An accessible news magazine has helped to double the number of its readers with learning disabilities that are engaged in current affairs in the year since its launch, a survey has found.
When disability charity United Response launched Easy News at the beginning of 2013, only 37% of subscribers said they could name a recent big news event. A year on and that figure has grown to 73%.
The survey of 3,000 subscribers also found that 90% of Easy News readers found the magazine easier to understand than more traditional newspapers and TV news sources. Although the majority of people with learning disabilities still regard television as their primary source of news, more than half of those surveyed said Easy News keeps them up-to-date; with only 40% citing newspapers as their main source.
United Response’s director of communications and fundraising, Diane Lightfoot, said: “Easy News started out with a single aim, to make news accessible for the thousands of people with learning disabilities who found themselves excluded from the debate, simply because information wasn’t being presented to them in an easy to understand way.
“A year on and the stats speak for themselves. More and more people are turning to Easy News to help them stay informed and have a much better understanding of the news as a result.
“From the very beginning Easy News has tried to tackle the complex stories of the day. Some of these have been difficult and even upsetting to translate, but their inclusion in the magazine is vital in order for our readers to stay informed.”
“But there is still a long way to go for Easy News. We are contacted after each edition with suggestions from readers on how we can improve the magazine and make it even more relevant. It’s an organic process, with our readers shaping how they want their magazine to look.”