NCRA member celebrates three decades in the court reporting business

JCR: Journal of Court Reporting, TheJCR.com, JCR WeeklyThe Jacksonville Daily Record posted a story on Feb. 12 about the 30th anniversary of Riley Reporting & Associates, owned by NCRA member Susan Riley of Jacksonville, Fla.

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Need a job? Court reporters in demand in Kansas, Missouri

JCR: Journal of Court Reporting, TheJCR.com, JCR WeeklyKCTV Channel 5 in Olathe, Kan., aired a piece on Feb. 9 about need for court reporters in Kansas and Missouri.

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Court reporter shortage impacts trials, hearings

JCR: Journal of Court Reporting, TheJCR.com, JCR WeeklyKHSB TV, Kansas City, Mo., posted a story on Feb. 8 featuring NCRA members Cindy Isaacsen, RPR, an official court reporter from Olanthe, Kan., and Chris Herndon, RPR, CRI, and official court reporter from Prairie Village. The article focused on the growing demand for more court reporters.

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Giving back to the community: An interview with Penny Wile

 

Penny Wile and Cora, her therapy dog

Penny Wile, RMR, CRR, owner of Penny Wile Court Reporting in Norfolk, Va., has been a court reporter for more than 30 years. She gives back to the community by volunteering for the Sentara Norfolk General Hospital therapy dog program and her local SPCA. She has also been featured with her therapy dog on her local news station. In January, she hosted her second Woofstock fundraiser event, which collected donations to support the Norfolk SPCA.

What prompted you to become involved with the local SPCA?

My enormous love of animals. There are so many animals in need of loving homes and families in need of affordable veterinary care. The Norfolk SPCA provides education to the community and a trap/release program for spay/neuter, just to name a few of their valuable services.

How long have you been involved in this work?

Woofstock II, held Jan. 13, 2018, was my second Norfolk SPCA fundraiser. We held Woofstock I on April 15, 2016, and raised $2,600 in donations. Woofstock II donations amounted to $4,000. I hire a band for the event, and we have a fun time while collecting donations for the SPCA. It’s a win-win for everyone involved.

Advertisement for Woofstock II

What other community service activities do you support?

I am also involved in the Sentara Norfolk General Hospital therapy dog program. My English golden retriever, Cora, and I visit staff and patients at the hospital. We both enjoy bringing happiness to others. When I put Cora’s red scarf on, it’s time to “go to work,” and she is eager to go to the hospital and make her rounds. We have been part of the therapy dog program going on two years now. I have also recently been appointed as a member of the City of Norfolk Animal Welfare Board of Review.

What are the greatest benefits personally and professionally to being involved in community service activities?

The greatest benefit to my therapy dog program activities is that I am able to bring happiness to patients and family members at the hospital in a variety of settings. Some families receive comfort from Cora while a family member is gravely ill. Staff working in an extremely stressful environment can relax for a moment while visiting with Cora. It makes me happy to see smiles on the faces of staff, patients, and family members when we come through the hospital.

The greatest benefit to my Woofstock events is that through my business I am able to help the animals and the programs of the Norfolk SPCA by creating a fun evening, filled with great music and friends, all the while collecting much-needed funds for this worthy cause.

Penny Wile and Rob Blizard, executive director of the Norfolk SPCA, on 13News Now – WVEC

Why is giving back to the community important?

Giving back to my community is important to me. I am fortunate that through my success in my court reporting endeavors I am able to donate resources to programs that are important to me. Freelance reporting affords me the flexibility to be able to donate my time to participate in these programs.

What advice would you give to someone who is seeking to become involved in community service activities?

Anyone can become involved in their community. Find something that is important to you, that you are passionate about, and seek out programs in your area; start small and work toward more programs as time permits. As for me, animals are my passion, and helping people and animals through the programs I support humbles me.

 

The JCR Weekly will run a series of interviews featuring NCRA members who are giving back to their community in addition to an article in the April issue of the JCR.

Learn to Lead with Your Gut at 2018 Boot Camp

Spaces are filling fast for the new 2018 NCRA Legislative Boot Camp experience as the Feb. 19 registration deadline nears. The event is March 11-13.

Knowledge is power is the theme for this year’s event. Backed by a schedule that promises forward-thinking and hands-on immersive sessions, the new Boot Camp promises a new experience for attendees as they learn the latest status in legislative issues affecting the court reporting and captioning professions, develop leadership and advocacy skills, and prepare for real Capitol Hill action. This year’s program includes a number of visionary guest speakers who will share their insights into what makes successful leaders and how to advocate for the profession at the state and federal levels.

