Sheffield Talking News (STN) is a registered charity, producing up to 250 USB memory sticks each week containing local news. These are then distributed to our registered clients throughout the city - anyone who is blind, visually impaired, or unable to read a newspaper as a result of disability.
STN was founded in 1988 and resides at the Sheffield Royal Society for the Blind (SRSB). We are a completely independent charity, registration number 1001700 and are affiliated with the national Talking News Federation. We record the news on a weekly basis in our custom built studio and edit and copy it onto USB memory sticks which are then distributed to our listeners free of charge under the Royal Mail’s Articles For The Blind concession. It arrives on the doorstep in a bright yellow padded postal wallet. All we ask is that listeners flip the address label over and return the memory stick to us each week so we can reuse it. If you don’t have access to a computer, laptop or other device which will accept a USB stick then you can purchase a small boombox from the Sheffield Royal Society for the Blind (SRSB).
More conveniently, if you have the equipment, you can listen to STN via the Listen page on our website on your computer, laptop, TV, iPad, smart phone, or through the BFWB SONATA service or Amazon's Alexa. You can also hear us as a podcast, eg on iTunes. These methods are also free, but standard charges apply to our telephone service on 0114 383 0345.
We have arrangements with the Sheffield Star, Sheffield Telegraph and Yorkshire Post to include their content, which we also use to create a quarterly audio magazine.
With so many memory sticks to produce each week, our production process and distribution has to be organised effectively. We have around 60 volunteers who work on a rota, giving a few hours of their time every few weeks. On a Monday morning we receive returned memory sticks, which are delivered by Royal Mail to our offices in Mappin Street. On Monday evenings one of our editors delivers the week's chosen articles which are distributed to the team of four readers, who get to work. The next day, a team of duplication and dispatch volunteers arrive to update all the memory sticks, which are then loaded into delivery pouches, ready for collection later in the day. Our clients usually receive their packages on a Thursday.
"We're not BBC news readers and we don't try to pretend to be," said our chairman, Mary Callaghan. "We are, after all, trying to record local news for local listeners, and want it to feel conversational, rather than presented."
STN also produces recordings for organisations including Sheffield Royal Society for the Blind, South Yorkshire Funding Advice Bureau, Sheffield Homes, Sheffield Care Trust, and Sheffield City Council (see Other Services). This work, along with individual donations, allows STN to continue to provide its service at no cost to its listeners.
You can read a more detailed account of our history, written by founding member and current chairman Mary Callaghan.
Read the latest news about our organisation and volunteers. You can also read the Trustees' report to the 2021 Annual General Meeting