The National Council for the Training of Journalists has released a statement claiming that shorthand will no longer be a mandatory element of its course, despite years of arguing for its importance.
The news created a whirlwind of shock and confusion on social media, causing many professional journalists to weigh in their opinions on the issue.
Philip Webster, former Political Editor of The Times, said: “My advice to any aspiring journo has always been and will remain – learn shorthand.”
In an interview with the BBC, Webster added that it was shorthand that got him the job at The Times and also what saved him in an important interview with Tony Blair.
Editor of Press Gazette, Dominic Ponsford, said: “You will vastly improve your chances of getting a job in journalism if you get the necessary professional training. The core skills you need are news writing, shorthand and media law.”
The concept behind the change is to allow students who feel that news journalism isn’t for them won’t have to learn the skill if they feel it is unnecessary for the future jobs they aspire for.
NCTJ Chief Executive, Joanna Butcher, said: “We want our qualification to be more flexible, more inclusive and more digital. We are not losing sight of the fundamental skills of finding and telling stories accurately, which remain at the heart of the diploma.”
Crime reporter for Essex Echo argued: “I think the effect of this will be that lots of people who could push themselves and be really good just won’t bother trying.”
The change in the course will take effect September 2017.