One of those visionary guests is Shelley Row, speaker, consultant, and author, who will lead the session “Go with Your Gut: Effective Decision-Making in an Overthinking World.” The goal of the session is to provide participants with a high-content program that gives them skills to use immediately in their work and with legislative staff as well as a positive frame of mind as they leave the event.

Shelley Row, leadership consultant and author

Named by Inc. magazine as one of the top 100 leadership speakers, Row is an engineer and former government and association executive. Her leadership work focuses on developing insightful leaders who know that data alone is not enough. Her work has been featured in Forbes, Fast Company, HuffPost Business, and Smartblog on Leadership. Row has studied with the NeuroLeadership Institute, is certified with the International Coach Federation and Business DNA Behavior, and is the incoming president of the National Speakers Association’s Washington, D.C., chapter. She is also the author of four books, including Think Less, Live More: Lessons from a Recovering Over-Thinker.

Row will address the following questions in her session: When seeking decisions from staff, colleagues, bosses, or legislators, do you ever experience churning conversations that go around and around and never reach a decision? Are some situations lightning rods that cause rational conversation to flee?

According to Row, in a complex world, we can get mired in analysis-paralysis. Other times, tension and reactivity destroy rational discussion. Attendees at Row’s session will learn:

  • the neuroscience behind effective decisions that balance hardline analytics with gut feel
  • how to limit and stop overthinking by resolving the forces that freeze decision-making
  • how to discover proven techniques to slow a quick reaction before responding and regretting it
  • how to enable “aha!” moments when they are needed most

Also on the schedule is:

  • The State of Court Reporting with NCRA President Chris Willette, RDR, CRR, CRC, and Matthew Barusch, NCRA State Government Relations Manager
  • Implementing Effective Programs in Your State with James Cool, attorney at law
  • Grassroots Lobbying with Jacqueline Sly, former state representative for South Dakota
  • A Lesson on the Importance of Certification with John Brandon, interim president of the Connecticut Court Reporters Association

Attendees will also hear from Marcia Ferranto, NCRA Executive Director and CEO as well as Cynthia Bruce Andrews, NCRA Senior Director of Certification and Education, who will discuss why certification is an important issue for the states. Learn more about the Boot Camp speakers and view the agenda at NCRA.org/BootCamp.

There will also be mock meetings for attendees to participate in as they prepare for their visits to Capitol Hill on the final day to meet with their respective legislators and key staff members to discuss the important issues that have an impact on the profession.

As part of the Boot Camp experience, attendees will travel to the Hill by Metro, enjoy lunch in the Dirksen Senate Dining Room, and celebrate at a special reception at the Library of Congress in honor of the Veterans History Project.

For more information about NCRA’s exciting new Legislative Boot Camp experience, contact NCRA Manager of State Government Relations Matthew Barusch. The room block is at the Hyatt Regency Reston in Reston, Va., and registrants will receive a confirmation email with a link to book their hotel using the NCRA rate. Registration closes Feb. 19!

Read more about the 2018 Boot Camp experience on TheJCR.com: NCRA ramps up 2018 Legislative Boot Camp with cutting-edge content.

Celebrate 2018 Court Reporting & Captioning Week and take the NCSA Challenge

State associations and NCRA members who celebrate the profession during NCRA’s 2018 Court Reporting & Captioning Week, which is Feb. 10-17, have the chance to win big if they also enter the fourth annual National Committee of State Associations (NCSA) challenge to promote the court reporting and captioning professions to the public.

The aim of the challenge is to encourage working professionals to reach out through career fairs and other activities to spread the word about the viable career paths of court reporting and captioning. NCSA will review and tally all submissions by members and state associations, and all entries will be eligible for prizes that include free webinars and event registrations.

“The NCSA Challenge is open and waiting on you,” said 2018 NCSA Chair Huey L. Bang, RMR, CRR, an official court reporter from Pass Christian, Miss. “How can you take part and compete? By sharing what we do and getting the word out about our wonderful profession. Grab your machine, your laptop, and a fellow reporter, and compete to make a difference in the future of court reporting,” he added.

Court reporters, captioners, state court reporter associations, and court reporting schools around the country have already been sharing how they plan to celebrate the week and the profession by hosting an array of activities, including visits to high schools to showcase the profession, Veterans History Project interviews, media outreach, and more. Professionals in the field will use these opportunities to demonstrate how the stenographic machine works to capture the spoken word and translate it into written text in real time.

NCRA members will also share their stories with the public about how they became involved in the profession, the interesting events they have reported on, and why their career choice has proven to be one of the best decisions they’ve made.

