NCRF Purple Heart event highlighted in association magazine

JCR logoAssociations Now posted an article on May 19 that notes the Purple Heart Day, as part of the Veterans History Project, hosted by the National Court Reporters Foundation at the 2016 NCRA Convention & Expo.

Read more.

Convention keynote speaker will help you create magic at your fingertips

NCRA has announced that Steve Wyrick, known as the Daredevil Magician, will present a motivational speech during its Premier Session on Friday as part of the 2017 NCRA Convention & Expo being held Aug. 10-13 in Las Vegas, Nev. Wyrick’s speech will connect the themes of magic at your fingertips with the passion so many court reporters, captioners, and legal videographers have in the profession. Attendees should plan to “leave with the realization that the answers to each of our lives exist within the magic we all possess,” says Wyrick of the session.

Photo of Steve Wyrick (daredevil * magician * TV reality star) in front of a sports carWyrick, who is passionate about magic, explains: “Every person needs as much magic in their life as possible. I experience magic every day. In fact, magic is all around us if we just open our eyes and our hearts. I am fortunate enough to be able to share my secret with my audiences how to recognize the magic and little miracles that happen all around us every day.”

Wyrick is a Las Vegas icon and headline entertainer who has performed for kings, queens, and presidents. Throughout the years, Wyrick has won many awards in magic, including the International Brotherhood of Magicians and the Society of American Magicians. More recently, the International Magician’s Society, the largest magic organization in the world, bestowed on him the Merlin Award for “Magician of the Year.”

Wyrick’s appearance at the NCRA Convention seeks to help attendees find the magic in their own lives and help them visualize their dreams and make them reality. “I have always been able to visualize the impossible. I believe you must be able to see your dreams in order for them to become reality,” says Wyrick. “I’m excited to share a few simple secrets and beliefs that I have developed and utilized in my life over the years. This process can be followed and applied by anyone to pursue their dreams. It is possible to live your dream.”

The session promises to reinspire in attendees a passion for the profession, reminding them that they have the magic at their fingertips. “I have found that there are few things in life that are truly impossible to accomplish if you decide, dedicate, and choose to do them,” says Wyrick. “The most fulfilling reward is to see the look on the faces of people from 9 to 99 years old captivated by my magic and illusion through the power of compelling storytelling.”

The Premier Session will also feature the announcement of the winner of NCRA’s Distinguished Service Award and the installation of the 2017-2018 NCRA Board of Directors. Register now.

Make your Convention & Expo magic by staying at the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino

Planet Hollywood on the Las Vegas Strip

Photo by Wikimedia Commons

NCRA members attending the 2017 NCRA Convention & Expo in Las Vegas, Nev., are reminded that, by booking their stay at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino, they not only receive a specially negotiated room rate as well as a lower daily resort fee in a four-star hotel but they are also supporting their Association.

When NCRA negotiates special room rates at hotels serving as the host site of its meetings, it also is able to secure valuable savings on meeting rooms and exhibit space. Such negotiations are standard practice in the association-meeting world. Another standard practice is that the hotel negotiates that the group holding the event is responsible to incur the costs of any unreserved rooms. The reason is simple. When hotels negotiate with groups for sleeping and meeting space, the sleeping rooms are held in a block, which means they are not made available to other guests. Rooms unfilled in a hotel’s room block can often create a financial burden on the organization holding the event because the hotel’s loss is commonly passed along to the hosting organization, and that, in turn, typically causes the costs of future events to increase.

Great savings on a four-star hotel is just one major benefit to staying in a host hotel when attending an event. Other benefits include convenient access to meeting rooms, the expo site, networking opportunities, and a guest’s reserved room. For the Planet Hollywood venue, guests will also enjoy the convenience of nearby shopping, top-rated restaurants, spas, and more.

The bottom line is that staying at the conference hotel gives attendees a better conference experience and helps keep registration rates low. Do your part to support NCRA and to help ensure costs of future events are kept at the lowest rate possible, not just for you, but for others in your profession who also attend them.

