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Budding reporter has name tattooed in shorthand

A budding journalist has taken an unusual step to show her dedication to her chosen career – by having her name tattooed on her leg in shorthand.

Anneka Masih

Anneka Masih

Anneka Masih, left, is studying the MA Journalism course at Staffordshire University and wanted a permanent reminder of her training there.

So the 22-year-old, willed on by fellow students, had the shorthand for Anneka tattooed above her right ankle, pictured below, after checking with her tutor she had the right outline.

Anneka, from Hayes in Middlesex, is less than four months into the 15-month postgraduate course, which is accredited by the National Council for the Training of Journalists, and is already achieving shorthand speeds of 60 and 70 words per minute.

She said: “The tattoo has a personal and symbolic meaning to me. I think it shows my level of devotion to become a journalist, and that it is now engraved into me.

“I really liked the design. It’s also quite exciting knowing only people who have learned shorthand will understand what the symbol means – like a secret code!

Shorthand Tattoo

Shorthand Tattoo

“Shorthand is something I’m passionate about learning and mastering. My tutor has definitely helped me understand how important this skill is.

“Because it’s tattooed into me, I know pursuing my career will be the right path, and I’ll always have this outline as a reminder.”

Anneka hopes to achieve speeds of 100 wpm by Easter and her shorthand tutor Jo Goodall said she was impressed by her passion for shorthand.

She said: “I am delighted shorthand fires up the students to this extent. Most have a real passion for it. It grips them.

“I get texts at 2 and 3am saying something like ‘Hey Jo, we are having an argument about the outline for a word – settle the score will you?’

“They compete against each other for the fastest and the best note. I love my job, because we have such brilliant students.”

50 comments

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  • January 19, 2011 at 9:23 am
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    I get texts at 2 and 3am saying something like ‘Hey Jo, we are having an argument about the outline for a word – settle the score will you?” Crikey, rock ‘n roll. When I was a student I worried about running out of beer and tabs – not dratted outlines! By the way, shouldn’t the outline have those two little dashes over it?

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  • January 19, 2011 at 9:39 am
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    That has to be the worst tattoo I’ve ever seen and, what’s more, the shorthand isn’t correct. Looks more like Anteka. Was she drunk when she did this?

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  • January 19, 2011 at 10:05 am
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    I think the two little dashes should be below it – and the “n” is way too long – I thought there was a “p” or an “h” in there.

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  • January 19, 2011 at 10:08 am
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    That wouldn’t be Anneka in my shorthand… it’s a very long ‘n’ if so!

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  • January 19, 2011 at 10:25 am
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    It certainly looks as though there’s an ‘h’ in there. Just wait until (possibly) she gets a real job in journalism. She’ll regret that almost immediately. I’d rather have ‘Tesco’ tattooed on my forehead. Good luck to her though.

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  • January 19, 2011 at 10:27 am
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    Don’t understand having a “passion” for shorthand. It’s just shorthand.

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  • January 19, 2011 at 10:40 am
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    Dear, oh dear, oh dear… Love to see her bring that up in an interview!

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  • January 19, 2011 at 10:41 am
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    Congratulations HTFP, you have successfully published the weirdest story I have ever read. I’m off to Starbucks now to throw a hot latte over my arm as a reminder of how much I like the taste!!

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  • January 19, 2011 at 10:48 am
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    Don’t really like the look of the tattoo but all for personal choice. If you’re happy with it Anneka then great!

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  • January 19, 2011 at 10:54 am
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    If Anneka takes her ankle along to her local Chinese takeaway she will have it confirmed that the tattoo actually says ‘egg noodle’

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  • January 19, 2011 at 11:13 am
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    I note the comments questioning the accuracy of the outline. This is most certainly a perfectly acceptable outline for the name Anneka. Proper nouns do have dashes UNDERNEATH in shorthand notes to distinguish them. However, in this instance, it is not necessary.

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  • January 19, 2011 at 11:18 am
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    Shorthand texts at 2 and 3am in the morning? Get a bloody grip!

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  • January 19, 2011 at 11:23 am
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    Aren’t you supposed to write out names in longhand? Especially ones with unusual spelling…

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  • January 19, 2011 at 11:47 am
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    With no hands, I could count the amount of times I’ve used shorthand since I was forced to study it in college. The worst thing is – it’s only a matter of years away from being even more irrelevant. Speech-to-text software is getting better all the time. Also, She’s missing ” underneath the word because it’s a name.

