Shorthand: Outdated or Useful Skill?

Shorthand- (Cian Moore)
Is shorthand still of use in the age of technology?
In an age where technology is at the forefront of our daily lives, where we have more means of communication than mankind has ever known,  the media industry has become well accustomed to technological advancements, but where does this leave the old- school skill of Shorthand?


For those of you unaware of what it is, Shorthand is a faster method of taking notes, used by journalists in press conferences or court reporting, but with the improvement of the mobile phone, society has an army of gadgets, such as video and voice recorders, all in one, raising the question:

is shorthand becoming obsolete among journalists as technology makes it easier for humans with every improvement?

Coming through the ranks of the journalism world is no easy feat for any student, especially with technology changing all the time, so I asked some students how they felt about the issue.

Firstly, I spoke with third-year journalism student Niamh Kelly, who has just begun learning shorthand. She expressed her opinion, by speaking of how society’s easy access to technology has affected shorthand’s use .

I think it was definitely useful back a few years ago when laptops, tablets and iPhones weren’t a common ‘norm’ to carry around, nowadays technology does everything for us” said Niamh.

Although there was more use for it before technology developed, she goes on to talk about its advantages:

 If you think about it Shorthand is extremely handy and very useful if you can use it well to be able to gather info in such fast and quick paced environments.  I do think you could use it to take fast notes of important interviews, especially for reporters so to fair for specific journalists it’s a handy skill to have, even with your technology.

Shorthand Notes - (Cian Moore)
Shorthand Notes – (Cian Moore)

While some people feel it’s still advantageous to have shorthand in their journalistic arsenal, not everyone agrees, as Natalie Dyer, also a final year journalism student, gives her take on Shorthand:

 I didn’t know anything about it at all before doing the course. I’m not sure its widely known about. My guess is that it’s so obsolete by now that nobody young knows about it. I do think it requires skill, but I don’t think there’s much use for it in a world filled with smartphones, etc. 

When I asked her if it would ever be in her interest to learn Shorthand she said:

If my brain wasn’t so occupied with learning more important things in life, such as coping in the adult world, but I would also learn how to crochet or learn to tame a crocodile if I had the time.

At the moment it appears that it’s really down to the person if they think Shorthand is worth learning or if it’s a waste of time, But it remains to be seen if Shorthand will wither away or continue to be of use to journalists in the industry.

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