Vacancies on NCRA Board to be filled during Annual Business Meeting

The uncontested elections of Max Curry, RPR, CRI, to the office of President-Elect and Christine Phipps, RPR, to the office of Vice President have created two Director vacancies on the NCRA Board of Directors. In accordance with Article V, Board of Directors, Section 6 – Vacancies of the NCRA Constitution and Bylaws, voting members may submit nominations from the floor during the Annual Business Meeting to fill the two one-year vacancies.

The voting for the two Directors will occur only during the Annual Business Meeting. Voting members in attendance at the Annual Business Meeting will vote for their choices via an on-site written ballot.  Elections will continue until a majority is received.

Who is eligible to be on the Board?

Only Registered Members or Retired Members, Retired Lifetime Members, or Honorary members are eligible to hold an elective office of the Association. Also, an outgoing Director completing a three-year term is ineligible for immediate re-election as a Director.

Who is eligible to nominate a member?

Only NCRA voting members may submit nominations from the floor. Voting members include Registered Members and Participating Members who are verbatim stenographic reporters, as well as Retired Members, Retired Lifetime Members, and Honorary members who have been verbatim stenographic reporters.

There will be no tables, booths, or campaigns when running from the floor.

NCRA Town Hall with Marcia Ferranto announced for July 28

NCRA has announced that CEO and Executive Director Marcia Ferranto will host the second in 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. The town hall is scheduled for July 28, 2018, at 10 a.m. ET. Members must register to attend the town hall, which will be presented via video conference.

“I am excited to be holding these town hall meetings and encourage everyone to participate. Input from members is vital to guiding the Association into the future as we work together to promote, protect, and provide for the court reporting and captioning professions. I look forward to the sharing of inspiring insights and ideas,” Ferranto said. Ferranto will be joined by Cynthia Bruce Andrews, NCRA’s Senior Director of Education and Certification, who will talk about the NCRA A to Z Online Program.

Zoom, the platform that the town hall will be presented on, will allow Ferranto to be seen via a video link and will allow participants to submit questions online. The July town hall will be recorded and marks the second of several scheduled for 2018 and into 2019. Additional dates are October 27 and January 26, 2019. To register for the July town hall, visit NCRA Town Hall.

In her first quarterly town hall meeting held in April, Ferranto presented an update about the Association followed by a question-and-answer period with members. Following the event, members sent very positive feedback, including:

“The Town Hall was a good vehicle for members to be better informed about how our Association is advocating for us, but it also alerts us about the struggles our Board and staff are facing as we move into the future. I hope these webinars will continue throughout the year.”

“My thanks and appreciation for the positive, informative, and motivational Town Hall today. I can’t wait to be part of this new path!”

“Fantastic presentation!”

“This is exactly what membership needs. Proud to be an NCRA member.”

Ask the Techie: Mixer recommendations

The Realtime and Technology Resource Committee is taking your questions on topics surrounding realtime and technology. Send the questions you want the technology committee members to tackle to jcrfeedback@ncra.org.

Dear Techie:

I’m in the market for a new mixer. Do you have any recommendations?

Mixing it up in the city


Dear Mixing:

It’s always great when you have the opportunity to update or upgrade your equipment, and doing so proactively lets you really research your choices. Good luck on finding the one that’s right for you!

There are many options available for a mixer out on the market, but our needs can be so specific. Here are our suggestions.

Lou Chiodo, CLVS, a videographer who has also earned NCRA’s Realtime Systems Administrator and Trial Presentation Professional certificates, of New York City, N.Y.:  I recently added the Zoom F8 – Recorder/Mixer into my deposition kit. I cannot say this is an inexpensive audio solution; however, I do believe that it is a crucial item in my audio workflow.

I was persuaded to select this model based on the following key features:

  • It is a professional field mixer and sophisticated recorder in one, with eight channels, in a lightweight, aluminum, tiny form factor.
  • It comes with flexible SD card recording options, providing redundant recording; safety track recording; or a combination of isolated channels with a second mix containing all channels.
  • It includes an iOS companion app for iPad or iPhone and it handles remote control of its mixing and recording features. (This app satisfies my only complaint of it having small knobs.)

