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.”

Firm Owners Executive Conference combines fun and learning for attendees

More than 180 attendees and guests networked between educational sessions at the 2017 NCRA Firm Owners Executive Conference held Feb. 12-14 in Tucson, Ariz.

080_resizedKeynote speaker Susan Solovic took to the stage and shared with attendees her insights and secrets to becoming a successful entrepreneur. Solovic, an Internet pioneer who cofounded and grew one of the first video-based Internet sites to a million-dollar-plus entity, is also an award-winning serial entrepreneur and best-selling author. Learn more about Solovic’s presentation.

Also on the bill was Laurie Forster, one of America’s leading wine experts and author of the award-winning book The Sipping Point: A Crash Course in Wine. Forster hosted a wildly successful fun-filled networking session where attendees identified wines and teamed up to develop their own wine and brand.

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Attendees present their wine brand during the “Name That Wine” session

Multi-time attendee Anthony Krause, vice president of McCorkle Litigation Services in Chicago, Ill., said he enjoyed keynote speaker Solovic as well as the networking opportunities that were available.

“I have attended perhaps many Firm Owner events. I would tell someone thinking of attending to be sure and attend the main seminars as well as all of the networking events,” he said.

Other highlights of the event included a presentation by Mike Nelson, NCRA CEO and Executive Director, of the findings from NCRA’s 2016 Firm Owners Economic Benchmarking Survey, and two sessions led by Nancy Varallo, RDR, CRR, owner of The Varallo Group, Worcester, Mass., that addressed “Mobilizing Your Dreams: A 21st Century Strategic Plan” and “Journey to the Center of a Client Decision.”

Firm Owners attendees participate in the poker run

Firm Owners attendees participate in the poker run

“The networking opportunities were great. I also learned a lot of good marketing strategies, which I am already employing in my business,” said first-time attendee Beth Fein, CLVS, with BWA Video in Houston, Texas.

Other sessions addressed understanding financial statements and competing successfully. Attendees also participated in a poker-run nature-hike networking event and a special Valentine’s Day closing reception.

The 2018 NCRA Firm Owners Executive Conference is scheduled for Jan.28-30 in St. Petersburg, Fla., at the Loews Don CeSar Hotel.

2017 Court Reporting & Captioning Week: It’s been a very busy week

Members of state court reporting associations across the country have spent the week celebrating their profession by participating in career fairs, visiting court reporting schools, hosting Veterans History Project events, and being quoted by local media, in honor of the 2017 Court Reporting & Captioning Week.

State associations and schools around the country promote the profession

For members of the Kansas Court Reporters Association (KCRA), however the week proved to be exceptionally busy. KCRA members kicked off the week by meeting with the state’s governor and securing an official proclamation recognizing 2017 Court Reporting & Captioning Week. In addition, representatives from the association were also invited to visit with members of the state’s Supreme Court where they also secured another official proclamation and pictures with the justices.

Left to right: Cayley Rodrigue, Kelley Morrison, Judge Michael Joyce, Brenda Highberger, Cindy Isaacsen, Judge Thomas Sutherland

Left to right: Cayley Rodrigue, Kelley Morrison, Judge Michael Joyce, Brenda Highberger, Cindy Isaacsen, Judge Thomas Sutherland

KCRA members marched onward throughout the week with other stops. They visited with members of the State Judiciary Committee where reporters provided a realtime presentation that left the attendees mesmerized. They also visited with members of the Johnson Board of County Commissioners complete with breakfast and another realtime demonstration that led to yet another official proclamation recognizing the week.

KCRA members wrapped up their celebration with a special write-a-thon at Neosho County Community College to help raise funds to aid students in its court reporting program.

“It’s been a very busy week,” said Cindy Isaacsen RPR, an official court reporter from Olathe and president of KCRA.