“NCRA is committed to supporting its members by providing the best value possible. One such member benefit includes lower lodging rates and registration fees related to annual events,” said NCRA President-elect Chris Willette, RDR, CRR, CRC. “We appreciate our members who are committed to supporting their Association by taking advantage of the special room rates negotiated on their behalf with Planet Hollywood. The 2017 Convention & Expo — ‘Magic at Your Fingertips!’— is sure to be an exciting and fun-filled event.”

Top five reasons to stay at the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino during the 2017 NCRA Convention & Expo

  • Opportunity to win — NCRA is offering prizes to those staying in the discounted room block at Planet Hollywood, including a refund of your entire convention registration and a Kindle Fire tablet to those who additionally download the app.
  • Organic networking opportunities — There are always convention attendees in the lobby, at the coffee shop, or in one of the several restaurants located in Planet Hollywood, providing additional chances for networking outside of scheduled events.
  • Fast commutes — Staying at Planet Hollywood means a quicker trip to meeting rooms and networking venues as well as the ability to zip back to your room for a quick break without missing all the magic the convention has to offer.
  • More time on the expo floor — Attendees who stay at Planet Hollywood will spend less time walking or taxiing to off-site lodging locations and more time on the expo floor.
  • Shopping and dining at your fingertips — Planet Hollywood offers its guests easy access to top-rated restaurants and exciting shops all under one roof.

Book your hotel and register now.

VHP event hosted by ICRA in the news

JCR logoOn May 1, The Messenger, Fort Dodge, Iowa, posted an article showcasing a Veterans History Project event hosted by members of the Iowa Court Reporters Association and the 2nd Judicial District.

Read more.

INTERSTENO: Demystifying the Intersteno Speech Capturing Competition

By Laura P. Brewer

Are you curious about the Intersteno speed competition (referred to as Speech Capturing at Intersteno), but your eyes glaze over when people start talking about four-point versus one-point penalties; sections A, B, and C; incremental speed increases; testing strategy; and tables for syllables per minute in seven different languages?

Take heart — you are not the only one who gets confused! But don’t let that stop you from participating in something that just might be the highlight of your career. Attending an Intersteno conference and competing in one or more of the competitions is a rewarding and fun experience like no other, and it provides an opportunity to travel to interesting destinations and meet people from around the world who are excited and enthusiastic about stenography.

Next summer – July 2017 – the Intersteno conference will be in Berlin, an interesting and vibrant city with convenient air connections from most major U.S. cities. English is widely spoken in Germany, and German cities are modern, safe, and interesting, making them ideal tourist and business destinations. Team USA is looking for reporters who are interested in joining the American contingent at the Olympics of court reporting, and we would love to see you.

At its core, Intersteno’s Speech Capturing competition is a speed competition, most similar to the literary portion of the annual NCRA Speed Contest. The table below contrasts Intersteno’s Speech Capturing competition with NCRA’s Speed Contest.

Intersteno Speech Capturing Competition NCRA Speed Contest
Length 3 5-minute segments, dictated as one 15-minute take with a pause at the conclusion of minute 5 and minute 10 3 5-minute segments, dictated as separate takes
Speed Literary material (United Nations or European Commission texts)

 

Speed is by syllable count and increases every minute

 

Section C

Slowest speeds

From roughly 92-132 wpm

 

Section B

Moderate speeds

From roughly 144-192 wpm

 

Section C

Fastest speeds

From roughly 205-258 wpm

 

Literary: 220 wpm

Legal Opinion: 230 wpm

Testimony: 280 wpm

 

Speed is word count, not adjusted for syllabic density, so the difficulty can vary depending on the word density of the text.

Rules Rules subject to change before each Intersteno Congress Rules generally remain the same from one year to the next
Errors

Penalties

 

Intersteno weights errors by their significance (Intersteno calls them “penalties”):

 

-4 points – Any error that changes the meaning of the sentence; the first word of a drop.

 

-1 point – All other errors or subsequent words in a drop.

 

-Repeated errors counted only once.

Same guidelines as RPR “What is an error?”

 

-1 point – each error

 

Scoring and Maximum Penalties allowed Sections graded in three-minute segments. For each three-minute segment passed, the grading continues to the next segment. Contestants need only turn in the highest completed section (C, B, or A).

 

Allowed errors range from -24 points to -57 points per three-minute segment as you progress from the slowest to the fastest dictation.