“Reflecting on more than 32 years in the stenographic reporting profession brings a profound sense of pride. Providing instant access to the spoken word and being involved in a multitude of cases involving topics from business to medical to intellectual property, products liability, and personal injury have been educational and rewarding,” said NCRA President Christine J. Willette, RDR, CRR, CRC, an active reporter and owner of Willette Court Reporting in Wausau, Wis.

“Court Reporting & Captioning Week gives our profession an opportunity to showcase and share the skills possessed by stenographic reporters working in the judicial and captioning fields. Coming together as a profession to celebrate has become an annual event across the country that is not to be missed,” Willette said.

To help celebrate the week, NCRA has made available a vast collection of resources, including informational and marketing materials available on DiscoverSteno.org, which was launched to help promote the profession to high school students, career changers, and veterans.

NCRA will also support official legislative recognition of National Court Reporting & Captioning Week and rely on its social media outlets, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and blogs to reach thousands of people throughout the week to raise public awareness about pursuing a career in the field and the important role court reporters and captioners play in capturing the official record, preserving history, and providing vital services to the deaf and hard-of-hearing communities.

Be sure to visit NCRA’s 2018 Court Reporting & Captioning Week resource center at NCRA.org/Awareness. The site has press release and media advisory templates, talking points, logos, brochures about the profession, PowerPoint presentations, quick links, and more.

Remember to share how you celebrate the week by sending information about and photos of your event to NCRA’s Communications Team at pr@ncra.org. Everyone is also encouraged to share his or her activities on social media using the hashtag #DiscoverSteno.

NCRA Board recognizes Brian Clune for contributions to legal video program

Brian Clune, shown here with NCRA President Christine Willette, is recognized for his contribution to the legal video program at the 2018 NCRA Firm Owners Executive Conference

Brian Clune, CLVS, was presented with a plaque recognizing his 20 years of service to the court reporting, captioning, and legal videography professions. Clune was instrumental in creating NCRA’s Certified Legal Video Specialist (CLVS) program, including developing an ever-changing seminar and creating an exam for program participants to prove a basic knowledge of the techniques and ethics required by videographers pursuing a legal video career. NCRA President Chris Willette, RDR, CRR, CRC, presented the plaque to Clune, who had retired from the CLVS Council and committee work in 2017.

“The NCRA Board of Directors wanted to formally recognize Brian Clune for his 20 years of service to the profession through his dedication and arduous work with the CLVS program,” said Willette. “The work Brian has done for the CLVS certification and the Trial Presentation programs helped lay the groundwork for what we have today. We are thankful for all that he has done to bring court reporters and legal videographers a greater understanding of each person’s role in the legal process so that together we can offer our clients a better product. His expertise in the field has been an integral part of the success of the program.”

The CLVS program not only teaches participants the mechanics and best practices for providing a consistent and impartial video record, but it also reaffirms the cooperative nature of the legal videographer and court reporter in the deposition setting. “I am grateful to be the first CLVS to be recognized by the Board for my volunteer service,” said Clune, “but it is the hard work of the many associate members on the CLVS Council that that keeps the program up to date and running smoothly. … Each council member spent extra hours beyond the regular meetings to keep the program fresh and in step with the current technology. It was this collective effort that created the success of the program for these many years.

“The council members I worked with are too many to list here, but they remain good friends even after they left the Council. I truly appreciate the opportunity to have worked with such a selfless group of people whose only reward was a more respected CLVS program.”

Clune first served as a member of the CLVS Committee and then eventually became the Chair of the CLVS Council, offering his advice to newcomers to the profession, court reporters, and the profession at large. Clune also championed the need for additional, ongoing education for legal videographers, just as is required of their reporter counterparts, and was an integral member of the group that created NCRA’s Trial Presentation Program.

“It is a rare thing when one individual can make such a tremendous contribution to shaping the development of a program like the CLVS certification,” said Jason Levin, CLVS, who currently serves as the CLVS Council Chair. “Brian had a hand in influencing every aspect of this curriculum, from co-authoring the CLVS study book to designing the practical exam to writing questions for the written exam to teaching the majority of CLVS classes at our conventions. The list of his efforts is too large to enumerate. I will miss working with him on the CLVS Council, but I take comfort in knowing that he will easily be found at the YesLaw booth at NCRA Conventions for years to come.”

“I had the pleasure of working side-by-side with Brian for many years as a Council member and as an instructor for the CLVS program,” said Robert MacTavish, an early member of the CLVS Committee. “Throughout those years, Brian skillfully guided us from the VHS era into the digital recording era.”