Kelley Morrison provides a demonstration

Kelley Morrison provides a demonstration

“I think I’ve said Court Reporting & Captioning Week about 1.75 million times. This week was just another way to spread the word about court reporting and captioning. It’s not just the young people we have to educate about what we do,” Isaacsen added. “My judge always says that I think court reporting is the best job out there … he’s right.”

2017 Court Reporting & Captioning Week also earned national recognition from U.S. Rep. Ron Kind (Wis.) in a floor speech before the U.S. House of Representatives on Feb. 14, and by state governors in Alabama, California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Washington, and Wisconsin as well as by officials in Bexar County, Texas.

Presentation at Bryan University

Presentation at Bryan University

Other activities included visits with students at GateWay Community College in Phoenix and Bryan University in Tempe, both in Arizona. A number of members who visited with students were in the area attending the 2017 NCRA Firm Owners Executive Conference being held in Tucson. Students at both sites were able to ask the professionals questions and for advice. The panel discussion at Bryan University was open to both on-site and online students.

Members of the Missouri Court Reporters Association visited with state legislators in Jefferson City when they held their annual cookie drop. “We are always warmly received and welcomed, and this time was no different,” said Linda M. Dattilo, RPR, an official court reporter from Florissant, Mo., and the association’s executive director.

Students at GateWay Community College

Students at GateWay Community College

“They know when we’re coming, and we’ve had senators call our lobbyists and ask where the cookies are because they are waiting for them. At the end of the day, we’re always exhausted by all the running around, but satisfied, and hopefully they are too,” she added.

Members of the Wisconsin Court Reporters Association also promoted the court reporting and captioning professions at an open house held by North Wisconsin Technical College in Green Bay.

Finding the spotlight: Court Reporting & Captioning Week in the news

As with all previous Court Reporting & Captioning Week celebrations, the efforts of NCRA members at the state and local levels were also successful in getting the word about the profession and its benefits as a career to media outlets in their areas. Among those:

NCRF Hard-of-Hearing Heroes oral histories project spotlighted

The Andrews Gazette (Easton, Md.) posted an article about the Hard-of-Hearing Heroes Veterans History Project event that NCRF and the Hearing Loss Association of America will host on Feb. 18 in Bethesda, Md., as part of NCRA’s 2017 Court Reporting & Captioning Week.

DMACC hosting activities for National Court Reporting & Captioning Week

The Newton Daily News posted an article on Feb. 9 announcing that the Des Moines Area Community College, Des Moines, Iowa, is hosting several events to mark 2017 Court Reporting & Captioning Week. Among the activities will be two information sessions where prospective students can learn about the court reporting and captioning professions.

Illinois governor recognizes 2017 Court Reporting & Captioning Week

In an article posted Feb. 13, the RegisterNews.com, Mt. Vernon, Ill., announced that Gov. Bruce Rauner has designated Feb. 11-18 as National Court Reporting & Captioning Week. The article also noted that several court reporters from the 2nd Judicial Circuit will promote the profession at an upcoming local career fair.

Planet Depos announces success of court reporter mentoring program

In a press release issued Feb. 13, Planet Depos reported that its Planet Institute, a student-to-career mentoring program, has had a successful first year.

Oklahoma court reporting firm launches education and advocacy effort

In a press release issued Feb. 10, NCRA member Ginger Baze, owner of Steno Services in Hugo, Okla., announced that her firm is launching an outreach and education campaign for National Court Reporting & Captioning Week.

Court reporting schools to exhibit at career day event in Texas

The Gilmer [Texas] Mirror posted an article on Feb. 13 about the Texas Supreme Court holding a formal court session to hear oral arguments in two cases at LeTourneau University in Longview, in conjunction with “Law as a Career Day” being held on campus. Numerous law schools, paralegal schools, and court reporting schools will have recruiting booths on-site.

Celebrating the silent keepers of the record

Star Levandowski, director of marketing at Stenograph, posted a blog on Feb. 3 highlighting the top three reasons to admire the stenography profession in honor of Court Reporting & Captioning Week.

