Partially deaf ABC7 photojournalist shares the challenges he faces working in news industry

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Stephen Bourque has been a news photojournalist for 16 years, 7 of those have been at ABC7 Chicago. The news industry is difficult and competitive for anyone but with only 60% of his hearing, Bourque is faced with constant challenges unique to him.

"I have a speech impediment, so it took many years of speech therapy to talk like this," Bourque said.

It wasn't until he was 6 years old that Bourque's parents discovered his loss of hearing. From then on, they made sure their son had the tools necessary so he could communicate with the world.

"My parents did not want me to rely on sign language because not everyone knows that," he said.

Over the years Bourque has become a master of lip-reading which is how he communicates with colleagues, but the pandemic has made that way of communication nearly impossible.

"It has been more difficult for Stephen when we were wearing masks because he can't read your lips and that's what he relies on," said ABC 7 Race and Culture Reporter Will Jones.

On many occasions, Bourque must rely on his intuition and years of experience instead of his hearing or sight.

"There were days where I had to do the story the best way I knew how", said Bourque.

Bourque is proud of the things he has accomplished in his career and hopes to continue working as a news photojournalist for many years to come.

"Even though I have a disability, I do what I do because I am passionate about it. I found something that I love to do and I don't let my disability keep me from doing it," he said.
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