SCAM ALERT: Hotel piracy alert for all NCRA Convention-goers

Please be aware that fraudulent companies are contacting NCRA Convention & Expo delegates about room reservations at Planet Hollywood Hotel and Convention Center. This is a scam. These companies are not affiliated with NCRA or Planet Hollywood. While they might offer an initial rate lower than the contract we have with the hotel, they have additional fees and hefty change and cancellation penalties – and there is no guarantee they will actually have a room for you. Please contact the NCRA office via email or phone (800-272-6272) if you receive solicitation for hotel or exhibit services. It is helpful if you have the name and phone number of the solicitor.

Closed captioning brings clarity to people who are hard of hearing at Forest Oaks Lutheran

jcr-publications_high-resThe Tampa Bay Times posted an article on Feb. 21 about how court reporter Cindy Braun, RPR, brought closed captioning into her church.

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2017 Court Reporting & Captioning Week participation exceeds previous year

080_resized2017 Court Reporting & Captioning Week participation by states and court reporting schools exceeded the involvement reported during the 2016 event.

In addition to the national proclamation issued by U.S. Rep. Ron Kind of Wisconsin, a total of 17 states reported official proclamations compared to 11 the previous year. In addition, six court reporting programs reported holding one or more activities throughout the official week compared to five during the 2016 celebration.

“It was heartening to hear and read about all the ways our great profession was celebrated across the country,” said NCRA President Tiva Wood, RDR, CMRS, a freelance court reporter from Mechanicsburg, Pa. “This week of recognition expands each year, and I want to thank everyone who participated in this most recent celebration. I also would encourage everyone to continue to celebrate this wonderful career choice throughout the year by letting everyone know how rewarding it is,” she added.

Wood kicked off Court Reporting & Captioning Week as a guest on Stenographers World Radio where host Al Betz interviewed her about the future of the profession and the importance of the weeklong event sponsored by NCRA to raise awareness about the court reporting and captioning professions.

She also participated in a social media effort held during the 2017 NCRA Firm Owners Executive Conference, Feb. 12-14, in Tucson, Ariz. Attendees at the event were encouraged to have their photo snapped inside a specially designed frame and post it to Facebook and other social media outlets.

Wood closed out the weeklong event by participating in the first National Court Reporters Foundation Hard-of-Hearing Heroes Veterans History Project. The event used captioners to aid in interviews with several veterans who are deaf and hard of hearing, including two who served in World War II. The event was held at the Hearing Loss Association of America’s headquarters in Bethesda, Md., and drew Washington, D.C.-area media coverage.

In Ohio, students and faculty at Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C), Cuyahoga, Ohio, hosted an information table in the main areas of the campus that featured a prize wheel students from all majors could spin. Prizes ranged from a pen to a pad folio and the opportunity to hear more about a rewarding career in court reporting or captioning.

Other activities sponsored by Tri-C included asking court reporting program students to provide the names of people they thought would be a good fit for the profession in exchange for being entered into a drawing. A Coffee with Court Reporters event was also held for current students featuring coffee and NCRA-decorated cookies provided by the program’s Court Reporting and Captioning Club. Among the guest speakers were NCRA member Michelle Harper, RPR, a freelance reporter from Brunswick, Ohio; a captioner; an attorney; Tri-C’s western campus president; an associate dean; and NCRA Vice President Sue Terry, RPR, CRR, a freelance reporter from Springfield, Ohio.

Brown College of Court Reporting in Atlanta, Ga., also celebrated the week by hosting a series of speakers throughout the week. Among those were Caryn Broome, a CART captioner; Maxyne Bursky, RPR, CRR, a freelance reporter; and Heidi Thomas, RDR, CRR, CRC, a CART captioner. The speakers addressed such issues as what to expect from an externship and what it takes to become a successful CART captioner.

NCRA member Candice Sanders, RPR, also led two interactive workshops that focused on transitioning from a graduate to a working reporter.

Read the complete list of events that occurred at the national, state, and local level during 2017 Court Reporting & Captioning Week here.

And the winners are…

Sponsor_StudentIn honor of 2017 Court Reporting & Captioning Week, NCRA’s Student Committee challenged court reporting students to transcribe as many tests as possible during the week to qualify for a prize. First place was awarded to Angela Patla, a student at South Suburban College, Oak Forest, Ill. Robyn Broyles a student at GateWay Community College, Phoenix, Ariz., earned second place, and Evie Morris, a student at the Court Reporting Institute of St. Louis, Mo., earned third place.

Under the contest’s rules, participants did not have to pass the tests, simply transcribe them. The first place winner Patla will be awarded a copy of NCRA’s RPR Study Guide, Broyles will have the choice of a one-year student membership to the Association or one leg of the RPR Skills Test, and Morris will receive a $25 Starbucks gift card.

Students who participated in the challenge were also required to submit a test verification form signed by both the student and a teacher.

“When I heard of the contest, I was debating on whether or not I should go for it. Winning the RPR Study Guide book was definitely something that pushed me in doing the contest,” said Patla, who won top honors by transcribing 31 tests during the competition.

“Although court reporting and transcribing came fairly easy to me since I started the program, I think participating in this contest helped a lot with my transcribing skills. It gave me a chance to feel what it was like to have a deadline on something like I would if I was on a job out reporting.”

