Shorthand still essential for journalism career, says Guardian readers' editor

The Guardian’s Chris Elliott told delegates at the NCTJ shorthand seminar on Friday it is vital for journalism students to achieve 100 wpm to give them the best possible start in the industry.

Chris, who is readers’ editor at The Guardian and chairman of the NCTJ accreditation board, said: “Most mainstream employers insist on 100 wpm as it makes students more able to do the job at the pace required and is a means of sifting through the large number of applicants. It also shows that students are serious about journalism and committed to being the best. 

“Tutors teaching on accredited courses have told us it is sometimes difficult to motivate students to attend classes and to concentrate on speed building. We want to work with shorthand tutors to encourage students to achieve the gold standard in shorthand and re-establish the connection with journalism.”

Two NCTJ students were presented with the Ryman Shorthand Award for outstanding results in shorthand at the seminar which was held at Mary Ward House in London. Both students are currently studying at the University of Sunderland.

Daniel Prince, who is completing a BA in Sports Journalism, won the award for 110 wpm and Padraig Whelan, also on the Sports Journalism course, won the award for 100 wpm.

Daniel said: “I am delighted to have won this award, and would like to thank my shorthand tutors Susan Pickering and Elaine Hunt-Vincent for all their help and perseverance. I feel shorthand is an invaluable skill that has already reaped dividends for me, and I am extremely happy to have achieved 110 wpm."

Padraig added: “I was very surprised to win the award but also very happy that it is recognised when you work hard to improve at something. Shorthand isn't easy but it’s a key skill and I wanted to make sure I achieved it.”

Both awards consisted of certificates and cheques for £250. Richard Bennett, chief operating officer at Ryman, said: “The needs of students are always top of mind at Ryman. Shorthand is an amazingly valuable skill to have in today’s fast moving business world. We know students rely on Ryman to support them throughout their studies providing discounts and deals on stationery, printing and binding nationwide through more than 230 retail stores and online at”

Photo: Padraig Whelan, Chris Elliott, Daniel Prince


Padraig Whelan, Chris Elliott and Daniel Prince

Award winners with Susan Pickering, shorthand tutor, University of Sunderland


Photo: Award winners with Susan Pickering, shorthand tutor, University of Sunderland