A couple of weeks ago I wrote to a new site about their entertainment coverage. I’d written to them before, without answer, but was moved to do so again. The issue was that when they reported on upcoming events that we wanted to attend, there was no mention of access.
The first time I wrote was because they published a review about a play happening in a performance space that I’d not heard of before but it was clear from the article that it wasn’t typically used for performance and that part of the point of the review was how that space worked for the telling the story within the play. I tried to get information about that spaces accessibility and was unable to do so. So, I wrote.
I suggested that as the reviewer of the play could have easily put into the review the specifics regarding accessibility. I mean it doesn’t take training to notice a flat entrance and an accessible loo. But no one answered. I was annoyed but it’s not like that was the first time a letter of mine has been filed under ‘g’.
This time I was writing because the same new site has weekly listings of events. I wanted to know if the person writing that column could include access information. Again, it seemed like a natural thing to do to let readers know if everyone can get in and everyone can go pee. I expected nothing but I received a response from the writer of the weekly listings who was interested in talking to me about access. He stated, right off, that he’d like to try and meet the request of providing access information, suggested that there was a learning curve that he’d have to master and said that he might contact me for further information. I was beyond good with all of that.
I heard from him again yesterday and he told me that his next listing would be ‘light’ on accessibility because he didn’t find much information from Facebook pages or websites about access. He realized he was going to have to do more digging. I wrote him back and said that there was the big “ah ha” … it’s not easy to get the information, that’s why him doing what he’s doing, in digging and getting that information is so important.
You know it’s nice when someone says, I want to do what you asked, I need to learn how to do it and then follows up with an ‘I’m trying’ … and with a statement of discovery – “this is actually a barrier.” So good on him and good on the website.
I’m not naming him or the site now because I don’t want to shine a light on his attempts without his permission but I will ask him after he’s mastered the art of accessibility reporting. I think that this kind of effort demonstrates a true commitment to both personal growth but also to diversity.
I don’t think one comes without the other.