DTN LOGODacorum Talking Newspaper - Acronym is DTN
Queen's Award For Voluntary Service

Winners of the Queen's Award 2005


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ABOUT THE DTN and Dacorum

The DACORUM TALKING NEWSPAPER is a Registered charity (Number 273819) and is distributed in the Dacorum area in west Hertfordshire.

Maintenance of our equipment costs approximately 1,000 each year. We have over 80 volunteers. The service is free, as is the postage to any visually impaired person. The charity is entirely dependent on voluntary donations. It has no permanent sponsorship from any local authority or industry.
The Dacorum Talking Newspaper is available to visit your Club or group to illustrate the work of our charity with blind people. It includes a slide show depicting our work, the various forms of sight loss and the many aids available to make life easier for blind people. We do not charge for the presentation but would hope to receive a donation towards our Charity. For more information or to book please contact the Secretary on 01442 217918 or by e-mail by clicking here .

Donations are always very welcome and we are grateful for any we receive. Any individual tax payer making a donation to the DTN could also donate part of his income tax to us. For details click here for a gift aid form.

The name 'Dacorum' comes from the "Hundred of Dacorum" one of the ancient administrative units of Hertfordshire. It is probably a latinised version of the Anglo Saxon word for Danish. In October 1984 the Council was granted borough status and became Dacorum Borough Council.
Dacorum covers 81 square miles of West Hertfordshire where it borders with Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire. It extends Northwest almost from Watford, along the valleys of the Gade and Bulbourne rivers to the picturesque Chiltern Hills. Dacorum consists of four main towns - Hemel Hempstead, Berkhamsted, Tring and Kings Langley together with many outlying rural villages such as Aldbury, Wigginton and Flamstead. The total population is around 138,000 of which 81,000 people live in Hemel Hempstead, 15,000 in Berkhamsted, 11,000 in Tring and around 6,000 in Kings Langley. The main lines of communication through the Borough are the A41 bypass, the A4251, the Euston to Glasgow (West Coast main line) railway and the Grand Union Canal. The M1 runs down the eastern boundary and the M25 crosses the south-eastern tip of the Borough.

How the DTN Works

On Saturday mornings a plastic pouch drops on to the doormat of visually impaired citizens in Dacorum. The Dacorum Talking Newspaper has arrived, giving an hour of audio news to those unable to read the local paper. From its early days in 1977 it has grown to a much used community resource. It is produced weekly and has a circulation of about 150.

Saturday's edition includes news from the current week's local papers, together with an information slot, which has up to date items for the visually impaired, what's on in entertainment, obituary notices and lighting up times.

All this is achieved by the well tried but unrivalled process of teamwork or, in our case, the work of several teams. There are production and editorial teams who work on a five week rota.

On Thursday mornings, three of the production team arrive at Grovehill Community Centre to deal with the 150 returned newspapers. Pouches are opened and the returned memory sticks removed for re-use, they are collated into alphabetical order, checked against the register, and stacked in readiness for the Friday morning team.

Thursday evening sees the reading team gather - four newsreaders, a recording technician, and a duty editor. The editor has culled the early editions of local papers and shaped them into an hour-long programme. As the items are read they are recorded on to a master digital copy on a computer. Shortly after recording, the digital version of the weekly paper is available on the DTN web site, and also as a Podcast. On Friday morning, another three volunteers produce 150 copies from the computer master to portable MP3 drives, commonly called memory sticks or pen drives, mark them against the register, put them into labelled pouches and then into a Royal Mail sack for delivery to the local sorting office Then, on the Saturday morning onwards our members can listen to them on the Boom Boxes we have provided or any other suitable device.

Photograph of one of the Boob Boxes, provided to DTN listeners on request.

If you would like to receive the Dacorum Talking Newspaper on memory sticks please contact us here .