If this mixer/recorder combo is for you, it is readily available online for $799 – originally priced at $1,000.

My preferred setup for recording audio for court reporters or their scopists is to always keep one of the left or right channel, peak signal levels, slightly lower or behind the other channel for safer recording and to prevent distortion or clipping. I then record all individual channels onto one SD card and a mix of all channels onto the other SD card during the deposition. The files are then available for immediate transfer to the reporter, especially for a next-day expedite.

 

Alan Peacock, FAPR, RDR, CRR, CRC, a freelance court reporter and captioner based in Mobile, Ala.: I do use a mixer for my court work. I like the Rolls MX410 4-Channel Microphone Mixer. I think professional XLR connections provide the best quality audio for any mixer, which is what most videographers use as well. You can buy the XLR in a variety of different lengths, so you can accommodate almost any room.

For captioning, I just use a simple Pyle Pro amp. What’s most important to me is the headset. You need something super light, since you’re wearing it most of the day. I prefer a full ear cup, so my favorite headset is the Bose Quietcomfort. You can find wired and wireless versions out there. Most of the wired ones have been retired, but there are plenty on eBay right now that you can get at a reduced price.

 

Scott Aaron, a videographer based in Memphis, Tenn.: I utilize the Shure SCM268 Microphone Mixer for my audio recording during depositions. It has four transformer balanced XLR microphone inputs and one transformer balanced XLR mic/line output. Each of the four line inputs are adjusted individually, giving you control for each person using a lapel mic. As with most mixers, the volume adjustments are easily made, ensuring a great-sounding final product.

The main reasons I chose this mixer are: 1) Reliability: This mixer has been tried and tested for many years with excellent reviews; 2) Compact size; 3) Cost: Around $200-$250. I have used this mixer for 11 years and have never had any issues.

 

Cheryl Erwin, a videographer, Nashville, Tenn.: Looking for the perfect audio mixer for depositions was a challenge. Most of the mixers we considered had far more functions than we needed. We did not need three bands of EQ or built-in effects. What we did need was a mixer that was lightweight and portable, with XLR inputs for good quality. We decided upon the ROLLS ProMIX-IV. It’s a four-channel mixer with four XLR connectors in and two out. It has four rotating input volume controls and two auxiliary out connectors, 1/4-inch phone plug, and a mini plug. This mixer also has 48-volt phantom power, which we don’t use because we have battery-powered condenser microphones. We have found that EQ is not necessary and four microphones are enough for most depositions. This mixer sells for about $150, it’s lightweight and fairly small, 6 in. x 4 in. x 3 in. The audio quality is outstanding!

 

Rob Sawyer, a videographer based in Memphis, Tenn.: I have used Yamaha and Peavey over the years for audio/video deposition units. All these units have four pro-level XLR inputs with individual volume controls for each microphone plus a master level and a separate level for the output. The mixed output is used to send the audio to the court reporter’s computer or audio recording device. Four inputs allows separate mics for each primary opposing lawyer, the deponent, and an overall room mic. The room mic is used primarily as a backup. I like Yamaha the best because it is compact and durable. The cost is usually $150-$200.

 

Julie Coulston, a videographer based in Jackson, Tenn.: I use a Shure Mixer that I purchased five or six years ago, and I am almost positive it has been replaced by a newer version, so I wouldn’t know which one to recommend to new videographers. For the court reporter audio, I use a TASCAM recorder that records onto an SD card. I can give it to the reporter on site, or I can email them the audio, which the reporter can download when convenient.

The industry supports NCRA to advance the future of court reporting and captioning

NCRA’s newly launched Corporate Partnership Program has drawn the commitment of six organizations serving or representing the court reporting and captioning professions.

NCRA welcomes the following companies as corporate partners:

NCRA’s Corporate Partnership program, which ranges in levels of sponsorship from $10,000 to $100,000, aids in business and workforce development efforts by NCRA and the National Court Reporters Foundation (NCRF).

“NCRA’s mission is to deepen the skills and opportunities of the court reporting and captioning professions through certification, mentorship, scholarships, leadership training, and professional development,” said CEO and Executive Director Marcia Ferranto.