Patla, who is almost through with 190 Testimony, is done with Jury Charge and is working on her 180 Literary. She plans to either freelance or work as an official court reporter when she graduates. She attributes her choice of court reporting as a career to her mother.

“My mom actually helped me choose court reporting my junior year of high school. I had no idea what I wanted to do. She mentioned to me a few different ladies in the area that we know who are court reporters. Right away I was interested, and I went to South Suburban’s open house. I couldn’t wait to graduate school and get started with the program,” said Patla.

Second place winner Broyles said she decided to take the challenge because she actually enjoys typing up transcripts and because the prizes were so enticing.

“I learned to recognize a few strokes that I was missing on a regular basis,” she said about participating by taking 16 tests. “I just passed my last 180 Literary test. I’m working hard to finish up Jury charge and Q&A. My resolution for 2017 is to pass all legs of the RPR and get to work,” she added.

Broyles said she is excited about all of the opportunities that will be available to her upon graduation. She currently works as a litigation secretary and bankruptcy paralegal.

“I almost went to court reporting school in 1993, but I went to paralegal school instead because I thought I would eventually go to law school,” said Broyles. “I decided to go back to school for court reporting when I met a very talented and successful closed captioner who has the kind of flexibility and earning capacity I’m looking for.”

NCRF launches Hard-of-Hearing Heroes Project during Court Reporting & Captioning Week 2017

Veterans and court reporters at the kickoff Hard-of-Hearing Heroes event

Michelle Houston, Sarah Connor, Major Edward Connor, Tiva Wood, and Jan Hamilton

NCRF launched the Hard-of-Hearing Heroes Project at the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) headquarters in Bethesda, Md., on Saturday, Feb. 18.

Five veterans with varying degrees of hearing loss chronicled their service experiences for the Veterans History Project (VHP):

  • Fred Becchetti, who served in the Army Air Corps in World War II
  • Edward Connor, who served in the Air Force in World War II
  • David McWatters, who served in the Marine Corps during the Vietnam War
  • Charles Rupprecht, who served in the Navy during the Vietnam War
  • James Whitcraft, who served in the Air Force during the Persian Gulf War, among other conflicts

Rupprecht and Whitcraft were interviewed over the phone.

Court reporters and captioners traveled from as far as southern Virginia and Pennsylvania to volunteer their time and skills to preserve these veterans’ experiences for the VHP collection at the Library of Congress.

NCRA members have been listening and taking down veterans’ stories since NCRF partnered with the Library of Congress in 2003 to have court reporters transcribe veterans’ stories from their collection of now more than 100,000. In 2013, members were asked to preserve the stories of veterans who hadn’t yet recorded their histories through personal interviews and VHP Days. To date, NCRF has submitted more than 4,000 transcripts to the Library of Congress.

The Hard-of-Hearing Heroes Project is a new NCRF VHP initiative that specifically seeks to interview veterans with hearing loss with the help of CART captioning. Hearing loss is among the most common service-related injuries due to constant exposure to loud noises in training and in combat, and it tends to worsen over time. In addition to preserving these veterans’ stories for the VHP, the Hard-of-Hearing Heroes Project introduces CART captioning, which is a service that may benefit these veterans in their daily lives.

Washington D.C.’s news channel NBC4 was on-site to hear from two of the veterans interviewed, Becchetti and McWatters, as well as NCRF Deputy Executive Director B.J. Shorak.

According to McWatters, veterans need to be educated on services they are entitled to.

“Veterans aren’t getting the information,” McWatters told NBC4. “If they had the information, they could use it. They have benefits.”

NCRF will host Hard-of-Hearing Heroes VHP Days across the country, supported by an Innovation Grant from the ASAE Foundation. NCRF will host an event during HLAA’s annual convention in Salt Lake City, Utah, in June, as well as at the Association of Late-Deafened Adults annual convention in Orlando, Fla., in October.

For more information, please visit NCRA.org/NCRF, or contact April Weiner, Foundation Manager, at aweiner@ncra.org.

Go behind the scenes with a proofreader

jcr-publications_high-resOn Feb. 16, JD Supra Business Advisor posted a blog by Darlene Williams from Planet Depos in honor of Court Reporting & Captioning Week that showcases proofreader Jean Hammond.

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Guardian of records

jcr-publications_high-resIn recognition of Court Reporting & Captioning Week, the Lexington Clipper-Herald ran an article on Feb. 18 showcasing the career of a local official court reporter from Lexington, Ky.

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You could be at the beating heart of every major court case

jcr-publications_high-resNews Talk KGVO.com aired a segment featuring an interview with NCRA member Stephanie Morrow, RPR, an official court reporter from Missoula, Mont. The interview was about her career as a court reporter.

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Letter to the editor from court reporter relays frustration over lack of raises

jcr-publications_high-resA letter to the editor written by NCRA member Melissa K. Atkinson, RDR, CRR, an official court reporter from Enid, Okla., was posted on Feb. 18 by TulsaWorld.com. The letter expresses her love for her job but her frustration at the lack of pay raises by the state.

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County not yet hit by court reporter shortage

jcr-publications_high-resSarah Nageotte, RDR, CRR, CRC, was interviewed about the court reporting profession in an article posted by the Star Beacon, Ashtabula, Ohio, on Feb. 18. Nageotte, a past president of NCRA, is an official court reporter from Jefferson, Ohio.

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