The Daily Show’s Secret? Accessibility Technology

Jared Spool

April 10th, 2012

At this year’s SxSW conference, a panel with the Daily Show With Jon Stewart’s executive producer Rory Albanese revealed insight into a use for accessibility technology we’d never thought of.

If you go to enough discussions on accessibility, you’ll hear about this old chestnut: Cuts in the sidewalk curbs, put in for wheelchair access, is also used by people without disabilities, like folks with baby strollers and shopping carts. The idea being that accessibility aids add value to everyone’s experience, when designed well.

Well, in a panel about the secrets of comedy writing, Rory revealed one of the tricks they use for finding all those old pieces of footage that show politicians saying things they probably now regret. It turns out it’s an accessibility aid that’s come to the rescue.

The Daily Show’s staff takes advantage of a software application that searches the text from closed captioning of CSPAN and news programs to find keywords and phrases. The closed captioning, originally designed for the deaf and those with hearing issues, is now used by the staff’s team to provide us with some of the best comedy (and, frankly, investigative journalism) on television.

Who would’ve thought?

One Response to “The Daily Show’s Secret? Accessibility Technology”

  1. Arlene Romoff Says:

    That is music to my cochlear implanted deaf ears. All the videos on my website are captioned, which allows those words to be searched as well.

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