Dawn Colclasure's Blog

Author and poet Dawn Colclasure

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

So long, SIGNews

The April 2012 issue of SIGNews -- the very last issue.

In the latter part of 2003, I joined the writing team for a newspaper called SIGNews. I soon learned this was a “new” newspaper that was specifically for the deaf/hard-of-hearing community – or, as the staff like to say, for “the signing community.” Its publisher is the Communication Service for the Deaf. I was thrilled to not only be a part of this team but also to have an article in the very first issue of SIGNews.

Sadly, I also have an article – actually, two articles – in what this month is the very last issue of SIGNews.

I was in the first issue and now I am in the last.

Earlier this year, the EIC of SIGNews, Jennifer Dans-Willey, informed us that SIGNews might be shutting down. They MIGHT change to an online-only newspaper or they MIGHT start up again in the future. But it definitely looked like SIGNews would soon be no more.

Not too long after this, she informed us that, yes, it was true. SIGNews was indeed going to shut down.

After I received this news, I kept writing for the paper, holding on to the hope that maybe they would change their minds. I even sent emails asking if there could be another way to keep SIGNews alive – ANY way, really – but my emails were ignored.

It just seemed to me that it didn’t matter if people offered to help. If I was a millionaire, I’d pour money into keeping SIGNews alive. If I knew computer programming, I’d volunteer to keep it alive online. If I had enough experience and credentials, I’d volunteer to be the new editor and manage things – JUST so we could all keep SIGNews alive!

But it seemed like The Powers That Be didn’t want to keep it alive. Their minds were made up to bring SIGNews to an end.

I have shed many tears over this and have grieved in private. I really grew to love this newspaper – and not just writing for it. It has really served a valuable role in the deaf community. It has really been a major VOICE for so many deaf and hard-of-hearing people worldwide. It has been THE major print newspaper for the deaf!

And now it won’t be anymore. The deaf used to have a major print newspaper we could all take pride in. Now we don’t anymore.

I am deeply saddened that SIGNews has come to an end. I am, of course, grateful I got to be a part of it. I am grateful to Jennifer for being my editor, to Raymond Luczak for recruiting me in the very beginning, and, most of all, to Communication Service for the Deaf for even bringing out SIGNews at all.

Thank you for SIGNews. Thank you for giving the deaf and hard-of-hearing a voice. Thank you to everyone who subscribed to it, read it and sent me emails about it.

We, the deaf and hard-of-hearing, will press on even if we no longer have that voice in the newspaper world anymore. Even so, we will miss everything that SIGNews did for us and meant to us.

RIP, SIGNews. It was a good run.

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  • At 4:46 PM , Blogger Unknown said...

    Oh no! I'm SO sorry to hear this! *hugs*

  • At 6:03 AM , Blogger Dawn Wilson said...

    Thank you. This is very upsetting. This newspaper was SO important, and I know it was important to a lot of deaf people I knew, too. I am also a little angry that they shut it down like this. *hugs back*


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