MacTavish added: “I have many fond memories working with Brian, and I would like to congratulate him on his twenty years of service to the NCRA.”

Giving back to the community: An interview with R. Michael Buie

Possum Talks presentation at the Terrell Unit near Rosharon, Texas

Michael Buie, RPR, CRR, CRC, president and owner of MBA Reporting Services in Plano, Texas, has been a member of NCRA since 1976 and is still a practicing freelance reporter. Throughout his career, he and his wife, Shari, have founded, organized, and participated in several community programs, including:

  • Love in Action for hospitalized children and their siblings
  • The Hearing Heart program, which provides captioning at a local church
  • GED (General Educational Development) classes to inmates

He currently co-teaches an addiction recovery program to inmates at two maximum-security prison units. He also volunteers for Possum Talks, a program he cofounded for incarcerated dads who want to learn how to be faithful fathers from behind bars, in which Buie and his team of 10 volunteers hold six workshops a year throughout north and south Texas.

 

The Possum Talks team poses for a group photo with participant inmates at the Walls Unit in Huntsville, Texas

What prompted you to become involved with the Possum Talks?

I’ve always enjoyed teaching in different venues. In reporting school, I taught academic evening classes and attended full-time day school at McMahon College of Stenotype in Houston. As far as Possum Talks, Shari and I cofounded the organization in 2013. We both had taught addiction recovery to men and women for a couple years and saw firsthand the need to help incarcerated men understand how to be faithful fathers and communicate effectively with their children. There’s a lot of tension exhibited by incarcerated men because they see their children committing many of the same criminal acts, but they feel helpless to do anything about it from behind bars. This results in feelings of aggression, guilt, and hopelessness for many of them. The program is faith-based but structured to encourage men of all faiths or nonfaiths — Judeo-Christian, atheist, Muslim, Satanist, Naturalist, etc. — to value godly principles as the standard for being faithful fathers. We are proud of Possum Talks’ growth in five years. At the one-year mark, in 2014, the program received the Texas Governor’s Award for the most innovative new program in the Texas prison system. Since the program’s inception, Possum Talks has conducted 27 one-day or day-and-a-half workshops in eight different medium- and maximum-security prisons throughout Texas.

How long have you been involved in this work?

I have been involved with teaching inmates since about 2012, first teaching an inmate GED class in math, English, science, social studies, and writing skills. I also co-taught a weekly Bible class in what’s called the SHU, or Secured Housing Unit (maximum security), at Collin County Detention Center for two years. The men of the SHU are confined to a cell 23 hours a day. It was an honor for them to spend that one hour on Thursdays in Bible study with us.

A Possum Talks skit demonstrates communication techniques, at the Boyd Unit near Teague, Texas

What other community service activities do you support?

Shari and I also teach addiction-recovery classes at Buster Cole State Jail and Collin County Detention Center (Fannin and Collin counties) in maximum security. From 1985 to 1996, we both participated in civic outreach for children at what was then the Parkland Memorial Hospital Children’s Unit in Dallas. Shari founded the organization called Your Love in Action, which provided a yearly Christmas program with both corporate and individual donations, like toys, underwear, and health items. The program grew to the point that we filled two FedEx delivery vans, enough to supply hospitalized children (usually burn victims) and their siblings throughout the year. Shari and I, along with our son and daughter, participated as a family in the program for 10 years. I also founded a program called The Hearing Heart in 1996, which provided live CART captioning to individuals who are late-deafened and culturally deaf at a church in Plano, Texas. I and another captioner provided weekly captioning for as many as 20 congregants.

What are the greatest benefits personally and professionally to being involved in community service activities?

Though I’m now over 70 years old and anticipate retirement sometime, I still report as a freelancer and manage my firm. However, now, because of my age, I’m more interested in participating in efforts with eternal value, not just helping relieve social ills.

Why is giving back to the community important?

Giving back to the community is important because 1) it’s the community that provides an environment of peace and security to thrive in as a family and an individual, and 2) according to Matthew 5:16, I’m commanded to give back to the community in such a way that glorifies God, not me. Giving back demonstrates not only positivity to a society in jeopardy but also promotes goodwill and a spirit of cooperation and volunteerism without expectation of benefit or entitlement.

What advice would you give to someone who is seeking to become involved in community service activities?

1) Look at not only your skills as a reporter but 2) your uniqueness as a human being, what makes you unique above and beyond your professional skills, and 3) proactively seek out opportunities to offer these attributes for the good of others. There’s another place in Scripture where the Apostle Paul says that the end result is a resultant peace that transcends all understanding. That’s right where I intend to be during the rest of my reporting career and long afterward.

