Five candidates vying to be the Young Journalist of the Year have all named shorthand as the key skill that enabled them to get a head start in their careers.
On the shortlist are Bill Gardner of The Argus, Sam Morris of the Lincolnshire Echo, Rachael Burnett of the Dorset Echo, Richard Wheatstone of the Manchester Evening News, and Jacqueline McMillan of The Echo, Basildon.
All five went to different journalism training colleges – Bill from City COllege Brighton and Hove, Sam from Staffordshire University, Richard from Cardiff University, Jacqueline from News Associates and Rachael from the now-defunct NoSweat Journalism Training.
The five were asked by the National Council for the Training of Journalists what were the most important skills they learned on their courses.
All of them said that shorthand was the one skill they had learned that they couldn’t do without in the workplace.
Said Bill: “You can’t be a reporter if you don’t have decent shorthand, because without it you can’t accurately record what people are saying to you – simple as that.”
Rachael added: “Everything I learnt on my NCTJ course has come in handy, but shorthand is probably the one skill that I couldn’t do without.”
The Press Awards ceremony will take place at the Institute of Engineering and Technology, Savoy Place, London on Friday 17 May.
HTFP publisher Paul Linford chaired the judging panel which drew up the Young Journalist shortlist and will be presenting the prize at the ceremony.
The candidates were also asked to talk about the craziest things they have done as young journalists and the advice they would give people wanting to enter the industry.
Their views can be read in full on the NCTJ blog here.