But wait … there’s more

Read more about how national and state associations, schools, and vendors have celebrated Court Reporting & Captioning Week. You can also follow along on Facebook and Twitter.

NCRA announces nominees for 2017 JCR Awards

JCRawardsNCRA has announced the JCR Award nominees for 2017. The stories of the finalists will be published as featured articles in the March JCR.

The awards were conceived as a way to recognize and highlight the exemplary professionalism, community service, and business practices of NCRA members. Nominations overall were reviewed for components that included compelling stories that bring to life innovative, successful business strategies used to help overcome obstacles that have hindered professional growth. A new category was introduced for 2017 that recognized efforts associated with NCRA’s Court Reporting & Captioning Week.

Awards will be given in the following categories: marketing and consumer service, leadership and team-building, use of technology, community outreach, and service in a nonlegal setting. Both individuals and organizations could be nominated. In addition to nominations for categories listed above, a firm or an individual who has displayed excellence in more than one category will be honored with an overall “best of the year” award.

Nominees for the 2017 JCR Awards are as follows:

Leadership, teambuilding, and mentoring:

  • Robin Nodland, RDR, CRR, Portland, Ore.
  • Karen Ruud, CRI, Madison, Wis.
  • Doreen Sutton, RPR, Scottsdale, Ariz.
  • Erminia Uviedo, RDR, CRR, San Antonio, Texas

This category focuses on those who have created programs that encouraged others to build skills or work together to complete a project. Providing a realtime program for employees to better place a firm as a realtime leader or a court reporting program that aids students in creating connections within a broader court reporting and captioning community would be two examples.

Use of technology: 

  • Jen Krueger, RMR, CRI, CPE, Parma, Ohio
  • Jay Vettickal, CRI, Hobart, Ind.

This category highlights innovative thinking by members who use technology to better market their skills or were able to effectively and efficiently use technology to create a better product for a client. For instance, an effective public relations plan using social media or the effective use of technology in the courthouse would fit this category.

Community outreach:

  • Aimee Goldberg, Minneapolis, Minn.
  • Doreen Sutton, RPR, Scottsdale, Ariz.

This category offers members the chance to show their philanthropic work. Two examples include organizing a Veterans History Project Day or raising money for a charity.

Service in a nonlegal setting: 

  • Deanna Baker, RMR, Flagstaff, Ariz.

This category offers NCRA members the chance to offer best practices for a nonlegal setting, including remote CART, captioning, or another new initiative.

Court Reporting & Captioning Week (2016) initiative:

  • Cuyahoga Community College Captioning and Court Reporting Program, Parma, Ohio
  • Los Angeles County Court Reporters Association, Los Angeles, Calif.
  • Doreen Sutton, RPR, Scottsdale, Ariz.
  • Erminia Uviedo, RDR, CRR, San Antonio, Texas

This category includes any event, promotion, or other activity that occurred during or in conjunction with NCRA’s 2016 Court Reporting & Captioning Week, Feb. 14-20.

NCRA wishes each of the nominees the best of luck and thanks them or their nominators for their participation in the 2017 JCR Awards.

Five minutes with Realtime Champ Dee Boenau

Deanna Boenau_2016 Realtime ContestThe JCR reached out to Dee Boenau, RDR, CRR, CRC, a broadcast captioner in Sarasota, Fla., about her Realtime Contest win, the importance of realtime, practice tips, and using the spotlight to promote the profession.

What appealed to you about competing in the speed and realtime contests?

I’ve always competed just as a way to see how my skills have improved. It’s fun and exciting to see how the changes I have made to my theory over the years have increased my speed and accuracy.

 Do you have a preference on which one you would prefer to win?

I like to win the Realtime Contest because realtime writing is what I do, and I believe realtime translation is the lifeblood of court reporting and captioning. However, I would not mind adding the prestigious title of Speed Contest Champion to my achievements and having my name added to the historical list of greats in our profession.

 How do you find the two contests different?

