Sunday, 31 January 2016

Journalism - Conquering Shorthand Writing

When I made the plunge into the world of journalism I had thoughts of writing gripping articles, learning the art of interviewing and getting my name in a newspaper under an article. Well maybe thats all to come, BUT I did not foresee having to learn this...

Nope its not French, or Spanish, even though it looks like a foreign language, its Shorthand writing. This is the Teeline style of it. A true journalistic skill.

The aim is to be able to write this at 100 words per minute. A task that at the moment looks a million miles away!

100 WPM is the barrier that employers look for from a journalist. We tend to speak at about 150 words a minute on average.

With the developments in technology with dictaphones and mobile phones and other recording devices, shorthand isn't exactly used as much as before. So what's the point?

In a lot of circumstances journalists might not be able to use a recording device. It can be such a useful skill to have to be able to jot down quickly what someone says in a short interview or a statement being made.

But in my opinion it feels like its a test to whittle out those that aren't willing to put the effort in to learn a new skill. Its recommended to learn a small amount, but on a daily basis in order to keep up on it.

I had my first exam at 60 WPM 2 weeks ago, which I am awaiting the results from. Being in an exam was a new experience in itself, but being in one where you are dictated too was a whole new level.

The exam involved a 2 minute piece, 30 second break, followed by a further 2 minute piece. We are allowed 5 mistakes, that is all.

Now, if you get caught behind its very difficult to catch up. If you feel stressed and start panicking, there is no time to sit back and take some deep breaths as by then you will be behind once more. It really is a challenge.

It's been a challenge that I have strangely enjoyed. I'm so competitive in everything I do that I just want to beat everyone in the class. But its that urge that pushes me on to get faster and faster at writing shorthand.

Learning a completely new skill has really opened my eyes to so much more. Learning is something we should be doing throughout our lives and something now I intend to follow on with in the future.

Friday, 29 January 2016


Social Media has changed so much in our lives, from speaking with friends, storing photo albums, shopping, DATING and now it's even changed what 'some' people perceive as being cool.

What is your perception of 'being cool'?

I have an image in my head of a confident person walking down the street dressed cool, without a care in the world of how anyone else perceives them. This is what I picture when I think 'COOL'

Yes OK it's David Beckham. And let's be honest he is one of the coolest men on the planet.

How about a better example, a neutral one.

This laid back guy with a cool hair style, a leather jacket (which is a classic sign of being cool right) and just oozing confidence.

BUT THEN Social Media takes over the world. 

People found a new way of discovering what is cool or what they perceived as being cool. 

Now I am not telling anyone what is cool to then because we are all entitled to our opinions and because one person thinks something is cool it does not mean the next must do too.

However, can anyone tell me why this is cool

Don't panic, you're not seeing anything different to anyone else. This is Salmon, scrambled eggs and avocado. One of billions of pictures of the same food seen across social media on your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and probably on many others too.

Food pictures are controversial to say the least. Do we all care what someone else is eating for their meals?

If it is a Personal Trainer, Fitness Guru or Nutritionist, I completely understand the reasoning for posting food pictures. These people aren't posting them because they're 'cool' (they post gym selfies of their abs in the mirror for that), they are doing it for their business and for inspiration for others.

BUT so many normal people seem to believe they are one of the cool kids for posting pictures of healthy foods. Its like a way of bragging to everyone across social media that they are healthy and they are awesome. 

Hey thumbs up to those who are eating well etc, but do you really need the social media world to vindicate your achievements?

Glad to get that off my chest.

Let me know what you see so much of now across social media that 'erks' you.

I am now planning on posting much more articles like this about issues, funny or serious to help with my journalistic development. (see I'm already learning new words like 'journalistic')