The Academy For Disabled Journalists

Well, you may be wondering why Burley Fudge Shop has a blog post about The Academy For Disabled Journalists, journalism and accessibility. 

This week I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Terri Shanahan. Terri is a student with The Academy for Disabled Journalists, she also loves The New Forest, Burley and Fudge! and it goes without saying our first meeting was at the Fudge Shop where Teri was a customer. Approximately half an hour after our initial meeting Terri came back and asked if I would help with her assignment, I was delighted to say yes!

The Academy For Disabled Journalists – Background

A little background, Terri clearly has a love for tourism and in fact, once worked for Disney in Florida she has recently been volunteering for an organisation called Ability Today whose founder Grant Logan is focused on what can be done rather than what can’t. 

Ability Today applied for lottery funding to create The Academy for Disabled Journalists which subsequently was approved by the National Council For Training of Journalists. 

This is the first year of the first course which includes about 10 students all with varying abilities. The course needs to be highly tailored. Some of the participants are partially sighted, hard of hearing or have speech difficulties.

Teri’s assignment was to write an article. The article should be about the effect of COVID 19 on local tourism. It should also cover the support offered to local businesses. Finally, the steps being taken to manage the business through the lockdown and beyond.

The Interview

In practice, Terri set up a recorded telephone interview with me. We discussed at length my current pet topics of Burley Fudge Shop, e-commerce and how we managed through the lockdown.

I’m not quite sure who got the most value from the interview. From my own point of view, it gave me the opportunity to look back over the past 3 months.  I realised the extent of what we have achieved.  Our achievements can be summarised firstly, as having a much-improved knowledge of running an e-commerce store. Secondly, a greater understanding of how to deliver the same levels of excellent customer service online as we do in-store. Finally, a fantastic platform for approaching the remainder of the 2020 tourist season, and perhaps, an e-commerce site fit for serving the demands of a busy Christmas season.

From Terri’s point of view, I’m sure she has got some fantastic material for her article. Also, she now has some really useful tourism contacts in the local area for further articles. She commented as follows “I got so much out of today’s interview. It left me feeling positive for the remainder of the day! It was such a delightful interview”. I’m delighted that she is so pleased!

Next Steps

We also discussed some fantastic ideas for further articles. These articles would be based on accessibility in Burley. Personally I think Burley has a lot to offer in this respect. I’m optimistic that this interview and subsequent articles will be a catalyst for improving accessibility and the marketing thereof for Burley and The New Forest.

We are planning to do a further update based on Teri’s finished article.

Teri, good luck and best wishes with your studies. Also a huge thank you to Ability Today without whom The Academy For Disabled Journalists would not exist. 

Chris Tabb

About Chris Tabb

Hi, I'm Chris, proprietor of Burley Fudge. I have been making fudge with my wife Jenny and running Burley Fudge Shop since 1998. We have two fantastic children Charley & Harry and a Basset Hound called Betty!. We've lived in and around The New Forest for 30 years. In my spare time I love to go walking, running and cycling in and around the local area, and while away a few hours in the garden.