allows D/deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals to have access to auditory information, but there is a problem: D/deaf and hard-of hearing individuals find closed captioning to be full of errors and distractions. For this study, content analysis was used to analyze closed captioning on local news broadcasts across three stations during a one-week period. The results of the content analysis of those 21 newscasts revealed that, on average, almost four closed captioning errors occurred every minute. Shannon and Weaver’s communication model indicates that noise and distractions, in this case the errors in the closed captioning, interfere and even change the message viewers are receiving. The data gathered support the need for a higher standard when it comes to closed captioning for local broadcast news.