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  • January 19, 2011 at 12:02 pm
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    I note the comments regarding the accuracy of the outline. The outline is certainly accurate. The “N” should be equal in height to the “K”, but although it is a tiny bit long it is clearly an “N”. Dashes UNDER an outline denote a proper noun. This distinguishes such outlines from others in the notes. In this case there is only one outline, so it is surely not so vital. I think it looks good.

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  • January 19, 2011 at 12:39 pm
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    Yamo – Shorthand won’t be irelevant in a few years because you can’t take computer software into court. Plus even if you could it would be a nightmare to sort through for the bits you need for a story. Shorthand is quick – that’s the point of it.

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  • January 19, 2011 at 1:20 pm
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    Jo, I note your comments. However, I choose to put the dashes ABOVE the outline because I’m off my head. Totally. Shorthand Shirley wouldn’t like it, but…tough.

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  • January 19, 2011 at 1:45 pm
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    Despite what the shorthand tutor says, that n is far too long – if I was trying to read that back in my notes I’d think it was an h or a p. But more to the point, what is wrong with this girl? Correct outline or not, this is a pointless and ugly tattoo and something she’ll surely regret when and if she gets a real job.

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  • January 19, 2011 at 2:03 pm
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    In my experience, girls who get tattoos are game for anything. You go girlfriend!!!

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  • January 19, 2011 at 2:10 pm
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    The extended ‘n’ outline indicates, to me anyway, an ‘and the’ at the beginning of the outline. Perhaps ‘and the Ka (as in Ford Ka)’?

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  • January 19, 2011 at 2:13 pm
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    Good luck to her and it’s a novel idea….but I think she’ll regret it five years down the line into her first job when she realises the wages are crap, the prospects are poor and she wishes she’d studied something else!

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  • January 19, 2011 at 2:35 pm
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    I reckon the extended N is probably the N plus an E before going into the K, to reflect the pronounciation of AnEka, perhaps. Either way, I’ve never seen so many comments on one story. Goes to show what gets us talking.

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  • January 19, 2011 at 3:07 pm
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    The N is wonky and too long there’s no ticks under it. This is the stupidest, and ugliest tattoo I have seen.

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  • January 19, 2011 at 3:17 pm
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    Well done Anneka – you’ve cheered up the regional press and given every newsroom in the country something fun to talk about today. Who hasn’t worked out what their shorthand tattoo would be?

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  • January 19, 2011 at 3:20 pm
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    Well, stacks of compliments there then. I bet she’s glad she got in touch with htfp now… Fear the wrath of the resent filled hacks.

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  • January 19, 2011 at 3:23 pm
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    That’s nothing. I’m going to have the headlines from all my best stories tattooed on different parts of my body. Hey editors, come see my portfolio…..

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  • January 19, 2011 at 3:24 pm
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    Blimey Mr Chairman, accident blackspot or what!In terms of accuracy it seems the trainee hackette doesn’t have a leg to stand on..

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  • January 19, 2011 at 3:35 pm
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    Should have used Pitman – much more phonetically accurate.

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  • January 19, 2011 at 4:01 pm
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    I’m glad I’m not the only one who thought the outline was wrong. Now I am totally committed to my backside, would anyone like to read about how I’m having it tatooed to my head?

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  • January 19, 2011 at 4:04 pm
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    I must also say that this poor young thing clearly knows nothing about journalists or their ability at shorthand otherwise she wouldn’t have said: “t’s also quite exciting knowing only people who have learned shorthand will understand what the symbol means – like a secret code!” Face it most journos can barely read their own shorthand let alone anyone elses…

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  • January 19, 2011 at 4:46 pm
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    Well, I’ll give her one thing – she certainly knows how to create a bit of self publicity. Perhaps PR might be her future career path!

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  • January 19, 2011 at 5:08 pm
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    What shorthand is it, please? I only know Pitman. When you get older, Anneka, the tattoo will just look like a varicose vein! Enjoy your career. Hopefully newspapers and magazines will be around for a long time to come.

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  • January 19, 2011 at 5:39 pm
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    wow, i like how my tattoo has caused a lot of controversy. to be honest the photo doesn’t do it justice (it is starting to scab over). i don’t expect people to understand why i did it, but it was MY choice.

