Producing newspapers

Digital service for visually impaired

The Association of Swedish Talking Newspapers in Finland

The Association of Swedish Talking Newspapers in Finland (Finlands svenska taltidningsförening, FSTF) was founded in 2013 as part of an initiative to standardize the production and distribution systems for 10 accessible newspapers available to Swedish-language speakers in Finland.    

The need for a new production system

For over 30 years, volunteers created the majority of the accessible newspapers for Swedish-language speakers in Finland through manual processing, but the number of such volunteers decreased steadily. Together with FSTF, Pratsam created a system for the production of accessible newspapers in the DAISY format using speech synthesis.

The production is automated, with DTBook or Microsoft Office Word 2003 XML document file formats used as a source for Pratsam Producer. After the production phase the finished DAISY product is sent to the Pratsam Server for distribution.  

Graphical overview of the usage of Pratsam Producer in relation to accessible newspapers

View the graphics in more detail by clicking here

Support for different document file formats

The new production system (Pratsam Producer) includes functions for the import of XML and PDF files from daily newspapers and for the processing of such. The system also creates quality reports from XML material and exports, in several different file formats, for manual or automatic processing.  

Another production method developed for FSTF is based on web scraping, which means that the system continually logs in and fetches the latest articles from newspaper websites and produces talking newspapers in the DAISY-format several times per day from the updated content.

Modernization of the distribution system

When supplying the new Pratsam Server distribution system, FSTF offers subscribers the ability to play accessible newspapers through common web browsers, on computers using Microsoft Windows software or on other players that support DAISY Online, such as apps for smartphones and smart speakers.

Accessible newspapers can also be downloaded in the DAISY format.   

The benefits of the Pratsam system

In the special system developed for FSTF, Pratsam has automated several manual steps in the production of accessible newspapers, thereby saving the association the direct payroll costs previously associated with the manual processing of newspaper text.

The system has also resulted in increased reliability and quality in relation to the finished product, in that automation minimizes the risk for manual errors.