Journalism courses without shorthand are ‘useless’

Cavendish press boss Jon Harris says journalism courses without shorthand are 'Del Boy degrees'

Cavendish press boss Jon Harris says journalism courses without shorthand are ‘Del Boy degrees’

The boss of one of the UK’s biggest news wires has said that journalism degrees without shorthand courses are ‘useless’.

Jon Harris, managing director of Cavendish Press in Manchester, said several journalism graduates had applied for positions at his firm – but they’d all been turned away because they don’t have shorthand.

Press agencies like Cavendish are one of the best ways to learn journalism on the job, and offer a direct route to careers in the national and international media.

So for the head of a firm like this to say shorthand is an essential skill for any journalist is pretty clear – journalists must have shorthand.

‘Sending out journalism graduates without shorthand is akin to sending them out to get a reporting job with one arm tied behind their backs’, Jon told Press Gazette.

‘There are sadly some in newspapers and in universities who believe 100wpm shorthand is no longer a ”must have’ in journalism due to Twitter and recording equipment – but in my view that is complete and utter nonsense.’

Jon said that journalism courses that don’t offer shorthand are ‘Del Boy degrees’.

He’s absolutely right. And while a lot of people justify shorthand for its useful in reporting from court and inquests, we believe it’s essential in every situation for a journalist – whether they are newspaper, TV, website or radio reporters.

Telephone interviews are important for any journalist, and they will always need to write down quotes. This just cannot be done effectively without shorthand. Even a simple vox pop in the street will need an accurate quote.

Television reporters will also have to report from court and inquests. They will have to write down quotes in shorthand!

So there we have it again, don’t listen to people who rubbish shorthand, it is an essential skill.

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