Now available: Long awaited new e-seminars from NCRA 2018 Convention & Expo

NCRA is offering two noteworthy recorded sessions from the 2018 Convention & Expo held in New Orleans, La. These long-awaited e-seminars are CART/Captioning: What You Need to Know and Financial Wellness in the “Gig Economy.”

Both recorded sessions are worth 0.1 continuing education credits each and run for 51 minutes in length. E-seminars are available for review for 30 days after purchase. The cost of each is $55 for NCRA members and $79 for nonmembers.

Alan Peacock

CART/Captioning: What You Need to Know takes listeners from the basics of providing captioning in a convention setting to how to set up in unusual settings for on-site CART. The e-seminar teaches everyone from the beginner to the experienced captioner how to market themselves, find relevant work in this arena, and offers demonstrations of how to set up equipment for various scenarios, how to connect to audio sources, logistics, and troubleshooting. The e-seminar is led by NCRA member Alan Peacock, FAPR, RDR, CRR, CRC, who has also earned NCRA’s Realtime Systems Administrator certificate. Peacock has been reporting since 1987. He has presented on the topics of CART, captioning, and judicial reporting at the state and national level. In this e-seminar, he is joined by Rita Jo Scarcella, a sign language interpreter and owner of Sign of the Times in Philadelphia, Pa., as they share humorous anecdotes from their long careers.

Janet Meinheit

In the second recorded 2018 NCRA Convention & Expo session, Financial Wellness in the “Gig Economy,” which is geared toward small business owners and contractors, Janet Meinheit, a national account executive at Alliant Credit Union where she manages the United Airlines account, walks listeners through tips and tricks for a healthy and wealthy life in the “gig economy,” an environment where short-term work engagements abound. The session provides tangible takeaways on how to sustain a more balanced and financially healthy lifestyle. Meinheit is a seasoned personal finance professional with expertise in business development, relationship management, and financial wellness, and she believes that a financially healthy workforce is a more engaged and productive workforce. Certified through the National Financial Educators Council, she provides money management sessions to empower individuals. In addition, her expertise in financial literacy allows her the privilege of traveling around the country presenting financial wellness workshops on numerous topics. Meinheit is distinguished by her passion for values-based leadership programs and commitment to meeting the financial literacy needs of the employers and communities she serves. Her contagious enthusiasm facilitates an environment of creativity and learning.

Visit to learn more about continuing education opportunities.


Expanded state leadership program now offers more topic choices

NCRA’s State Leadership Seminars Program now offers more topics for state association leaders to choose from when including a national presentation on their convention agendas.

“The NCRA State Leadership Seminars program, which provides state association leaders the opportunity to request a presentation with special content for their membership, has been expanded to include a number of new topics that can be presented by an NCRA Board Member or staff expert,” said Matthew Barusch, NCRA’s State Government Relations Manager.

The topics range from addressing professional practices to technology to schools and education and more. States can also opt to have a 60-minute Town Hall session presented by NCRA CEO and Executive Director Marcia Ferranto or an NCRA Board Member that provides valuable information on initiatives being driven at the national level to promote, protect, and grow the court reporting and captioning professions.

“Through this enhanced program, state leaders now have more options regarding topics to help better inform and educate their members on issues important to the overall court reporting and captioning professions but also to aid in their own professional success,” Barusch said.

“NCRA is committed to exploring options with its state affiliates to partner in a way that will provide greater value for members.”

Learn more about the newly expanded State Leadership Seminars or request a seminar. Requests need to be received by NCRA at least three months in advance of a scheduled event. For questions, contact

NCRA members top list in USCRA realtime contest

NCRA members Sherry Bryant, RMR, CRR, of Harrisburg, Pa., and Doug Zweizig, RDR, CRR, of Towson, Md., both competed in the United States Court Reporters Association (USCRA) Realtime Speed Contest. USCRA, which is an association dedicated to federal court reporters, holds an annual contest with five minutes of recorded two-voice Q&A at 230 words per minute. To qualify, participants’ files must achieve a 96 percent accuracy. Bryant and Zweizig were the only two qualifiers this year: Bryant took top honors with 99.65 percent, and Zweizig followed closely behind with 99.48 percent.

Sherry Bryant

Bryant won NCRA’s 2018 Speed Contest; Zweizig placed second overall in NCRA’s 2018 Realtime Contest and won the 2015 contest. The JCR asked Bryant and Zweizig about the contest and their experience attending the USCRA convention.

How long have you been a reporter?

