Industry leaders have insisted shorthand remains an “essential” skill for journalists after a regional daily editor claimed a university on his patch was considering dropping the subject.
James Mitchinson, who edits the Yorkshire Post, sparked a social media debate after revealing an unnamed university in the county was contemplating dropping shorthand from its syllabus because students “don’t like it” nor feel it’s “relevant”.
Posting on Twitter, James, pictured, pointed out that it is only those who pass the subject who “get jobs” in journalism.
In his post, James wrote: “Dear university (in Yorkshire) contemplating dropping shorthand from your syllabus as students ‘don’t like it’ nor feel it’s ‘relevant’.
“Here’s a thing: it is, and those who show the minerals to pass it are the ones that get jobs. End of.”
Also posting on the social media site, Toby wrote: “At Newsquest it is still required as a necessary skill for our journalists to have – and I can’t see that changing any time soon.”
Jeremy added: “Shorthand, in my opinion, is still an essential tool for journalists working in an environment where accuracy & legal challenge exists. Until the law changes for shorthand notes and transcriptions being required, it should remain an essential qualification.”
“Speed and accuracy is everything to PA and, rest assured, shorthand will continue to have a vital role to play in that,” he said.
But Kristian Walsh, editor for Liverpool FC projects at the Liverpool Echo, took issue with James, arguing that making shorthand a requirement could stop talented people getting into the industry.
He wrote: “I understand the sentiment here and do think shorthand should be an option for all students, but I don’t think ‘minerals’ has anything to do with it.
“I’ve worked with a number of excellent people who don’t/didn’t have it. Let’s not obstruct talented people in this industry.”
“I think there is far more to journalism than passing shorthand now. The Echo took a chance on me without it – I didn’t have it for several reasons – and subsequently passed it. Others deserve a similar chance.”