 

 

 

95 percent accuracy required to qualify. Contestants must qualify on all three sections in order to hold a place in the overall rankings. Each 5-minute segment is graded and scored individually, then an overall score is calculated averaging the three takes:

 

Literary – 55 errors

Legal Opinion – 58 errors

Testimony – 70 errors

Time to transcribe 150 minutes 90 minutes per section
Form of dictation Recorded Live
Minimum Accuracy to Qualify or Pass 92%. (Note that some errors are -4 points.) Successful competitors must turn in at least one complete section (C, B, or A) and pass the first three minutes. 95%. To qualify overall, each take must have 95% or greater accuracy.

Join Team USA in Berlin and try your hand at international competition. The spirit and camaraderie are phenomenal and really enhance the experience. Intersteno provides a unique opportunity to get to know your colleagues better in a fun atmosphere.

Team USA participation in Intersteno includes:

  • NCRA member Russell Page is a Washington, D.C.,–area reporter and Intersteno board member who will be the proctor for English contestants for the Speech Capturing Competition in Berlin.
  • NCRA member and long-time Intersteno volunteer Linda Drake, of Savannah, Ga, is on the Intersteno Jury and will be in charge of the Realtime Competition in Berlin.
  • NCRA’s Intersteno Committee, comprising Tori Pittman, RDR, CRI, (chair), Russell Page, Linda Drake, Kelly Linkowski, RPR, CRR, CRC, CPE, and Laura Brewer, RDR, CRR, CRC, will also attend

And we hope to see you.

Laura P. Brewer, RDR, CRR, CRC, is a CART captioner in Los Altos, Calif. She can be reached at lauraquicktext@gmail.com.

More information:

 

Experience the magic of Las Vegas at the NCRA Convention & Expo

Convention_FB_cover photoCatch the magic of savings by registering now for the 2017 NCRA Convention & Expo being held Aug. 10-13 in Las Vegas, Nev. Register by July 4 and take advantage of special rates negotiated for hotel rooms at the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino, the official Convention hotel, and on registration fees for the event. After July 4, the savings on both rooms and registration fees will disappear as rates go up.

The NCRA Convention & Expo is the once-a-year largest gathering of members, court reporting students, teachers, school administrators, legal videographers, and vendors serving the profession and the 2017 event will be no exception. Experience a Premier Session like no other NCRA has ever offered at this year’s Convention, happening in one of the most exciting venues ever.

Attendees who register now to stay in the discounted Convention room block at Planet Hollywood will be automatically entered to win one of two full refunds of their entire registration to the event. In addition, attendees who register to stay at Planet Hollywood on Friday and Saturday nights are eligible to win one of six new Kindle Fire tablets in a giveaway.

Register now to experience the magic of the NCRA Convention & Expo and the special savings on room and registration costs before the chance vanishes.

Celebrating the legal profession on Law Day and year-round

gavel and scales

Photo by: DES Daughter

May 1 marks Law Day, a national day celebrating the role of law in our society and cultivating a deeper understanding of the legal profession, according to the American Bar Association (ABA). In 1957, ABA President Charles S. Rhyne imagined an annual celebration of the legal system, and President Dwight D. Eisenhower acknowledged the importance of the role of law in the creation of the United States when he signed a proclamation a year later. In 1961, Congress officially designated May 1 as Law Day. Each year, ABA chapters, attorneys, and judges across the nation host Law Day programs, which “are designed to help people better understand how law protects our liberty and how our legal system strives to achieve justice,” according to Law Day materials from the ABA.

The purpose of the annual Law Day is similar to the everyday mission of the National Equal Justice Library (NEJL) at Georgetown University’s Law Library. Almost 20 years ago, the NEJL was founded jointly by the ABA, the National Legal Aid and Defender Association, the Association of American Law Schools, and the American Association of Law Libraries. The NEJL was the first, and remains the only, archives dedicated to preserving the history of providing pro bono legal services to those unable to afford counsel. The need for such a collection was prompted after the family of Clara Shortridge Foltz — the first female lawyer in the western states and the person credited with instituting the public defender system in the U.S. — disposed of Foltz’s personal papers without realizing the historic importance of her personal effects.

