Tag Archives: handwriting cursive journalism

The handwriting on the wall

I’ve been fascinated lately with the debate about whether schools should continue the teaching of handwriting.

The latest tidbit I read discussed the mental benefits of writing in cursive versus typing.

It’s an interesting issue on its own — but I’ve been trying to ferret out the repercussions for journalists, should most schools go the way of Indiana and ditch it.

First off — and most important — is note-taking, which seems to be a lost art for many journalism students anyway. I was once interviewed by a journalism student who barely put pen to notebook, yet produced a story full of facts and direct quotes. As you might expect, most of the facts were wrong and the quotes inaccurate. So I tell my students copious note-taking — and developing a unique short-hand style — is imperative if they want to be a good reporter.

During an interview, it’s less intrusive to be taking notes on a skinny reporter’s notebook than a clunky laptop. And it’s easier and quicker to take notes using cursive rather than printing individual letters.

And then there’s the aspect of deciphering handwriting. If you don’t learn cursive, you won’t be able to read it either — as the article in the link discusses. So how will we be able to expect reporters to translate old hand-written letters or documents?

I hate to sound like a Luddite, but this is one case where the old way shouldn’t be forsaken.