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Kenny’s key role in expanding ITV service for deaf

By Fiona Reid
Annan and Eskdale

AWARD-WINNING Annan broadcast journalist Kenny Toal has moved off-screen after being appointed to a senior managerial role.

He is heading up an expanding ITV division providing services to deaf and hard-of-hearing people internationally.

The former Annan Academy pupil has been appointed operations manager with ITV Signpost, which employs around 40 people next to the network’s regional news HQ at Gateshead.

They add sign language translations for much of the output on ITV channels as well as providing a similar service to other broadcasters in the UK and beyond, including RTE in the Irish Republic.

A wide range of services include an online video library helping parents to communicate with babies and a learning tool called Signed Stories which combines a translation in sign language with children’s books, animation, illustrations and text.

ITV Signpost is also expanding websites providing news and information for people who are deaf or have limited hearing and a resource for students learning British Sign Language (BSL).

Former Annandale Observer (DnG Media) journalist Kenny was a reporter and presenter for around 16 years with ITV Tyne Tees and Border’s flagship news programmes North East Tonight and Lookaround.

He has won a series of Royal Television Society awards, is an ITV news trainer and a former MA journalism programme leader and lecturer in broadcast and online journalism at Edinburgh Napier University.

Kenny and his wife Fiona, who have three young sons, live in north east England.

He this week explained he was enjoying the challenges of management and gaining a wide insight into needs of deaf and hard of hearing people.

“I will always have a passion for journalism but after 20 years I thought I was ready to take up an opportunity like this,” said Kenny, who is learning sign language himself.

“We also make films for clients and have full editing and HD studio facilities where the sign language translation is added on to network programmes such as Emmerdale and Coronation Street before broadcast.”

Kenny’s parents, retired teachers Kenneth and Janet Toal, live in Annan.


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