Court reporters play a crucial role in the legal process both as the guardians of the record and, in their spare time, by preserving important collections from the NEJL as part of the National Court Reporters Foundation (NCRF) Oral Histories Program. Most NCRA members are familiar with the Veterans History Project, the most prominent project in NCRF’s Oral Histories Program, but fewer are familiar with NCRF’s partnership with the NEJL.

“NCRF and NCRA’s fantastic professional staff and volunteer reporters have provided the NEJL with immeasurable support to preserve and make accessible the history of legal aid and indigent defense in the United States,” said Katharina Hering, NEJL’s project archivist. “NCRF and NCRA’s superb volunteer reporters have transcribed all 75 interviews from the first series of oral histories and are currently supporting the NEJL with transcribing our latest series of oral history interviews. All of the available transcripts are posted online through our Digital Georgetown repository, and the interviews are frequently featured on NEJL’s blog, Right On.”

Today, the NEJL archives contains 118 interviews with prominent attorneys, judges, and other members of the legal profession about their work in legal services, including Hillary Rodham Clinton, who worked as a lawyer for the Children’s Defense Fund, and Clinton Bamberger, the first director of the Office of Economic Opportunity Legal Services Program. The archives also include a series of interviews with Abe Krash, Bruce Jacob, and Anthony Lewis, key participants and observers of Gideon v. Wainwright, a landmark 1963 ruling that obligated states to provide legal counsel to criminal defendants unable to afford it. In 2013, the NEJL embarked on a new phase of the oral history project, focusing on second-generation leaders of the legal aid movement, such as Dennis Groenenboom, the executive director of Iowa Legal Aid.

“These attorneys have worked tirelessly to create programs such as self-help, low- and no-cost representation, as well as elder law,” said Heidi Darst, RMR, CRR, an official reporter from Rockwall, Texas, who has transcribed multiple interviews from the NEJL collections. “What has been most memorable for me in all of the interviews is the level of dedication these fine lawyers have to providing equal access to legal representation, even if it means taking a job that may not be a guaranteed paycheck starting out or located in good areas to raise their families. Transcribing the NEJL interviews is a great opportunity for busy reporters to give back to the legal community.”

The NEJL still has plenty of collections that need to be transcribed, according to Hering. Transcribing from these collections is a worthy celebration of the legal profession on Law Day and year-round.

“The NEJL is currently seeking transcribers for interviews from our new series of oral history interviews, including eight interviews documenting the history of Community Legal Services in Philadelphia, which were conducted in 2016,” said Hering.

The library also gratefully accepts donations of oral histories documenting the legal services work of attorneys, judges, and court reporters, as its small staff of a single interviewer and single archivist limits the number of interviews it can conduct. The NEJL’s Oral History Recording and Donation Guidelines can be found online.

Working reporters earn 0.25 PDC per completed transcript they submit as part of NCRF’s Oral Histories Program, up to 1.0 PDC per education cycle. If you would like more information about the NEJL, please contact April Weiner, NCRF’s Foundation Manager at aweiner@ncra.org, or Katharina Hering, NEJL’s project archivist at kh781@georgetown.edu.

The magic is at your fingertips

Join hundreds of NCRA members, court reporting students, teachers, and school administrators in Las Vegas, Nev., for the 2017 NCRA Convention & Expo, Aug. 10-13.

Registration is now open for the 2017 NCRA Convention & Expo being held Aug. 10-13 at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas, Nev. Members can take advantage of special rates negotiated for their stay at the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino, the official hotel of the 2017 NCRA Convention & Expo.

  • Sunday, Aug. 6 – Thursday, Aug. 10: $109 per night
  • Friday, Aug. 11 – Saturday, Aug. 12: $199 per night

Each year, Convention attendees note the many conveniences and benefits of staying at the event’s host hotel, including easy access to the Expo Hall and meeting spaces. This year’s host hotel promises the same and much more. Being connected to the Miracle Mile, guests of Planet Hollywood will also enjoy immediate access to some of the best dining, entertainment, and shopping opportunities that Las Vegas has to offer.

