The NCTJ becomes the new home of Teeline shorthand

The National Council for the Training of Journalists has become the new home of Teeline shorthand, as the charity takes over the copyright from the Teeline Royalties Partnership.

To mark the charity’s 70th anniversary, the move will effectively bring Teeline out of copyright 20 years early and make it available for the public benefit to support journalism training and standards.

The NCTJ will be removing licence fees to provide free access for the commercial use of Teeline outlines by all shorthand trainers and journalism training providers.

Joanne Butcher, chief executive of the NCTJ, said: “I am delighted the Teeline Royalties Partnership has chosen to transfer the intellectual rights of Teeline to the NCTJ.

“This is not being done by the NCTJ for any financial gain and payments for licences will be removed to benefit our commercial providers and trainers. We want to encourage as much shorthand training as possible to help students and trainees master this important and challenging skill.

“It also gives the NCTJ the freedom to publish the Teeline books of its choice and more training materials on our new Journalism Skills Academy e-learning platform.

“I think this is the perfect way to celebrate the NCTJ’s 70th anniversary.”

Teeline was invented by James Hill, who was born near Bradford in 1908 and qualified as a teacher of Pitman shorthand by the age of 21. Determined to create a quicker and more straightforward method of teaching shorthand, Hill began experimenting as early as 1939, and in 1968 the system was recommended to the NCTJ.

In November 1968, NCTJ shorthand consultant Harry Butler wrote: “We have on our hands a shorthand breakthrough which should solve longstanding shorthand problems. I have never known a shorthand system that can produce such good results in so short a time.”

Today, Teeline shorthand remains an invaluable skill for all journalists and continues to be taught and examined by the NCTJ.

Nicky Brownrigg, who has administrated Teeline for the Hill family since the 1990s, said: “James Hill’s grandchildren have said he would be delighted the NCTJ recognise that, even after 50 years, Teeline is still the easiest shorthand to learn. As he was such an innovator, they know he would approve of the NCTJ’s plans to update training materials, making Teeline relevant to current and future journalists.

“The partners are delighted that the NCTJ has taken ownership of Teeline. We believe that the NCTJ is a great home for Teeline, as it is perfectly placed to improve educational materials and promote Teeline to trainee journalists.

“We admire the NCTJ’s generous decision take Teeline out of copyright, as this will enable a much wider audience to enjoy the benefits of using Teeline shorthand.

“We believe Teeline will flourish under the care of the NCTJ and wish them and Teeline users all the best for the future.”

Throughout the week, the NCTJ will be running shorthand themed quizzes on its social media channels. Students past and present are also encouraged to share their shorthand and other NCTJ certificates using #myNCTJ as part of its anniversary celebrations.