Category Archives: journalism

Teeline for journalists – still going strong

It’s good to see this Teeline for Journalists book is still in use, after my trials and tribulations with the journalism shorthand module. It even comes with a CD – mine was second hand when I bought it but I don’t remember having a disc included or if it existed in the older editions.

Teeline for Journalists

I suppose it’s a bit like school dinners, but I feel a bit nostalgic about it. Maybe someday I’ll go and learn it again – just for fun!


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Teeline torture: Teeline equals shorthand for soul-destroying times.

Now I’m not picking on Teeline particularly, it’s just that it happens to be the thing that’s currently destroying my will to live. I’m equally sure that any form of shorthand, whether Teeline or otherwise would be just as much fun. Since I’m told that any journalist who wants a job these days needs shorthand, it is essential that I pass the exam.

Using Dawn Johnston’s Teeline for Journalists, I was doing reasonably well at a steady pace. The book comes with a CD full of dictated passages ranging from 40 wpm to 80 wpm. But its a different story when you have to take down shorthand at 100 wpm for the exam, and with a 90% accuracy rate to pass. Yikes! With only three weeks left it’s starting to look like an unlikely prospect. Perseverance and practice is apparently the key to success with Teeline shorthand though.

Teeline for Journalists had been my bible for the last few months, but now that I’m starting to copy down short reports from the TV news and other programmes, I’ve come across a lot of words that I’m not sure of. Teeline is based on the alphabet so you can, in theory, write any word once you know the letters. The book, while being great for learning the theory, doesn’t give you all the words so sometimes I struggle with things like “F” written up or down, or some of the word endings. Using the Teeline Gold: Word List has helped a lot, as it gives lists of many common words.

However, to get any speed in the Teeline shorthand I’ve found that practising the word groupings and blends are the best way to achieve this. Teeline Word Groupings gives a comprehensive list of the most widely used – and some of the not so common – word groupings.

Although three weeks doesn’t sound like enough time, I believe there are some people who have mastered Teeline shorthand in something like 200 hours. So if I was starting from scratch I’d need to do just under 10 hours a day for the next three weeks. But since I already have a reasonable grounding of the theory, and a speed of between 50 and 80 wpm (depending on how difficult the words are), it must be possible to reach the magic 100 wpm in 21 days.

Well, it remains to be seen when the time comes. Meantime, it’s practice practice practice. Teeline torture indeed!


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Journalism and article writing

Since starting the journalism degree I’ve realised that writing SEO articles and newspaper pieces have a lot in common. Every word is precious, there’s a specific focus and the content must be attention grabbing.

My news items so far have received good feedback, and a couple of stories I submitted to my local paper were published with just a minor edit (unfortunately making the sentences look wrong!).

One thing about writing journalism pieces is that everything is done in accordance with the style book. So you have to stop and think if a word is too flowery, or too dramatic. People are not dead (woman found dead at home), they die (woman dies at home). Cars don’t crash into lorries, they collide with lorries. Kids don’t get rushed to hospital, they get taken.

While this is all very well, going back to writing web articles means switching the brain back to that kind of style. Depending on the subject, these often require a bit of drama. Internet marketers would not be too pleased with a sales letter saying their latest ebook was simply interesting, it has to be amazing, powerful or absolutely fantastic.

There is however, some resemblance in the language – tabloid newspapers still use “sensational” on screaming headlines!

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