How Dyrons Journal Works

The following gives an insight into how the Dyrons Journal talking newspaper service works, explaining each part of the process. A rota system ensures that the week-by-week responsibility is spread around the volunteer team.

The Team Leaders

There are four Team Leaders who take turns to manage the weekly recording process. A Team Leader starts work at our base in the Courtney Centre, Newton Abbot at about 8.45am on a Thursday morning, by collecting two copies of the Newton Abbot edition of the MDA and two of the Teignmouth Post & Gazette. They mark up each copy of the paper, allocating stories to themselves and to the two readers who will be reading with them. They take out the sports section, keeping that for themselves.

The Readers

Two readers join the Team Leader at about 9.15am. They have about 45 minutes to familiarise themselves with the stories they have been allocated. In some cases it is necessary to edit the stories to keep them to a manageable length for recording – and listening – purposes. However, we take very seriously the need not to alter the sense or the balance of any story. During this period the Team Leader edits the material for What’s On and sport, as well as their own allocated stories.

The Sound Engineers

Sound Engineers

There are three trained sound engineers. One of them arrives at about 9.45am to set up the recording equipment and prepare to start recording at about 10am. The equipment consists of a laptop with Kards 2 software, a sound mixer and headset microphones.

Once the recording starts the engineer is responsible for the sound levels and the sound quality of the recording. S/he may on occasion also add pre-recorded items.

Once the recording (lasting about 90 minutes) is completed the engineer is responsible for going through to take out errors which were made during the reading, using separate audio editing software. This takes about 30 minutes after which the sound files are converted from the wav to mp3 format in preparation for copying onto two master USB sticks.

They then use these master sticks to produce the 80 or so USB sticks which are sent out each week, using two high speed copiers which between them can copy 26 sticks at a time.

The Dispatch Team

At about 12.30 two more volunteers arrive to deal with the wallets containing the USB sticks which have been returned by listeners over the past week and to dispatch the new ones. In theory Royal Mail deliver a sack of returned wallets to the Courtney Centre so that it is waiting for the volunteers on a Thursday morning. The sack is emptied, each wallet is opened and the usb stick is put ready for the new recording. The return of each wallet is registered and provided a listener has no more than three USB sticks outstanding, they receive a copy of the latest edition.

The mail sack is re-filled and one of the volunteers takes it back to the Royal Mail Delivery Office on the other side of Newton Abbot. Later in the afternoon the sack is sent to the Sorting Office in Exeter. With any luck listeners receive their copy the following morning.