Responses to my posts on shorthand

May 1, 2008

I thought it might be worthwhile getting this thread back onto the frontpage here. For some reason, which I don’t know, but which delights me, a whole bunch of staff from the New Zealand Herald have decided to comment on my “Who’s still teaching shorthand” post of a few weeks back.

I’ve also collated some responses that have come in to my email from colleagues in Australia. Not sure why they haven’t just dropped them here, but perhaps they’re still not comfortable with blogging (LOL) Read the rest of this entry »

If we must teach shorthand what are we not teaching?

March 8, 2008

A friend, Helen M, sent me this link to a recent piece in the US online publication, PR Weekly, it talks about how journalism and journalism education are changing in response to the convergence factor of digital technology.

It lists a whole lot of new stuff that journalism educators and students are/should perhaps be doing in the classroom.

If we continue teaching shorthand,where do we find room for new stuff? What do we leave out?

It might be tempting to argue that more practical stuff should be included at the expense of what detractors call “theory”, or “media studies”. But what about journalism theory?

Isn’t there a place in journalism education for an intellectual discussion about the values and meaning of journalism.

To deny space for such discussions is to doom journalism education and the reporters of the future to repeat the same mistakes over and over. Self-reflection is necessary for the news industry to cope with change; so to is a willingness to embrace change.

In particular, as the industry is changing younger reporters will need new and different skills; the definition of who is a journalist is also changing.

This is not necessarily a new idea, I’ve written about it in Communication & New Media (Hirst & Harrison 2007, OUP) in terms of the changing reportorial community.

Now this is an even more pressing issue because of the rise of the “accidental” journalist, not just the “citizen” journalist. Do we ignore this or embrace it?

There has to be room in the journalism curriculum for these issues to be put in front of students and we also have to think of these issues in terms of our current and future research.

Who’s still teaching shorthand?

March 8, 2008

Here in New Zealand all journalism schools require students to be proficient in T-line Shorthand at around 60-80 wpm before they can graduate.

The shorthand requirement is mandated by the NZ Journalists Training Organisation (JTO) as a Unit Standard for the qualification the National Diploma in Journalism. The diploma is a level 5 qualification, the equivalent to the first year of a university degree.

The question for me is this: Is shorthand still the most effective method of capturing quotes and notes? Then there’s the follow up: Who’s going to pay for it being taught in our universities and polytechs? Read the rest of this entry »