by holdthefrontpage staff

A new Teeline textbook has been written specifically for journalists by Darlington College of Technology shorthand teacher Dawn Johnston.

Teeline For Journalists focuses on helping students avoid hesitancy and improve accuracy.

Dawn decided to write the book because much of the text she previously used for instruction was irrelevant for would-be journalists.

She said: "We have traditionally used Teeline Gold which is a secretarial-based book written in 1990.

"[Journalists] never use the likes of 'dear sir or madam', for instance, which is why I got cracking with the new textbook.

"I would teach one thing then say to students 'remember, we don't do it that way' and they asked me why didn't I rewrite it.

"I am really pleased with the way it has turned out and it really should help me and the students in their jobs."

Students at the college have to sit a final exam where they write down in shorthand a four-minute passage read in two two-minute stages at 100 words per minute.

Dawn said: "It's a hard exam because the pressure does strange things. In the new book I have looked for ways to help them avoid hesitating while improving accuracy.

"In the past they have learnt the theory then worked on their speed. Now I am trying to teach the high speed and basic theory together."

Dawn has already tried it out on two groups of trainees on the NCTJ 20-week and 12-week block release journalism courses with great success.

She said: "One student from the 12-week group passed her 100wpm in just ten weeks and seven of the nine students in the 20-week group reached the standard, while two others achieved 80wpm – so it seems to work well."

The College has been given special permission to publish the book by Harcourt Education and the Teeline Partnership which has the rights to Teeline shorthand – but the special agreement means only 100 copies can be printed in the first year.

It is hoped the book will be piloted around the country by the National Council for the Training of Journalists.

Teeline For Journalists is available from Darlington College, priced £12. Contact 01325 503050.