SB | I have been a court reporter since 1981.

DZ | 29 years this year, I think. It starts to run together.

Doug Zweizig

How long have you worked in a federal court?

SB | I worked in the Eastern District of New York from October 2013 through July 2016.

DZ | Four years this month!

How long have you been a member of USCRA?

SB | Since the end of 2015.

DZ | Four years.

Why did you decide to go to the United States Court Reporters Association convention this year?

SB | Since I live and work so close to where the convention was being held in Tysons Corner, Va. , I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to attend. Other factors were: A friend from Eastern District of New York was attending; Chief Reporter Melinda Walker, Deputy Chief Damien Jackson, and two reporters from the U.S. House of Representatives where I currently work were presenting one of the seminars; plus the chance to compete in their realtime contest.

DZ | It was very close to my area. About an hour away (well, two in the crazy Washington, D.C., traffic).

You said this was your first time. What were you expecting? 

SB | I was unsure what to expect other than something similar to other conventions or contests I have attended and entered.

DZ | I was not at all sure, honestly.

Was it what you were expecting?

SB | It was similar to the NCRA convention in some respects: The seminars were interesting and well-presented; lunch was provided; CEUs are awarded. There were not different seminars to choose from as there is with the NCRA Convention. I enjoyed all the seminars, though, so this was not an issue for me. There was a buffet lunch that we ate in the same room as well. I was pleasantly surprised that the venue was so nice and the food was excellent. I thoroughly enjoyed my experience attending the convention and competing in the realtime contest.

DZ | I will say that the USCRA contest was extremely orderly. We were instructed to meet in the lobby, and we’d be taken to the contest room. Once in the room, just pick a seat, take an envelope with your number. A bit of practice was next and then the contest was played. The room for the contest was small, so it was easy to hear with the Bose speakers.

How is it different from the NCRA contests?

SB | NCRA gives you special terms or proper names in order to create a job dictionary after you set up at the contest site, while USCRA gives them to you in advance of arrival. At the NCRA contests, you can set up approximately an hour in advance, while with the USCRA contest it is 15 minutes. After you are set up, they play warm-up material for 15 minutes or so. The NCRA Q&A realtime contest is 225 words per minute, while USCRA’s is 230 words per minute and is based on Federal Court transcripts. It was a challenging contest.

DZ | The USCRA contest had a relatively small number of contestants, and there was only one leg instead of two (230 Q&A). During the NCRA contests, we are able to use radio headsets to assist with hearing in a large room with sometimes high ceilings. It didn’t matter in this instance, because the room was small and I had no issue hearing. And the contest, to me, was extremely difficult, which is fine. I like a challenge. But I practiced a CD I ordered from USCRA that consisted of old contests, and I was making anywhere between zero to three errors. The actual contest material was considerably more difficult, and I had to hang on for dear life through the whole thing. Again, it was a challenge!

Any advice on contests – USCRA’s or in general?

SB | The key advice I have is to practice as much as possible with a variety of fast, difficult material several months in advance. Working in court or depositions, no matter how difficult, is not a substitute for practice.

DZ | Always read the rules beforehand. The USCRA contest was only one take, and printing in all caps was allowed. If that’s something that’s permitted, always do it! In the NCRA speed contest, you cannot print in all caps. In the NCRA realtime contest, all caps is only allowed in the literary take. So definitely read the rules and use something like all caps to your advantage. It can make a big difference or it could also mean the difference between qualifying and not qualifying or winning or not winning.

4 reasons to attend the NCRA Business Summit

Registration is now open for the NCRA Business Summit, an educational event with robust content, actionable takeaways, and networking opportunities, to be held Feb. 1-3, 2019, in San Diego, Calif. Here are four reasons why any professionals who own or lead court reporting, captioning, and legal videography firms, including freelancers, will want to attend this event.

