Captioning the Obama Inaugural


VITAC to caption massive TV coverage

PITTSBURGH, Jan. 19, 2009 – On Jan. 20 America will be watching the Inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States. While many will descend upon our nation’s capital, most will follow the events via an unprecedented scope of broadcast television coverage. VITAC is proud to be part this historic event, providing realtime closed captioning to millions of viewers across 24 national networks and local stations.

Due to the remarkable nature of this event, many networks, including ABC, BBC America, BET, CNN, Headline News, NBC, MSNBC, Telemundo and TV One are among those offering expanded news coverage, with VITAC captioning. Nearly 120 VITAC captioners, engineers, and production coordinators will be involved in bringing the experience to the 10 percent of all viewers who are deaf or hard of hearing.

Adding captions to a live broadcast requires in-depth advanced research, engineering expertise, split-second thinking and nerves of steel on the part of the captioner. “With a high-profile event such as this, you can almost feel the millions of eyes watching with anticipation,” says VITAC captioner Karla Ray, who will be captioning on January 20. “It feels like an out-of-body experience at times, and sometimes you just have to let your fingers take over and remember to breathe.”

VITAC provided similar concurrent services on election night, with zero loss of captioning or technical interruption. “We’re looking forward to providing the same flawless coverage on a larger scale Inauguration Day,” said Patricia A. Prozzi, President of VITAC. “We know that millions of deaf and hard-of-hearing viewers are relying on us to bring them complete coverage of President-Elect Obama’s address and all the events of this historic day-and we are ready.”