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Students rewarded for 'priceless' shorthand skill

Two journalists came away £250 richer from a seminar organsised by the National Council for the Training of Journalists by winning its annual shorthand prizes.

The Reading Post’s Chine Mbubaegbu, top left, won the best shorthand note and transcription at 100wpm, ahead of embarking on a new job later this month with the Crown Prosecution Service magazine, in London.

She said: “It was a lovely surprise, winning the award. Shorthand is an invaluable tool for a reporter and I would be lost without it.”

Jo Carter, bottom left, who studied the fast-track course at News Associates in London earlier this year, won the 120wpm prize.

She said: “I’m delighted to have won the award. It’s a real honour and I would like to thank my shorthand tutor Angela Catto, who helped me reach 100wpm in just over three months, and gave me a huge amount of support.”

During the seminar, Swindon Advertiser editor Dave King said recent technological developments had made shorthand an even more “priceless” skill.

“With the immediacy of publishing online to multiple daily deadlines, the need for a swift and accurate note has returned,” he said.

“You haven’t got time to rewind your tape. Editors want journalists equipped with shorthand and in an age which is as litigious as ever, it is vital I can have confidence in my staff being able to go out on assignments and to take an accurate note.

“Shorthand is an essential part of a journalist’s armoury.”

Marie Cartwright, chair of the NCTJ Shorthand Board and chief examiner, outlined plans to modernise and update the shorthand exam to reflect current industry practice, during the event in London.

Last year’s Journalism Skills Survey highlighted the need for change, but reinforced the industry view that shorthand remains a core skill for all journalists.