I once thought I could eliminate the use of pen and paper after school. Being a reporter for more than three years already, I’ve been used in jotting down my notes on my phone or laptop. But it’s just recently that I have to rely on the classic way of recording notes.
When I started to cover court hearings for the pork barrel scam case at the Sandiganbayan (the courts when public officials are tried for cases like graft and plunder), they required the media not to bring phones into the court room. Thus, I have to bring a pen and notebook. So, while I listen and take down notes, I wonder how I get to understand my writing which has turned steno.
But then, I realized there are more advantages in taking down notes by hand.
Taking aside the odd handwriting, having a hard copy of words is safer than those being recorded in electronic. There were a few times that my phone would delete all my notes before an ambush interview ends or my laptop shutting down at the end of the press briefing. Now, such instances devastates me…literally.
When writing down by hand, it’s easy to review the past notes and leave markings as I rewrite my story. Adding markings to my past notes in electric gadgets only complicates them and adds more time. Besides, I tend to remember them better by hand. I realized that by marking notes, I can remember more the significant words from a coverage.
Now compared to touch screens, I can get the right spelling of words when writing on paper. Oh, yes, I can get the words correct when I type on my laptop, but I can’t write there all the time when we run after interviewees in the middle of the street, right? Now when I thumb in the words unto the screen, I’d get 40% of the words wrong in spelling. This only confuses me. But when I take down my notes on paper, I tend to understand the words better.
It’s amazing how I understand my own handwriting when I review my notes. Maybe because my brain can remember what was discussed better when my hand writes them down.
I learned never to discriminate the power of the pen and paper. Our high-tech gadgets can help us in our everyday routines, but sometimes, it is the traditional way that saves us from the odd-balls of innovation.