Rachel Bartlett is editor of Journalism.co.uk, where the news team report on new trends in, and approaches to, digital journalism, in a bid to highlight examples of good practice and innovation in the industry.
Rachel started at Journalism.co.uk in June 2010 as a news reporter, and worked her way through the ranks of senior reporter and news editor before becoming editor. Journalism.co.uk has an editorial team of three in total, consisting of Rachel, technology editor Abigail Edge and news reporter Alastair Reid. The team behind Journalism.co.uk also run the news:rewired digital journalism conference, which takes place two or three times a year in London.
“I studied multimedia journalism at Bournemouth University from 2007 to 2010. My decision was driven by the fact that I was keen to ensure I entered the industry with a range of skills across media platforms, including newspapers, magazines, television, radio and online, and the ability to study for, and take, her NCTJ exams at the same time.
“I went to university fairly open-minded about what area of the industry I wanted to go into, and the variety of the course helped guide me in terms of which areas I was most interested in.
"The areas of the NCTJ that I felt would be most important for my future career was probably the legal training, and shorthand, but public affairs ended up being the most surprising in terms of how much I enjoyed it. It really helped me gain a better understanding of the political scene in the UK and other countries across the world."
“Shorthand became a bit of a battle for me. Despite passing previous exams first-time-round, the 100 wpm test became a challenge as I battled against my nerves, even trying hypnotherapy at one point to help stay calm!
"My hands would shake so much that just keeping hold of my pen was enough of a challenge, let alone getting down the symbols legibly and at any sort of speed!
"In the end, my shorthand teacher suggested I try taking a dual exam which started with a 110 wpm test, immediately followed by a 100 wpm, in the hope that my nerves would have calmed down by the time we reached 100 wpm. And thankfully, it worked!
"There's much argument today about whether shorthand is still necessary. It may not always be essential thanks to dictaphones and mobiles, but such technology may not always be available, or allowed (such as in court) or in fact, work!
"And sometimes an unexpected opportunity presents itself for an interview, and therefore having shorthand available can certainly help you seize that opportunity more seamlessly. And it's always a worry off your mind to know you can fall back on it. So if I was starting my training again today, I would still want to learn it.
"But while passing the NCTJ arguably helps to demonstrate that you can reach certain standards in your reporting, I would also stress the huge importance of also gaining real industry experience, being able to demonstrate a proactive attitude in finding original, relevant stories, and show some digital prowess and awareness of the different ways people are finding and consuming journalism today."