This week marks the 40th anniversary of the world’s first captioned news program, which went to air on America’s PBS network at 11pm on 3 December 1973.
Today, news bulletins around the world are routinely captioned using a number of different techniques. Live elements of a program are captioned by ‘stenocaptioners’ who use a stenographic keyboard, or by captioners using speech recognition software. These techniques did not exist in 1973, so the first captioned bulletin, called The Captioned ABC Evening News, was a repeat of the bulletin that had gone to air at 6 pm. This gave a team of six captioners time to prepare the captions for broadcast.