Regional and national print and broadcast journalists have joined forces to highlight the importance of shorthand, following concerns over the number of students passing the 100wpm benchmark.
A video produced by BSkyB is being screened today for the first time at the National Council for the Training of Journalists shorthand seminar in London.
It was commissioned after the council’s accreditation board raised concerns about shorthand achievement, to demonstrate how important it is for students in a modern newsroom to master the skill.
It is aimed at all journalists, whether they are working in newspapers or broadcast, in news or in sport.
Laurie Tucker, day editor of Sky Sports News who co-produced the video, said shorthand was an “essential tool” for all reporters in the digital age.
“Trainees will find many more doors opening if they achieve that goal of 100 words a minute,” he said.
“This video will help course leaders promote shorthand and help candidates understand its importance. BSkyB, like many employers, now only take on those trainees who’ve shown the application and tenacity needed to pass shorthand.”
“While not an easy skill to master, achieving 100wpm demonstrates tenacity to succeed as a journalist. I would like to thank BSkyB and all of the contributors for working with us on this important project.”
The video features contributions from journalists and editors across the industry, including many from the regional press such as sports reporter Maria Hudd and head of news Dave King, both from the Eastbourne Herald.
Others include Sky News special correspondent Alex Crawford, News International editorial development director Graham Dudman, and presenter Jim White and producer Joanna Wilson from Sky Sports News.
At the seminar, held at Mary Ward House, The Guardian’s readers editor Chris Elliott – who is also the chairman of the accreditation board – told students getting that 100wpm would “give them the best possible start in the industry”.
“Tutors teaching on accredited courses have told us it is sometimes difficult to motivate students to attend classes and to concentrate on speed building,” he said.
“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 currently studying at Sunderland University were presented with the Ryman Shorthand Award for outstanding results in shorthand.
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.