  1. This is an event for everyone who owns their own business – anyone who wants to learn more about running and growing their business, whether they are a freelancer, a manager, the owner of a small firm or a large firm, or whether they are mostly interested in captioning, court reporting, or some other aspect of the profession. If you’ve seen this event as one for a small group in the past, we hope that you will look at all the materials and consider if this event is a good fit for you.
  2. One of the keynote speakers, Eunice Carpitella, a professor with Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, will explore the idea that, in a world of incredible change, it is even more important to build trust and relationships. Carpitella helps individuals find ways to make their companies unique and help them thrive in the current atmosphere. In fact, the point of the entire Business Summit is not just to give good content to our companies – large and small – on making good business decisions for a few days out of the year, but also to aid firms build networks that will help grow their business for the entire year.
  3. The planned panel-led discussion about third-party contracting is a topic NCRA is addressing for two important reasons. As a best practice, national organizations should be setting the table for topics of national importance, and we plan to continue this practice. It is NCRA’s responsibility to educate our members and to hear both sides of the conversation, which is how the Association makes good decisions about the future. Come and be a part of this open dialogue.
  4. The most important networking event of the Business Summit is returning this year with the Super Bowl Party on Sunday. This won’t be the only networking event, but you won’t want to miss the chance to kick back and truly enjoy yourself without pressure during this networking event. There will be something for everyone: great food, debate about the best commercials of the year, and the chance to root for the best teams in the NFL – all while enjoying the company of colleagues from around the country.

Early registration rates in effect!

Registration fee includes:

  • All programming on Saturday and Sunday
  • Opening Reception
  • Breakfast on Saturday and Sunday
  • Super Bowl Party

Visit for more information and to register.

Call for presentations open for 2019 NCRA Convention & Expo

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

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

NCRA has issued a call for presentations for the 2019 Convention & Expo which is the largest gathering of captioners and court reporters in the United States. Presentations on a variety of topics, including state and federal regulations, speedbuilding, marketing, health and wellness, trends in technology, and software training, are being sought for the event, which will be held Aug. 15-18 in Denver, Colo.

“Presenting is a great opportunity and platform to share your experiences and knowledge with other working court reporters, captioners, and legal videographers. Our peers make a wonderful, welcoming audience,” says Merilee Johnson, RDR, CRR, CRC, a freelance reporter and CART captioner based in Eden Prairie, Minn., who co-chairs the NCRA Education Content Committee. “If you have expertise surrounding a certain topic, such as realtime, ethics, or technology, or if you have lessons to share from your experience in the field, consider becoming an NCRA presenter.  There’s no better resource than learning from our fellow working reporters and firm owners.”

Johnson, who has presented sessions on realtime, technology, and captioning in the past for national events, says that becoming a presenter helped her meet new people and make connections that aided her career. Stepping up to be a speaker also boosted her confidence and helped shift her perspective. “It was a wonderful experience for me personally,” Johnson adds. “It helped me grow in ways I did not expect.”

Visit for more information or to submit a presentation for consideration.

Registration now open for the November NCRA CLVS Production Exam

Registration is now open for the next Certified Legal Videographer Production Exam being held Nov. 9-10, at NCRA’s headquarters in Reston, Va. Space is limited so candidates are encouraged to sign up early before registration closes on Oct. 31.

Candidates who attend the November dates will also have the opportunity to participate in the new hands-on training session held prior to the production exam.

“We did not have a hands-on class when I took my practical test,” said Mindy Sindiong, CLVS, owner of De Bene Esse Media in Cincinnati, Ohio, and co-chair of NCRA’s CLVS Council. The Council leads the CLVS Seminar and administers the Production Exam.

“Having the hands-on session would have saved a lot of worry and anxiety had I been able to take it,” added Sindiong, who has been a CLVS for 15 years.

During the hands-on session, CLVS candidates have the opportunity to go over the practical test, participate in a mock deposition, and gain valuable experience with the camera they will be using in the test. According to Sindiong, all of the students who participated in the first hands-on session before the June production exam passed it. The only student who failed the production exam did not participate in the hands-on session.

“Having the ability to experience different live scenarios and ask questions for clarification helped to ease the nervousness,” said Fred Lester, owner of Big Herc Productions based in Miami, Fla.

“The instructors were very helpful and eager to aid us through this task and to help us better understand the methods in which to perform this task. Prior to this hands-on class, I was very unsure of the process and some camera settings from just reading the material and practicing mock setups on my own,” Lester noted.

“This allowed me to better familiarize myself with the equipment and its settings, and it made clear to me the correct process in which the video deposition should flow. Going through a mock video deposition and being critiqued definitely helped me to be confident and better prepared to perform this process at a high level,” he added.

During the Production Exam, candidates will run the show at a staged deposition and be graded on their ability to follow video deposition guidelines and to produce a usable, high-quality video of the deposition. Candidates must have taken the mandatory CLVS Certification Workshop first, available online through InReach. Candidates must complete the educational components prior to taking the CLVS Production Exam. Candidates are strongly encouraged to complete the educational components first, as questions on the CLVS Written Knowledge Test (WKT) are developed from the materials provided. Candidates can take the CLVS WKT in January, April, July, and October each year.

