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.

Local court reporting firm owner elected to NCRA leadership

The Wausau Daily Herald posted a press release on Nov. 25 issued by NCRA announcing that Christine J. Willette, RDR, CRR, CRC, of Wausau, was installed as the Association’s 2016-2017 President-elect in early August during the NCRA Convention & Expo held in Chicago.

Deposition horrors!

JCR publications share buttonIn honor of Halloween, JD Supra Business Advisor posted a blog on Oct. 27 that features several humorous horror stories from the deposition room. The blog was written by Suzanne Quinson of Planet Depos.

Read more.

NCRA offers chance at Kindle Fire for early membership renewal

By Jennifer Late

Members who renew their NCRA memberships in October are offered an additional enticement: the chance to win a Kindle Fire. Members who renew before Nov. 1 will automatically be entered into the drawing and the winner will be notified by the NCRA membership department.

Members benefit by renewing early. It’s green; less mail to you. It’s clutter-free; fewer reminder emails to your inbox. It’s beneficial; your benefits are not interrupted. Member benefits continue to include:

  • A listing* in both the print and online versions of the NCRA Sourcebook
  • A subscription to the JCR magazine and the JCR Weekly
  • Multiple certification programs with online skills tests designed to make you more money
  • Access to discounted group insurance programs through Mercer for personal liability and errors and omissions
  • Member pricing to can’t-miss networking and educational events at the NCRA Convention & Expo (Aug. 10-13, 2017) and Firm Owners Executive Conference
  • First-class online educational opportunities

Last year’s lucky winner of the early membership renewal Kindle Fire was David E. Preston, a participating member and freelance reporter from Seattle, Wash. “Membership in NCRA has always been important to me as a freelance reporter because the Association fights for our profession in ways I, as a sole proprietor, cannot,” said Preston. “The all-around support I receive from NCRA has been an underpinning of my business, and the Association keeps us relevant as a profession.”

NCRA will continue the early membership renewal drive in November

NCRA members who renew their 2017 memberships in November will be eligible to win an NCRA Online Sourcebook Premium Plus listing for one year. The winner will also be announced in an upcoming issue of the JCR Weekly newsletter.

Renewing is easy and available online at Members can expect to receive their membership card via email within approximately two weeks of renewing if they have a valid email address and have not previously opted out of Constant Contact email messaging.

Jennifer Late is NCRA’s Membership & Marketing Manager. She can be reached at

* Registered, Participating, and Associate members are eligible for this benefit.

Oneida County court reporter sheds light on court reporting profession

NCRA member Lynn Penfield, RPR, CRR, an official court reporter from Harshaw, Wis., was featured in a story posted by WHFW-Channel 12 on Sept. 20. In the piece, Penfield talks about how she entered the profession.

Read more.

Fellowship of Academy of Professional Reporters nominations open

fellows1NCRA is currently seeking nominations for its Academy of Professional Reporters. Nominations are due Dec. 15. Fellows represent the pinnacle of excellence among NCRA members. They are individuals who are a credit to the reporting and captioning professions and embody the highest level of professional ethics. Their support of the profession can be seen in their activity in professional associations at the state or national level or through a number of other venues. If you know of such a person who has not been named to the Academy, now is your chance to recognize his or her contributions to the profession. View the full criteria and download a nomination form at

Court reporter plans move to closed captioning career

The Leader-Telegram, Eau Claire, Wis., posted an article on Sept. 19 about Dunn County court reporter Cory Crandall, RMR, CRR, of Menomonie, who is retiring after 26 years to transition into the field of captioning.

Read more.

Sheriff gets 40 backpacks of hope

The Times Daily, Florence, Ala., posted an article on Sept. 12, about a donation of 40 backpacks by members of the Alabama Court Reporting Inc. to support the Lauderdale County Sherriff’s Department’s “My Guardian Angel” program. The program provides children being moved to foster homes the backpacks in place of plastic bags to pack their personal items.

Read more.

NCRA member recognized for new certification

The Fairborn Daily Herald, Fairborn, Ohio, posted an article on Sept., 12, about NCRA member Julie Hohenstein, RPR, CRR, earning her Certified Realtime Reporter certification. The article was generated by a press release issued by NCRA on behalf of Hohenstein, who works for the Greene County Common Pleas Court.

Read more.

There’s still time!

By Natalie Dippenaar

This is part two of a three-part series. Part one was titled, “What can I do in a month?

Why do I need CEUs?

First, let’s explain that CEU stands for Continuing Education Unit. A CEU is a unit of credit equal to 10 hours of participation in an accredited program designed for professionals with certificates or licenses to practice their professions. To answer the question more directly, many certifications and professions ranging from lawyers to hair dressers, require professionals to participate in continuing education programs for a certain number of hours every year in order to keep their certificates or skills current. The field of court reporting and captioning demands that its practitioners acquire and maintain a broad base of knowledge. This is important – it means your skills will stay up to date and your certification is truly worth all the effort you have put into it.

How can I earn CEUs?

There are several last-minute options to earn CEUs if your cycle is expiring at the end of the month. Members can sign up for webinars scheduled throughout the month of September. In addition, e-seminars and book and article tests, to name a few, are a great way to earn last-minute CEUs at on your own schedule.

Webinars can earn you 0.1 or 0.15 CEU.

  • Friday, Sept. 16: 5 – 6 p.m. ET (0.1 CEU)

Disability awareness and etiquette: More than one out of every five individuals in the United States has a disability. As the baby boomer population ages, the prevalence of disability is expected to increase. People with disabilities are entitled to the same courtesies you would extend to anyone. Yet many of us have not had personal experience with a person who has a disability and/or have not been exposed to a wide variety of types of disabilities and, thus, feel awkward or inadequately prepared to interact or respond appropriately. This session will review common disabilities and discuss courtesies and responses that are applicable in everyday interactions. Individuals will have an opportunity to dialogue about personal experiences and discuss specific situations with the presenter, Robin Jones. Register here.

