Blindskills Suspends Publication of DIALOGUE Magazine After 57 Years and 236 Issues

Blindskills Board President John C. Pleasants recently sent the following letter to all readers of DIALOGUE Magazine:

I am very sad to have to tell you that, as of June 2019, we have been forced to suspend publication of our beloved DIALOGUE Magazine. As you probably know, DIALOGUE has lately been faced with some big challenges, such as the retirement of our Editor and our longtime office assistant; but I can assure you that there is only one thing that could cause us to even consider taking the step of suspending publication and that one thing is a serious shortage of funding.

There was a time, somewhat before I joined the Blindskills Board just over ten years ago when the organization had a small reserve to draw on in times of crisis. But the reserve was gradually used up to keep DIALOGUE going along with the other important work of Blindskills.

More recently--Over the past year--we have had increasing difficulty in meeting the cost of producing DIALOGUE; four of the past five issues were paid for by donors, who stepped forward at the last minute, once we quietly made them aware of the seriousness of the situation.

In late May, with only a small amount of remaining operating funds, we were faced with a difficult choice--continue to publish until nothing was left and Blindskills was completely closed down, or pause and regroup in the hope of restarting publication at some later time.

Faced with that dilemma, the Blindskills board has voted to suspend publication of DIALOGUE "until such time as financial resources are in place to resume publication on an orderly basis. At this time, Blindskills inc. is the only authorized publisher of DIALOGUE and no other entity has been authorized to publish anything whatsoever using the name "DIALOGUE a world of ideas for visually impaired people of all ages".

I dearly wish I could tell you if or when that time might come. If it does, it will be our joy to contact all current DIALOGUE subscribers to let you know that DIALOGUE is a living, breathing publication once again. For now, I can only say that it has been a privilege to be part of a one-of-a-kind magazine that has brought together so many people and shared so many ideas for living as a person with limited sight. In this electronic age where old-fashioned written publications seem to be getting more scarce every day, we can all take some pride in having helped this magazine live its rich and interesting existence for 57 wonderful years.

Financial worries have threatened to stop our work on several occasions, and quite a number of you have stepped up at those moments to help us keep going. For that, you have our everlasting gratitude and the knowledge that several issues of DIALOGUE got published because of your decision to get involved.

While there is no way I can thank everyone individually, I do want to mention at least a few of the people who have put something of themselves into this DIALOGUE. Camille Caffarelli, who directs our publishing organization Horizons for the Blind, has literally added years of life to the magazine through her generosity and the work of her knowledgeable and dedicated staff. Our Executive Director Marja Byers, who is so gifted when it comes to encouraging and inspiring people with ongoing sight loss, has found hundreds of ways to use the information in DIALOGUE to enrich lives and spark creativity. Julia Cobb, a reader in West Virginia, went far out of her way back when we were first developing our DAISY audio edition on a cartridge. She helped us test the materials and helped us develop the special wording that is read at the beginning of each cartridge. Paula Kimbrough has been one of the many volunteers who have helped make the magazine possible in so many ways. Paula took charge of the move when we had to relocate our office quickly back in 2009; thanks to her system of colored stickers marking all the hundreds of boxes from the archives, we never lost a single carton. Phyllis Schmidt, our longtime office assistant single-handedly replaced what used to be four staff members back in the days when DIALOGUE was published in Illinois. It has been Phyllis's voice most readers heard on the phone when checking their subscriptions or asking for articles from past issues. Our Editor, B.T. Kimbrough says Phyllis will be much harder to replace than the editor, and I think he may very well be correct. How could I not thank B.T. Kimbrough? As executive Director before Marja, he brought me on the Blindskills Board and has been a great help to me by being willing to take on being the editor of Dialogue, becoming Secretary of the Board after he stepped down as Executive Director and is a great friend and advisor.

I would also like to thank the Board of Directors who have supported our efforts with their dedication and help with several fundraisers over the years.

Most of all, I want to thank our literally hundreds of writers who have literally made DIALOGUE what it is. The small payments we make for their articles haven't gone very far toward enriching anyone, but the words they gave us have frequently enriched our lives, our knowledge and our sense of community in countless ways. I have no dramatic words of closure. I can only offer a sincere thought that it has been a life-changing experience for all of us to share in this DIALOGUE of ours over these many years and a fervent hope that another chapter of that experience might lie somewhere out there in the future.


John C. Pleasants President Blindskills Board of Directors