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  • January 20, 2011 at 11:02 am
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    First of all, as a shorthand tutor in Manchester, I approve of such commitment to the art – though I’d honestly prefer a student to spend the time having “ink done” on extra dictation. I don’t blame my esteemed colleague Jo for defending the accuracy of her student’s tattoo, but my students here at Manchester read this as having an “nth” blend or an “np”. Also, to my eye, the proportions are a little off – the full vowel “a” at the end looks unnecessarily small. I agree the two marks to indicate a proper noun are sometimes best missed off during dications – take too long – but for a slowly-etched tattoo, it would seem appropriate to add them. They aid reading back as we know it’s a proper noun. As for the person who said you’re supposed to right unusual spellings of names in longhand: a) the idea is to use shorthand for names, and confirm longhand spelling in the margin (don’t do this in your exam though!) and b) what is unusal about the spelling “Anneka”? As a childhood admirer of Anneka Rice, seems usual enough to me.

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  • January 20, 2011 at 11:04 am
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    Oops, “write” not “right”.. same outline, ya see!

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  • January 20, 2011 at 11:52 am
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    Just a reminder – K changes to C in the middle of a word (Unit 7 – Teeline for Journalists) and then it would follow with indicator A. The N is a little long and reminds me of ‘nth’. Names should have 2 upward dashes to indicate a capital letter. Apart from those small points, love the Teeline dedication, but don’t personally care for tatoos. Now – all get back to your shorthand practise and pass those 100 wpm NCTJ exams – and most importantly make sure the quotes you write are 100% accurate. Regards.

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  • January 20, 2011 at 12:11 pm
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    Dawn, both your book, and Marie’s, say that the change from K to C in the middle of a word is optional – though I agree it would make a nicer outline here. But you could argue, for a name, spelling could take over to avoid confusion. I’ll say for the record I DO care for tattoos having two on my upper arms – none in Teeline. Another of my students just said the horizontal line(s) of lined paper should be drawn in too – I personally never write any outline on the board with out lines. Any other students wanting Teeline tattoos, email us tutors for a variety of opinions before you commit to ink!

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  • January 20, 2011 at 12:24 pm
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    Hi Paul – perhaps tutors could re-train as Teeline tatoo artists. There might be a huge market out there! This thread has certainly generated a lot of interest.

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  • January 20, 2011 at 12:27 pm
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    Haha! What a chump. Shorthand sucks and soon it’ll only be creaking old Luddites who turn misty-eyed over the good old days of their four-hour pub lunches and unchecked exies who give a monkey’s about it. Digital recorders are The Way.

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  • January 20, 2011 at 12:38 pm
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    Not that old chestnut! Try taking your electronic device into Court. Try taking notes when your electronic device let’s you down – you should always have paper and pen/pencil on your person. Sorry, yes it is hard work, but an essential today and tomorrow. Those who have achieved their 100+ have worked hard and shown commitment to their craft.

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  • January 20, 2011 at 1:06 pm
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    @Yamo – Not covered many courts or council meetings then? As for the tattoo, whatever floats your boat I guess, but I do think it looks like ‘Anp*ka’ (we only have the story’s context to realise the * is an ‘e’.) Of course, it could be ‘Anh*ka’

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  • January 20, 2011 at 3:55 pm
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    Ignoring my (hopefully)whitty banter of earlier, I feel I should explain to the sceptics of shorthand a few hard truths. A shoddy shorthand note will inevitably land you in hideous trouble, without the back up of your written notes you will one day find a PCC ruling against you and believe me (as one who knows) this is not something that helps your career. British courts don’t allow recording devices and quite probably won’t for a very long time. A recording is useful, but if you are on deadline, try finding that quote in a 45 minute recording. In short, I wouldn’t have a shorthand tatoo, but do not think it is a needless skill, your notepads are an essential tool!

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  • January 20, 2011 at 5:03 pm
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    First, Dawn, I think I’d be perfect retraining as a teeline tattoo artist – I ride a motorbike ; I have tattoos ; even been known to sport a beard; and I’m a Teeline nerd. To add a defence to the tiresome “digital age” argument (whoopee, we’ve had dictaphones since the 60s, you know!), most (some say 90%) of your interviewing will likely be over the phone. How many papers record phone chats, digitally or otherwise? Few, I can tell you. Even if they do, asking permission to record a phone conv is the best way to get them to clam up. @Tom, I would suggest Anh*ka unlikelier than Anth*ka, ie. “nh” used as the “nth” blend. Anyway, prob time to put that one to bed. What a fun thread though!

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  • January 26, 2011 at 1:00 pm
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    I’m off to get a Nikon D3 and 70-200mm VR tattooed on my forehead…

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  • January 26, 2011 at 5:32 pm
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    shorthand is such a pain!! yes, i admit it should be studied and learned, towards a fully understanding of the profession (journalism, that is). But, come on, let’s admit it. YOU DON’T REALLY NEED IT. I have my own way of shortening words and expressions. And I always have my voice recorder with me. so..whats the use ?

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