Matthew Scott Moore

Rochester, N.Y., Saturday, June 2, 1984


‘Deaf Magazine’ is one man’s dream come true

By Margaret Graham-Smith


Matthew Moore had a dream. He wanted to make a TV program for the deaf by the deaf. He wanted to touch what he calls "the hidden community" with helpful information, success stories and entertainment and he wanted those blessed with hearing to we it too, to understand the silent world.

He was told it wouldn’t sell.

He was told it would be too tough to pull off.

He was told it would be too expensive.

He didn’t pay attention.

He knew and understood the warnings. But the 25-year-old graduate of Rochester Institute of Technology held tight to his dream and made it happen.

He got funding for the program from the National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID) and RIT. And over the last year, Moore, who is deaf, assembled a crew of eight, some hearing and some deaf, and wrote, taped and edited a half-hour program that looks better than some local professional productions.

Deaf Magazine, the first locally produced program specifically for the hearing impaired community, debuts at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, June 23 on WOKR-TV (Channel 13).

On the Air recently previewed the show at NTID, at Moore’s invitation.

It’s a fast-moving, newsy show, with slick musical transitions between the stories, a jazzy logo and a patina of professionalism.

The first feature, a look at the Hi-Line Relay Service, is perhaps geared more to the hearing viewers who may have wondered how the hearing impaired manage to use the telephone to communicate with hearing people.

Hi-Line operators relay verbal messages to the hearing while communicating with the deaf on teletype machines, called TTYs.

The program also includes a moving profile of the Rev. Ray Fleming, a deaf priest at St. Rita Church, Webster, who candidly admits missing his deaf "culture," and says that churches have failed to properly incorporate sign language in their services.

There’s a look at GeVa Theater’s program that provides on-stage interpreters for the deaf audience and a story on RIT swimmer Karl Wilbanks.

MOORE, WHO HAS set himself up as an independent filmmaker with a studio called Dark Horse Productions, produced and hosts the program with the ease and expressiveness of a pro. He uses American Sign Language while Michael Levy and Ellie Rosenfield of the NTID narrate off-camera for the hearing audience.

At times, captions, lean and clean, are inserted at the bottom of the screen, but they’re unobtrusive and faithful to the spare narration.

A hearing viewer comes away from the production with a renewed respect and understanding for the achievements of Moore’s "hidden community," and for Moore’s professional TV sense.

Channel 13 made the air time available but is not paying Moore for the effort. "Right now, I want to test my skills," Moore says, through sign language interpreted by NTID’s Lori Reed. "I want the credibility that comes from having a program on commercial television. I want people to see that I can do this."

Moore is approaching major corporations for $177,000 in funding to produce a series of six more Deaf Magazine programs, which would require travel to gather features on a deaf ballerina in New York City, a deaf football player for the USFL’s Jacksonville Bulls, and more.

"I want to use this magnificent communicator, TV, to reach our ‘’hidden community’ and to help the bearing community understand our needs," he says.

He’s already done that-with his first installment of Deaf Magazine.


Deaf Magazine producer Matthew Moore at Upstate Production Services where his unique, independently made show was edited. That’s Moore’s image on the TV monitor, hosting the program in sign language. (Photo: Eric Marshall/Times-Union)

Times-Union, Rochester, N.Y, Saturday, June 2,1984

Reprinted by permission of Rochester Democrat & Chronicle

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