Formalizes longstanding commitment to making media accessible for people with disabilities
BOSTON (April 13, 2021) – Boston public media producer GBH has appointed Donna Danielewski, Ph.D., as Executive Director of Accessibility, reinforcing the foundation’s pioneering and ongoing commitment to accessibility for people with disabilities. Danielewski has been with GBH’s National Center for Accessible Media (NCAM) for 14 years and served as NCAM’s Senior Director since 2018.
As Executive Director of Accessibility, Danielewski will define strategic opportunities and a shared vision for the future of accessibility at GBH, including broadcast and digital productions, partnerships, events, and communications. As part of the GBH senior leadership team, Danielewski will partner with Yemisi Oloruntola-Coates, GBH’s incoming Chief Inclusion and Equity Officer, building on a foundation of accessibility at GBH and integrating issues of accessibility and disability into the larger discourse of diversity and equity.
“GBH invented closed captioning in 1972 and has been pioneering accessible technologies for more than four decades,” said GBH President and CEO Jon Abbott. “Disability access is a core element of our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, and we look forward to furthering our efforts through Donna’s experience and expertise.”
GBH has been providing accessible media services to the 36 million Americans who are deaf, hard of hearing, blind or visually impaired viewers, not just who consume our media, but for institutions and events across the country, including the Super Bowl, Oscar-nominated films and every State of the Union address.
“I look forward to collaborating across the organization and with community partners to proactively bring accessibility and visibility for disability issues to the forefront,” said Danielewski. “Making programs inclusive has always been central to GBH’s work. This new role places renewed emphasis and resources behind that commitment, and reflects GBH’s mission to foster the power of diverse perspectives.”
NCAM has led the industry for more than two decades, making digital media accessible for people with disabilities with groundbreaking technologies, as well as setting industry-wide guidelines and best practices. Among the resources developed by NCAM are its free downloadable Caption and Description Editing Tool (CADET) and research-based guidelines for writing effective, high-quality image descriptions, which make educational content more accessible to students who are blind or have low vision.
Under Danielewski's leadership, NCAM developed into a premier accessibility consulting business, serving internal and external clients, including Fortune 500 companies, academic institutions, technology companies, media producers, government agencies, cultural institutions, airlines and more.. The NCAM team has earned numerous awards and honors, including the FCC Chairman’s Award for Advancements in Accessibility, the Barry Levine Memorial Career Achievement Award in Audio Description from the American Council for the Blind, and a 2016 Technical Emmy for NCAM’s participation (with the World Wide Web Consortium) in authoring the captioning and multimedia specification TTML (Timed Text Markup Language).
GBH is the leading multiplatform creator for public media in America. As the largest producer of content for PBS and partner to NPR and PRX, GBH delivers compelling experiences, stories and information to audiences wherever they are. GBH produces digital and broadcast programming that engages, illuminates and inspires, through drama and science, history, arts, culture and journalism. GBH is the creator of such signature programs as MASTERPIECE, ANTIQUES ROADSHOW, FRONTLINE, NOVA, AMERICAN EXPERIENCE and Arthur and Molly of Denali, as well as GBH WORLD, a catalog of streaming series, podcasts and on-demand video. With studios and a newsroom headquartered in Boston, GBH reaches across New England with GBH 89.7, Boston’s Local NPR®; CRB Classical 99.5; and CAI, the Cape and Islands NPR® station. Dedicated to making media accessible to and representative of our diverse culture, GBH is a pioneer in delivering media to audience members who are deaf, hard of hearing, blind and visually impaired. With PBS LearningMedia, GBH creates curriculum- based digital content for educators nationwide. GBH’s local programming includes Boston Public Radio, Greater Boston, Stories from the Stage, Open Studio with Jared Bowen, Basic Black and High School Quiz Show. GBH has been recognized with hundreds of the nation’s premier broadcast, digital and journalism awards.