I write both contests in the mind-set of realtime. There really is no difference to me other than the faster speed and the opportunity for editing in the Speed Contest. Nerves can be devastating, though, in the Realtime Contest. If the nerves creep in during the Speed Contest, I know I have a chance to edit it. I guess I am a little harder on myself just before the Realtime Contest because of nerves.

Have you been practicing for the upcoming contests?

I do practice close to the time of the contests. I simply don’t have the time to practice year-round. I prefer to actively use my skills in the real world and to further enhance my ability to make a living. Whether I am reporting or captioning, I always review my work. I can’t stress enough to captioners the importance of reading one’s work and looking up what one missed. Over the years, too, practice would be boring to me because it was always the same dictation tapes. Now there are new programs on the market, like ev360 Ultimate, that take practicing to a whole different level and make it fun, too. The last couple of years I’ve been practicing more because of the program.

What advice would you have for a person who has never been in a speed contest before? How can they get started?

Just do it. Sign up and jump right in. The contests may humble you and inspire you at the same time. You could be the next Jeffrey Weigl, RMR, CRR, CRC, or Julianne LaBadia,  RDR, CRR, CRC.

You’ve received quite a lot of coverage based on your wins in the past few years. What has that been like? Do you have any advice for other reporters or captioners who find themselves in the limelight?

When I found myself in the limelight, I spoke with passion. I love writing on the steno machine; it is my favorite piece of technology. Without the steno machine, I could not do my job as a reporter making a record and as a captioner providing communication accessibility to thousands of people. You can’t go wrong talking about what you love because it all comes so naturally. When I first won the Realtime Contest, I was thrilled with the machine I was using and enjoyed talking about it and the technology behind it. When a person speaks with such passion about his or her profession and the advancing technology, it can only inspire others to inquire about court reporting or captioning.

Is there any advice you can give to other NCRA members on how each of us can be an advocate for our profession?

Be the best you can be. Stand up for what is right. Keep the professional image alive.

Any questions we missed or should have asked?

I want to thank NCRA and the Contests Committee for continuing to support the contests. It is a huge undertaking and a sacrifice of convention time for the committee members. I’ve heard that they are often grading papers when people are returning from late-night festivities. Admittedly, the contests are a large part of the reason why I’ve attended the convention 17 years in a row. Yes, I learn from the seminars, but the contests give the convention the wow factor. Thank you, NCRA, past sponsors, and any future sponsors!

Read our interview with Speed Champ Jeff Weigl.

Court reporting program hosts fundraiser

jcr-publications_high-resWASW-TV7 reported on Feb. 16 that the Neosho County College’s court reporting program in Ottawa, Kan., will hosted a write-a-thon fundraiser for students in conjunction with a bake sale in honor of Court Reporting & Captioning Week. The effort is to help raise funds to assist students of the program with tuition.

Read more.

Court reporters talk of shortage, try to recruit more

jcr-publications_high-resChannel WSAW reported on Feb. 15 that the Wisconsin Court Reporters Association is holding a series of open houses across the state in honor of Court Reporting & Captioning Week. The goal is to convince more people to go into the profession.

Read more.

Sign up for the New York open-competitive court reporting exam

New York courthouseThe filing period for the New York State Office of Court open-competitive examination for court reporters is open through April 5. This is the lower court civil service examination and qualifies those who pass to work in the state’s court system. Candidates are not required to be residents of New York. The examination will be administered statewide on May 20, 2017. For more information, an online examination application, or an orientation guide, visit nycourts.gov.

Court reporting schools to exhibit at career day event in Texas

jcr-publications_high-resThe Gilmer [Texas] Mirror posted an article on Feb. 13 about the Texas Supreme Court holding a formal court session to hear oral arguments in two cases at LeTourneau University in Longview,  in conjunction with a “Law as a Career Day” being held on campus. Numerous law schools, paralegal schools, and court reporting schools will have recruiting booths on-site.

Read more.