In addition, NCRA members who book their stays at Planet Hollywood & Casino also have a significant impact on helping to keep lodging and event costs down for future conventions by ensuring the Association meets its room block.

Con collage

“NCRA is committed to supporting its members by providing the best value possible. One such member benefit includes lower lodging rates and registration fees related to annual events,” said Chris Willette, RDR, CRR, CRC, NCRA President-elect. “We appreciate our members who are committed to supporting their Association by taking advantage of the special room rates negotiated on their behalf with Planet Hollywood. The 2017 Convention & Expo — ‘Magic at Your Fingertips!’ — is sure to be an exciting and fun-filled event.”

As always, the Convention schedule is jam-packed with educational sessions, the latest in new products and services showcased on the Expo Hall floor, and an array of networking opportunities that can’t be found anywhere else.

NCRA’s Education Content Committee has planned a series of carefully curated sessions to support the growth of every reporter and captioner, featuring can’t-miss sessions on business, captioning, judicial reporting, realtime, and technology. There will also be specialized programs, including the student seminar, Teachers Workshop, and the Certified Realtime Captioner Workshop. In addition, Margie Wakeman Wells, CRI, will again present her Punctuation Workshop.

The Convention will also feature a number of networking opportunities that will help attendees make contacts with fellow professionals from across the country and around the world. Networking sessions include:

  • the Opening Reception on Thursday evening
  • Friday morning’s Premier Session
  • the Saturday Awards Luncheon
  • the President’s Party on Saturday night

Attendees can also participate in the governance of the association by attending the Annual Business Meeting held on Thursday, where members can offer their opinions on the direction of the association and ask questions of the board members.

For more information or to register, visit NCRA.org/convention.

Other highlights:

  • Engage in some lively competition with the national Speed and Realtime Contests, or just come to watch some of the top reporters in the world battle it out for the trophy. (The winners are announced during the Awards Luncheon along with other distinguished guests.)
  • Participate in the governance of your Association at the Annual Business Meeting, where members can offer their opinions on the direction of the Association and ask questions of the Board members.
  • Don’t miss this year’s Premier Session. The Premier Session includes the installation of NCRA’s incoming Board of Directors, the announcements of NCRA’s Distinguished Service Award recipient (the Association’s highest honor) and NCRA’s Educator of the Year, and — of course — the keynote. This year our keynote is big — think Vegas, think positivity, think about the magic that is at your fingertips every day.
  • Find out what’s happening in each of the states during the National Committee of State Associations meeting. State leaders use this time to exchange information about the latest legislative and other issues affecting court reporting and captioning professionals.

INTERSTENO: Registration for Internet Keyboarding Competition closes April 16

Last chance to register for Intersteno’s Internet Keyboarding Competition and find out how your keyboarding skills rate around the world

Intersteno’s Internet Keyboarding Competition, held April 17 through May 9 via its website, allows steno machine writers and other keyboarders to test their skills and find out how they rate worldwide. Registration for Intersteno’s Internet Keyboarding Competition closes April 16. NCRA members who place in the contest will be listed in upcoming issues of the JCR and JCR Weekly.

“I really enjoyed competing in the Intersteno Internet contest,” says Mark Kislingbury, RDR, CRR, who participated for the first time in 2016. Kislingbury is a past NCRA Speed and Realtime Contest winner. “It was a completely new experience, learning to write realtime while reading from text (as opposed to hearing it dictated). It’s very challenging and certainly takes practice. The practice section of the website was very good, so I could practice a lot until I decided to take my test when I felt ready.”

“The Internet Competition will whet your appetite to participate in Intersteno,” says Tori Pittman, RDR, CRI, Chair of NCRA’s Intersteno Task Force.

Competitors will use the Taki software, which is a free download on the Intersteno website, and can participate on a day of their own choosing between April 1 and May 9. It’s up to the individual to decide how they want to enter the contest — whether using a steno machine or a regular keyboard.

“It was really nice seeing so many competitors around the world using mostly a computer keyboard and how amazingly fast they were,” said Kislingbury. “I hope to compete again this year and significantly increase my characters per minute.”

Court reporting programs can register groups of student and host a competition for a class or entire school in conjunction with the event. Court reporting students who are interested in participating should contact their instructor about registering.

