A disabled journalist is calling for action to address widespread discrimination in the media industry after a news agency told him he had not been interviewed for a job because he did not have a qualification in shorthand.
Declan McSweeney has tried several times to apply for posts with Mercury Press in Liverpool – and with other news organisations – and has been told on each occasion that he was not suitable for the role.
But on the last occasion the agency admitted that the experienced journalist would not be considered because he did not have a recognised shorthand qualification.
McSweeney, who has cerebral palsy, has previously worked as a journalist in Ireland and London for more than 20 years, and has his own system of shorthand that he has used successfully throughout his career.
But he was told that this would not be acceptable for the Mercury position.
A senior executive for the agency, which is owned by Birmingham-based Caters News Agency, told him in an email: “To follow up your comment about it not being mandatory to be qualified in shorthand.