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November 2, 2016

NCTJ chairman: ‘We are not going to drop shorthand, we are going to give people a choice’

By Dominic Ponsford

The chairman of the National Council for the Training of Journalists has defended plans to make shorthand optional for students on some of the courses it accredits.

Chairman of the training body Kim Fletcher told Radio 4’s Today programme: “We are not going to drop shorthand, we are going to give people a choice.”

He added: “We’ve fought for years against quite a lot of opposition to keep shorthand.” But he said that the “whole world of journalism is changing so quickly” and “lots of journalists are going to need to do different things working for new media organisations”.

He said: “If you want to be a social media journalist than maybe you can get through without shorthand…

“Our job at the National Council for the Training of Journalists is all about standards. We need journalism to have certain standards. We are not abandoning standards, we are saying there are certain jobs in journalism that perhaps in future you can do without shorthand.”

Shorthand, along with public affairs, is to become an optional module in NCTJ courses starting later this year. But the NCTJ has said that 100 words per minute remains obligatory for journalists planning to focus on news.

The other proposed “elective” NCTJ modules are: media law court reporting, broadcast journalism, PR and communications, business and finance journalism, video journalism for online, photography for journalism, sports journalism, production journalism, business of magazines.

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The core (compulsory) NCTJ modules as proposed are:

  • essential journalism (finding and telling stories)
  • essential journalism e-portfolio
  • essential journalism ethics and regulation
  • essential media law and regulation.

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