To enter, competitors should provide the following information: 1) full name and address; 2) year of birth; 3) technology to be used (keyboard, stenotype machine); 4) language: choose mother-tongue or multilingual; and 5) the date they plan to take the test to intersteno@ncra.org. The cost of the contest in U.S. dollars is:

  • $6 for participation only in the mother tongue
  • $8 for competitors writing in two or more languages

Checks must be received by NCRA no later than April 14. Participants will be registered once the check is received. Checks should be made payable to NCRA and mailed to:

NCRA
Attention: Internet Competition
12030 Sunrise Valley Dr., Suite 400
Reston, VA 20191

More information on the contest is available at intersteno.org/intersteno-internet-contests/.

 

Interested in the Intersteno Internet Contest? Check out these stories:

Get a taste of international competition without leaving your office

NCRA’s Intersteno Task Force interviews the winners of the Intersteno Internet Keyboarding Contest

Things to learn, people to meet: Navigating the NCRA Convention & Expo as a student

Three smiling female students at the NCRA Convention & ExpoCourt reporting students agree: Meeting new people and learning new things are the best reasons to attend a conference like the NCRA Convention & Expo. Students who have attended one of the past Conventions share their advice for making the most out of the experience, just in time for the 2017 NCRA Convention & Expo, Aug. 10-13, at the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, Nev.

Network, network, network

Without a doubt, networking is one of the top reasons to attend a convention, and the Convention atmosphere itself helps. “Conventions are just a lot of fun. Reporters have a great time when they’re all together,” says Sarah Hamilton, a student at the College of Court Reporting in Valparaiso, Ind.

The NCRA Convention & Expo is the largest gathering of court reporters and captioners in the country, so students have a good chance of meeting a wide range of working professionals, including people students may already be familiar with. “It’s great to put a face to a name,” said Hamilton.

“I’ve met people who’ve really made me feel lucky, and that I’ve chosen the right field,” said Kristina Carmody, a student at Cuyahoga Community College in Cleveland, Ohio. Carmody mentioned a few examples of working reporters who have helped her with advice: “Steve Zinone, RPR, is the most humble, easiest person to talk to. He not only motivated me to continue the hard work, but he reminded of all the success we can really achieve if we continue to work for it. He is unbelievably positive and so nice.” She also mentioned Sue Terry, RPR, CRR. “She has advice and experience in every avenue, and she’s been so generous and sweet to me. She has told me how to keep pushing through doubts and given great pointers to practice.”

Networking can be intimidating, but court reporting students have found a few strategies to help. Larona Cooper, a student at MacCormac College in Chicago, Ill., suggests being proactive and introducing yourself to other court reporters. She also suggests “preparing a couple of questions in advance to ask other court reporters to assist you in your career choice” as an icebreaker.

Katelyn Van Slycke, a student at San Antonio College in San Antonio, Texas, says, “Find a working reporter and tag along with them. Have someone who will invite you to sit with them or go out on the town with them. It makes a big difference when you’re in a new city.”

Students and the NCRA Board of Directors mingle at Convention

Christine Willette, 2017-2018 NCRA President, mingles with students at a Board of Directors meet-and-greet at the NCRA Convention & Expo

A few of the scheduled events can help with networking. Shaunise Day, a student at West Valley College in Saratoga, Calif., says, “Attend the Awards Luncheon and sit at a table where you don’t know anyone. You will walk away feeling proud and inspired.” Jessica Frizzell, a student at College of Court Reporting in Valparaiso, Ind., recommends going to the president’s suite to meet the NCRA Board of Directors, which is part of the student track.

Feeling shy? Frizzell suggests wearing the student ribbon on your name badge — it will do the work for you. “I was a bit shy and nervous at first and didn’t know who to talk to or how to approach them,” she says. “If you wear that student ribbon, people will come to you!”

However a student chooses to network, the point is to use these conversations to your advantage. “You need to truly listen to what someone is telling you even if you think you’re years away from ever encountering such a thing,” says Hamilton. “Really be open-minded about the advice you receive and know that working reporters sincerely want to help you because they are so passionate about this profession.”