 

The JCR Weekly will run a series of interviews featuring NCRA members who are giving back to their community in addition to an article in the April issue of the JCR.

‘Niche’ offerings boost Newton’s DMACC campus

JCR: Journal of Court Reporting, TheJCR.com, JCR WeeklyOn Feb. 2, the Newton Daily News posted an article about the unique programs the Des Moines Area Community College offers, including its court reporting program.

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2018 Court Reporting & Captioning Week kicks off in just over a week

NCRA’s 2018 Court Reporting & Captioning Week, Feb. 10-17, kicks off in just over a week, and state associations, individual members, and schools around the country are finalizing their plans to celebrate. From contests to open houses to showcasing realtime at courthouses and at career fairs, the quest is in full swing to raise awareness about the career opportunities available in the court reporting and captioning professions.

Students go for the gold

In celebration of the week, NCRA’s Student/Teacher Committee is sponsoring an Olympic-themed speed test open to all students at varying test speeds. The tests consist of five minutes of dictation at a speed level that each individual student is either currently working on or has just passed. In order to be eligible to win, students must pass the test with 96 percent accuracy. One Literary and one Q&A test will be offered, and the faculty at each school will be responsible for dictating and grading the material.

All students who pass a test are eligible for prizes; winners will be drawn at random for first (gold), second (silver), and third (bronze) prizes. Prizes will include a copy of NCRA’s RPR Study Guide ($125 value) for the gold medal winner, a choice of a one-year NCRA student membership ($46 value) or one leg of the RPR Skills Test ($72.50 value) for the silver medal winner, and a $25 Starbucks gift card for the bronze medal winner.

All students who participate in the contest, even if they don’t pass a test, will have their names and schools published in the Up-to-Speed student newsletter and the JCR. For more information about the rules and registration, please contact Debbie Kriegshauser or Ellen Goff.

Events around the country

To mark this year’s event, the Texas Court Reporters Association (TCRA) is hosting its second annual virtual run, which is themed Peace Love Steno. The run is open to all court reporting and captioning runners, walkers, and exercise enthusiasts. Once participants sign up and register, they can plan their 5K walk/run, which can be completed on a treadmill, around their neighborhood, at a local park, or at the office. TCRA asks that all participants post pictures of themselves completing their walk or run on its Facebook page. The cost to register is $25, and those who complete the 5K earn an antique gold medal with bright psychedelic colors and a purple ribbon.

Theresa Reese, RMR, Honolulu, Hawaii, an official court reporter for the First Circuit Court, will be hosting an event that will include an information kiosk at her courthouse to raise awareness about the profession and the role court reporters play in the judicial system.

In Kansas City, Kan., a court reporter shortage at the Wyandotte County Courthouse has prompted official court reporter Rosemarie A. Sawyer-Corsino, RPR, to plan a meet-and-greet at the courthouse to raise awareness about the need for qualified professionals.

Members and states compete in the annual NSCA challenge

Everyone who participates in an event to celebrate 2018 Court Reporting & Captioning Week is also encouraged to enter NCRA’s National Committee of State Associations (NCSA) fourth annual challenge.

The aim of the challenge is to encourage working professionals to spread the word about what viable career paths court reporting and captioning are. NCSA will review and tally all submissions by members and state associations, and all entries will be eligible for prizes ranging from free webinars to event registrations. More information about the NCSA Challenge is also available at NCRA.org/government.

Still planning? Check out NCRA’s resources

Be sure to visit NCRA’s 2018 Court Reporting & Captioning Week resource center at NCRA.org/Awareness. The site provides numerous resources including:

  • press release templates that state associations, schools, and individuals can use to help promote the week and the profession
  • media advisories to announce specific events
  • talking points
  • social media messages
  • a guide to making the record
  • information on NCRF’s Oral Histories Project, including the Library of Congress Veterans History Project
  • downloadable artwork, including the 2018 Court Reporting & Captioning Week and DiscoverSteno logos
  • brochures about careers in court reporting and captioning
  • a quick link to NCRA’s DiscoverSteno site that includes more information about the free A to Z Intro to Machine Steno program
  • and more

In addition, the 2018 resource center includes an updated, customizable PowerPoint presentation. The presentation is geared toward potential court reporting students and the public in general to bring awareness to the ample opportunities available in the profession.

Remember to share how you celebrate the week by sending information about and photos of your event to NCRA’s Communications Team at pr@ncra.org. Everyone is also encouraged to share his or her activities on social media using the hashtag #DiscoverSteno.