To Type or Not To Type…

via guardian.co.uk

When I’m on the phone and talking to a source, I’m not writing down the notes, I’m typing it all up. And I’m typing fast. It’s something that you get used to. I kind of get in a zone, where I’m listening, typing and thinking at the same time. Organized chaos.

I really should ask sources to slow down while they are talking, but I’ve gotten really good at keeping up with them. I know I wouldn’t be able to write it down any faster so I stick to my desk’s computer. I use my laptop only when I am out of the office. For some reason, I’ve noticed that I type much faster on my desktop keyboard than my own laptop.

I’ve seen reporters who write down phone interviews in notebooks. To be frank, you should do whatever works for you. I can sit here all day and try and persuade you to rely on a Notepad file and your keyboard, but you’ll still do what you are comfortable with. I can’t blame you.

I got used to using a keyboard during my internship at the Journal Inquirer back when I was still in college at MCC. It eased me into getting used to phone interviews with sources and relying on your keyboard for all of your note-taking.

I don’t really have any tricks to typing on a keyboard. We all know how to do it, but there are some shortcuts I use. You can’t spell out every “big” word during an interview. I’ve found it to be pretty near impossible. Woulds become “wld”, responsibility becomes “resp” and community becomes “comm” and so on. It’s not rocket science, but it’s something I’ve begun to perfect over time. It helps make my life easier and gets the job done.

It doesn’t sound like a solid system, but it is what it is. I will continue to work on it and increase my words/minute as I continue to work and write stories.

No matter what, writing or typing your notes, it’s crucial to go over them as soon as you get a chance, while everything is still fresh in your mind. That’s the crucial part of taking notes. They are nothing until you go over them, wrapping them together into the complete thoughts that they are. It can make or break a story if you don’t, too.

Jonathan

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