The Convention can also provide a boost in inspiration. “I enjoy my schooling and enjoy this profession, but the people I met and spoke with at Convention reminded me of why I’m working so hard and lit a fire in me to practice even harder so I can get out there and be a part of the working world,” says Frizzell.

Of course, the true value of networking happens after the event. “Make an effort to stay in touch with friends you make during the Convention,” says Christine Ho, a student at Mark Kislingbury’s Academy of Court Reporting. Follow up with everyone you meet once you get home, and then contact them regularly with updates, questions, or a simple hello. After all, one of your new contacts may be a future employer.

Getting the most out of sessions

The NCRA Convention & Expo includes a student track with sessions and activities that are designed to motivate students, help them find a community, and learn new strategies of getting through school.

Michael Roberts, a student at Brown College of Court Reporting in Atlanta, Ga., attended a session entitled “Finishing your program: You can do this!” given by Eileen Beltz at the 2017 Convention in Chicago. “Hearing stories from others who have had the same struggles is encouraging because you find out you’re not the only one dealing with these conflicts,” he says.

Kensie Benoit and Clay Frazier present at the NCRA Convention & Expo

Kensie Benoit and Clay Frazier present at the NCRA Convention & Expo

Day cites the session “What I Didn’t Learn in Court Reporting School” from the 2015 Convention in San Francisco, given by Kensie Benoit and Clay Frazier, RMR, CRR, as particularly motivating. “I was on the verge of deciding to give up a few months prior, and it wasn’t until I sat in on this seminar and realized that I can and will finish school despite my many challenges with working full time and going to school full time,” she says. She also learned about the many steno Facebook groups during this session.

Sessions are also a good way to meet working reporters who you admire. Cooper found the “Punctuation for the Real World” seminar moderated by Margie Wakeman Wells, CRI, at the 2017 Convention in Chicago, to be particularly helpful. “I could have listened to her all day to glean wisdom from her years of experience,” she said. “She directed the students in her seminar to read and practice our steno outlines from business magazines such as Newsweek and Time in order to increase our vocabulary, knowledge of current events, and steno writing skills.”

Linda Perez, a student at Downey Adult School in Downey, Calif., points out that one of the reasons to attend Convention is “to learn up-to-date demands in the work field.” The student track includes a couple time slots in which students can attend any session they want, and many students who have attended before recommend sitting in on a few of the sessions that are geared toward working professionals.

Carmody sat in on a session on writing more efficiently. “It was nice to have new pointers and to be able to hear different perspectives and opinions from multiple professionals, students, and schools,” she said.

Mixing and mingling in the Expo Hall

Don’t forget that the Convention includes an Expo Hall with vendors representing a variety of products and services and NCRA staff members with information about different NCRA programs and resources. In addition, several social events are held in the Expo Hall, including the Opening Reception. Day suggests using the Expo Hall as a place to mingle — with so many people around, you’re bound to make a connection.

A man in a suit shows a steno machine to a reporter at the Expo Hall

Trying a new machine at the Expo Hall

The Expo Hall also provides students the opportunity to begin planning what they’ll need once they enter the working world. “Talk to all the vendors about their products even if buying expensive equipment is still far in the future for you,” recommends Hamilton. Day advises also trying out different writers.

Alternatively, students may find resources in the Expo Hall that can help them right away. Day says, “Make a list of books that you’ve always wanted, and purchase them at the Expo. Books are normally sold at a discounted Convention rate.”

Top ten tips for students attending the NCRA Convention & Expo

  1. Find a reporter who you can pair up with if you are by yourself.
  2. Load the NCRA app before attending to get an overview of the Convention.
  3. If you are in higher speeds, sit in on some of the regular (not student) seminars.
  4. Court reporters love students! So be prepared to mingle with reporters who come up to you.
  5. Attend Convention as a group with other students to maximize your experience.
  6. It can be very overwhelming at times, so make sure you slow down and try to relax.
  7. Be on time to all student seminars, and sit in front.
  8. Make student business cards.
  9. Every single day at the convention has something new. Try to get as much knowledge as possible with everything being offered.
  10. Talk to as many people as you can.

And the number one tip for court reporting students thinking of attending the NCRA Convention & Expo? Perez sums it up: “Do it. Go. It is an investment.”