  • Thursday, Sept. 22: 4 – 5 p.m. ET (0.1 CEU)

Developing resiliency: Six powerful strategies to thrive at work: During this webcast, Dr. Kevin Nourse and Dr. Lynn Schmidt will introduce the Resiliency Framework, which was developed from extensive research and interviews. The framework consists of six strategies that help people thrive in the face of career challenges. Attend this session to find out which resiliency strategy you need to strengthen to increase your career satisfaction and viability. You will take a brief assessment to determine your resiliency needs, and you will leave with at least one action that you can take immediately to increase your resiliency. By using the six resiliency strategies, you can create a career defined by growth, success, and satisfaction. Register here.

  • Thursday, Sept. 29: 1 – 2 p.m. ET (0.1 CEU)

Practicing in the digital age: How to evolve with your attorneys: In a recent survey, 97 percent of attorneys said they believe electronic case management can mitigate the risk of missing critical details. Attorneys today are under constant pressure to produce an accurate, efficient work product with the expectation of providing exceptional client service. Attendees will learn how transcript workflow technology benefits both you and your clients by relieving pressures and producing secure, flexible transcripts efficiently. Brought to you by Thomson Reuters. Register here.

Watch the CEU Corner and visit the NCRA webinar website for late additions to the schedule.

E-seminars can earn you 0.1 or 0.15 CEU.

  • 90 apps in 90 minutes:In this fast-paced, high-energy session, learn from Christine Phipps, RPR, and Sara Wood about the latest and best apps that can help you improve your productivity, organize your day, and provide you with the necessary tools to be a rock star in the field. 0.15 CEU. Register here.
  • How to caption sports like a pro!An overview of captioning sports for the seasoned captioner, and newbies, too! We’ll start with the opportunities available, where to begin, dictionary management, and how to prep! Tips, tricks, and sports-related terminology. 0.15 CEU. Register here.
  • How to make the most out of the best practices for CART captioning: Learn about CART captioning best practices with Sami Silvia, RMR, CRR, CRC, and Carol Studenmund, RDR, CRR, CRC. The e-seminar discusses the roles of all the parties involved in bringing access to people with hearing disabilities through CART captioning. 0.1 CEU. Register here.
  • Empower hour with Julie: This webinar, taught by Julie Lessa, RPR, discusses equipping, empowering, and educating women on safety. She presents different lethal and nonlethal options for protecting yourself in different situations. 0.1 CEU. Register here.
  • Medical captioning: Mirabai Knight, RDR, CRR, CRC, discusses how prefixes, suffixes, research skills, fingerspelling techniques, and other strategies that can be used to build a robust medical dictionary. 0.15 CEU. Register here.

Courting Disaster game: Play a game, purchase the e-seminar, and earn 0.15 CEUs. Courting Disaster is the first online learning game designed to simulate the unique challenges that court reporters face every day. The game is free to play and offers a one-of-a-kind interactive learning experience for court reporters, students, and anyone interested in the reporting profession. To earn CEU credits, purchase the follow-up e-seminar that explores the issues encountered in the game in more detail. To play now, register here.

What about earning PDCs?

Members may earn up to 1.0 Professional Development Credit (PDC) to apply towards their current cycle requirements. Generally speaking, PDCs acknowledge that many members give back to the profession in many ways, including through providing pro bono service, promoting the profession at career days, or other service, and that those activities can increase a person’s knowledge of the world around them. PDCs may not be applied to CLVS or reinstatement continuing education requirements.

  • Article tests: You can earn 0.25 PDC by reading one of the listed articles and then passing a short multiple-choice test. The questions are based on the material in the article, although some may require additional research. The passing score is 75%, and tests are marked Pass or Fail. Each test may only be taken once, and your results will be automatically downloaded to your official NCRA transcript within 5-7 business days, reflecting the day you completed the test. But remember, units will only be awarded to participants who pass the exam and tests may not be repeated. Check out the list of articles and read more here.
  • Book tests: You can earn 0.25 PDC by reading one of the books approved by the Council of the Academy of Professional Reporters (CAPR) and then taking a short multiple-choice test. The passing score is 85% and each test may be taken only once. Click here for the list of approved books and to take a book test.
  • Distance learning ideas: The Council of the Academy of Professional Reporters (CAPR) and the NCRA Independent Self-Study Task Force Committee (ISSTFC) have pre-qualified a number of third party providers/programs as activities acceptable for CEUs or PDCs. Click here for the list of approved programs.
  • Oral Histories Program: You can earn 0.25 PDC per completed transcript from an interview of a veteran, Holocaust survivor, or attorney who participated in Legal Aid, through NCRF’s Oral Histories Program. The completed veterans transcripts must be mailed to NCRF, so keep postal time in mind if you’re facing the September deadline. The transcripts for Holocaust survivors and Legal Aid, however, are submitted electronically, which gets you your credits even faster. Contact NCRF’s Foundation Manager, April Weiner, at for more information.

What if I run out of time without finishing my required number of CEUs?

If you’ve run out of time, you can opt to pay for a four-month extension from Sept. 30 to Jan. 31, 2017. The processing fee is $99. Click here for a Cycle Extension Request Form.

And don’t forget, it’s cheaper to submit your CEUs online!

For more information, visit Ways to Earn Continuing Education.

Natalie Dippenaar is NCRA’s Professional Development Program Manager. She can be reached at