Shorthand Week hailed a success

A week-long NCTJ campaign to promote shorthand as a vital skill for aspiring journalists to learn has been hailed a success.

Shorthand Week took place from Tuesday 10 November to Monday 16 November, and saw the launch of a new textbook, NCTJ Teeline Gold Standard for Journalists and fun shorthand events for students including a competition, which 47 students from NCTJ accredited courses have entered.

The week also saw the importance of shorthand as a skill discussed across national and regional media from Radio 4’s Today programme to The Bournemouth Daily Echo.

Marie Cartwright, NCTJ chief examiner for shorthand and author of the textbook NCTJ Teeline Gold Standard for Journalists, said: “It has been wonderful to acknowledge and celebrate shorthand as the vital skill that we all know it to be in the world of journalism.

“Shorthand Week has brought additional enthusiasm and desire to learn and succeed at all stages - from beginner to 100 wpm and beyond.”

Shorthand week culminated in a champagne reception to launch NCTJ Teeline Gold Standard for Journalists, at the Society of Editors’ conference at the Stansted Radisson Hotel on Monday 16 November.

Kim Fletcher, NCTJ chairman, thanked Marie for all her hard work. He was joined in congratulating the author by other delegates who enjoyed a glass of champagne provided by Pearson, publisher of the new textbook.

Kim was interviewed on the increasing importance of shorthand in a digital world by John Humphrys and Justin Webb on Radio 4’s Today programme.

In answer to the question ‘is shorthand still a core competency for journalists’ posed by Justin Webb, Kim Fletcher answered: “It is more necessary than ever.”

Kim said: “It is practical, if you have a shorthand note you can find the quote very quickly. If you have a tape recorder or a digital recorder you have an hour of tape to go through, but if you go in there with a shorthand note, you can find a quote straight away.

“The other thing about learning shorthand is it demonstrates a real dedication to the craft. Take the trouble to learn shorthand it suggests you are serious about things.”

The full interview can still be heard on the Radio 4 website and it has also been placed as a podcast on the ‘Best of Today’ page at http://www.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/series/today/all

Members of the NCTJ shorthand board put together learning resources which are now on the NCTJ website www.nctj.com such as how to hold a shorthand race, a shorthand crossword and an article about James Hill, the inventor of Teeline shorthand.

NCTJ accredited centres across the country used these resources to host fun events for students.

Eleanor Bryans, shorthand tutor on NCTJ accredited courses at Glasgow Caledonian University and the University of Strathclyde, said: “During Shorthand Week I have been further emphasising the need for shorthand for journalists. I have given my students the handout from editors, origins of Teeline shorthand and also practising journalists’ comments about the invaluable use of shorthand.”

NCTJ Teeline Gold Standard for Journalists by Marie Cartwright is available from the NCTJ's online shop. Discounts are available for bulk orders.