Chris Galvin, from Guilford, Conn., who earned his CLVS after he passed the June production exam, said he found the hands-on session of the training to be very important preparation for the production exam because it gave him the opportunity to become familiar with the kind of equipment used in the test.

“Although I have experience with other kinds of videography, I am a total newbie in the legal video world. I wanted to get certification, which I did, before I started exploring entry into the field. I am wrapping up other projects and am looking to start that transition very soon,” he said.

“My own equipment is different in enough ways that it may have cost precious seconds or minutes in adjusting to the testing equipment if not familiar with it.  The pressure of a timed test can throw your normal thinking process off too, so the more familiar you are with the steps you need to take, the more automatic your performance will be,” Galvin noted.

The CLVS Production Exam is administered two times a year: spring and fall (depending on interest). The cost of the exam is $325 for NCRA members and $425 for nonmembers.

To learn more about the CLVS program, visit or to register for the November Production Exam and/or Hands-on Session.

NCRA members who hold another credential, such as the RPR, can earn 0.25 PDC each after passing the CLVS Written Knowledge Test and the CLVS Production Exam.

Please contact NCRA by calling 800-272-6272 or email for more information.

NCRA members support students attendance at NCRA Convention & Expo

NCRA thanks the many people who donated additional funds to offset the expenses for students who attended the 2018 Convention & Expo. The collected funds enabled NCRA to offer a great price for students attending the convention.

Eric Allen

Judith A. Ammons, RPR, CRR

Dora Canizales

Debra K. Cheyne

Donna Collins, FAPR, RPR, CRR, CRC

Virginia Dodge, RDR, CRR

Carol Farrell, RDR, CRR, CRC, CRI

Sharon A. Hamilton, RMR (Ret.)

Gayl Hardeman, FAPR, RDR, CRR, CRC, CRI

Melanie Humphrey-Sonntag, FAPR, RDR, CRR, CRC

Martha Hyland, RMR

Fred W. Jeske, RMR, CRR

Deeann Johnson

Jen Krueger, FAPR, RMR, CRI, CPE

Kelly Linkowski, RPR, CRR, CRC, CPE

Lotus Lui, RPR

Laura Meyncke

Carol Mixon, RMR

Sandra Narup, RPR

Karen Nickel, RPR, CRR, CRC

Anissa Nierenberger, RPR, CRR, CRC, CRI

Robin Nodland, FAPR, RDR, CRR

Taunia Northouse, RDR, CRR, CRC

Catherine J. Phillips, FAPR, RMR, CMRS

Janice Plomp, RDR, CRR, CRC, CRI

Marie Runyon, RMR, CRR

Nancy Samms

Laurie Shingle, RMR, CMRS

Christen Sutherland, RPR

Kathryn Thomas, RDR, CRR, CRC

Dominick Tursi, CM

Karen Tyler, RDR, CRR, CRC

Donna Urlaub, RMR, CRR

Sharon Pell Velazco, RPR

Denise Vickery, RMR, CRR

Karen Yates, FAPR, RPR, CRR, CRC

Stephen Zinone, RPR

Douglas Zweizig, RDR, CRR

Next NCRA Town Hall set for Oct. 27

The next NCRA Town Hall with CEO and Executive Director Marcia Ferranto will occur Oct. 27 at 10 a.m. ET. The event is part of a series of virtual town halls, during which she will present an update about the Association followed by a question-and-answer period with members. Members must register to attend the Town Hall, which will be presented via videoconference. To register for the October town hall, visit NCRA Town Hall.

NCRA Convention & Expo earns international recognition

The September 2018 Intersteno e-Newsletter features a story on page four that gives a first-hand account of Dr. Carlo Eugeni’s experience at this year’s NCRA Convention & Expo held in New Orleans in August. Eugeni is chair of Intersteno’s Scientific Committee. Intersteno is the international organization that represents users of steno and other speed-writing methods to quickly produce high-quality text.

Read more.

California Court Reporters Board votes to move forward to welcome voice writers

In light of a recent decision by the California Court Reporters Board (CRB) to pursue necessary steps to allow voice writers to practice in California as licensees, the California Court Reporters Association (CCRA) is including a session at its upcoming convention with a voice writer and official court reporter to help educate current members on how voice writing works. The CRB anticipates that voice writers could be qualified for the CSR exam as early as March 2019.

Read more or watch the entire September 17, 2018, CRB meeting video provided by the Court Reporters Board of California.