Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Captioning on CNN.com? Not quite

It's been a long-time frustration to me that CNN.com doesn't provide captioned videos. In February 2012 CNN was arguing that being required to provide captioning infringes on CNN's right to free speech. So imagine my surprise and pleasure when I went to CNN's site today to check for information about Syria–to see that CNN is now showing a CC button next to the video controls on its website. I was even able to get the captioning to turn on for a live video on CNN's front page.

Unfortunately, that was the only video I could find which provided captioning. I clicked several on the website, including older videos, but the rest all said there were no captioning tracks available. 

Image: the CNN video player, with the settings highlighted to show a "captions unavailable" message. In the background, a blonde girl with a grey t-shirt laughs at the camera.
Image: Anderson Cooper's show on CNN. Also showing the "Captions Unavailable" message.

This is unfortunate, because the one captioned video I saw looked incredible and integrated the captions clearly and cleanly, using a television-like style. I could imagine being able to play such videos for a bilingual classroom for Deaf and hard of hearing students and discuss current events. As it is, we're still waiting for CNN to get totally with it. CNN, make it happen! Until then, you'll get a disappointing rating.
Image: John Kerry speaking to the Senate about the Syria issue in the news in the online CNN media player. Captioning is visible in the image, and the menu is activated to show English is chosen.
One out of five clicks of half-hearted excitement for one working video. Anyone have better reports than I do?

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