Shorthand still a vital skill for postgraduates

Shorthand remains a vital skill for postgraduate students agreed tutors from ten accredited courses at a recent NCTJ forum.

The issue was discussed at the HE (postgraduate) forum, held at Bloomberg, London, on Friday 19th June, when forum chair Steve Panter, NCTJ board member and course leader of the MA/PgDip at the University of Salford, invited full and frank views to be aired.

Forum delegates discussed the challenge of teaching shorthand as a skill for students on post graduate courses.

Some university managers point to the cost-heavy, labour-intensive nature of teaching shorthand and question if 100wpm shorthand is still a relevant skill for postgraduate students to learn in an increasingly multi-media environment.

The forum insisted students should achieve 100wpm in shorthand and it is still a valuable skill for students to learn.

Ali Haynes, course leader of the MA Journalism, at the Leicester Centre for Journalism at De Montfort University, said: “80wpm is a viable working speed for use by journalists, but to make sure students actually use 80wpm we must encourage students to achieve at least a speed of 100wpm.”

Other items raised during the open forum were the need to include more broadcast journalists on accreditation panels for multi-media courses now accredited by the NCTJ and the marking criteria for the news writing exam.

Speaking later forum chair Steve Panter said: “I wanted a lively forum with no punches pulled and that is what we got.

“Apart from shorthand, news writing was inevitably the other area of controversy with delegates questioning marking criteria and sometimes the clarity of content of question one of the exam.

“Suggestions about the content and structure of the exam were taken away for consideration by the NCTJ. Everyone got a hearing and we ran half an hour over schedule.”

The forum was attended by representatives from Brunel University, the Leicester Centre for Journalism at De Montfort University, Glasgow Caledonian University, Kingston University, Leeds Trinity and All Saints University, Nottingham Trent University, Staffordshire University, University of Central Lancashire, University of Sheffield and University of Sunderland.

The NCTJ Private Providers’ forum will take place at the NCTJ headquarters at The New Granary, Station Road, Newport on Wednesday 8th July.