“Right now we need to focus on the next generation of captioners and court reporters by illustrating that these professions are viable and lucrative career opportunities. While we recognize that there are various methods being used to capture the spoken word, NCRA’s focus is to ensure that both the general public and the legal industry understand that stenography is by far the most effective and desired method and that NCRA is focused on closing the shortage gap of stenographers nationally. Our Corporate Partners are a key part of the sustainability and growth of these initiatives,” Ferranto said.

A standard development strategy in the trade association industry, the Corporate Partnership program was created to enable NCRA to serve its members and provide value without raising dues, as well as assist NCRA in acquiring the knowledge, resources, and funding needed to advance the professions into the next decade.

A 12-month sponsorship with NCRA provides benefits back to its corporate partners, such as advertising, event tickets, memberships, and publicity. As the drivers of the value proposition of the program, NCRA has created a win-win for everyone.

To learn more about the NCRA Corporate Partnership Program, visit https://www.ncra.org/utility-pages/about-ncra/corporate-partners or contact Mary Petto at mpetto@ncra.org or 703-584-9022.

Proposed name change to bring greater attention to stenography

NCRA members will have the opportunity in August to vote on several amendments to the Association’s bylaws, including approving an amendment to add captioners to the official name.

If approved, the amendment would change the name of the Association to National Captioners and Reporters Association, which would maintain the initials NCRA, a recognized and significant symbol for captioning and court reporting professionals. In addition, the official logo would include a new tagline that underscores the professions NCRA represents — Steno: The standard in capturing the spoken word. The tagline maintains the Association’s focus on stenography and the professions that use a steno machine.

The proposed amendment is the result of lengthy discussion and membership feedback brought forward during the creation of the new three-year strategic plan. In addition to engagement with membership for feedback, NCRA sought the expertise of an outside consultant. The change is expected to bring more attention to stenography and the machine, update the image of stenography, and inform the public that stenography serves many purposes.

Kimberly Shea

“One of the most important things about the name change is that NCRA is recognizing captioners as valued members of this professional organization. It’s an opportunity to say, ‘We are an association made up of stenographers. We value captioners as members. We value your exceptional realtime skills. We value your profession. We represent you on the same level that we represent court reporters,’” said Kimberly A. Shea, CRC, a captioner from Trophy Club, Texas.

“I believe it’s important to acknowledge that, while we are all stenographers, captioners and court reporters possess intricate skill sets unique to their specialty. I have been a member of both professions for many years. They are both amazing communities to be a part of,” Shea added.

Danielle Murray

“My hope is that this name change will assist in the rebranding of our industry,” said Danielle Murray, RPR, CRR, an official court reporter from Olathe, Kan. “The name change encompasses more of what we are now in 2018. We aren’t just court reporters sitting in a court anymore. There are many more things you can do with this skill,” she added.

Murray has been a member of NCRA for 10 years, is immediate past president of the Kansas Court Reporters Association, and currently works for the 10th Judicial District of the State of Kansas.

According to the amendment rationale, the proposed name change would also help bolster the services and value members receive. In addition, it will drive greater recognition for the human component of court reporting and captioning within the profession’s client communities.

Steve Clark

“This name change will recognize the important work that is performed by NCRA members who are court reporters and captioners — and some who work as both reporters and captioners — and will keep the NCRA tag, recognizing NCRA as the stenographic leader in capturing the spoken word,” said Stephen H. Clark, CRC, a manager and realtime captioner for Home Team Captions in Washington, D.C., and a member of NCRA for 33 years.

“As more and more captioning is being performed, both broadcast and CART captioning, it is vital that we recognize the contributions made by captioners and the importance of their membership in NCRA. This profession is changing so quickly, and recognizing all of our professional members is the right thing to do. There is strength in numbers. We are strongest when we work as one, while recognizing the unique talents of all of our members,” he added.

“My hope is that court reporters and captioners will realize that we have a better chance at success if we stand together as stenographers, respecting the skills we all possess and supporting each other in the challenges we face on both sides of the fence by participating in education, awareness, and activism at every opportunity,” said Shea.

“If we can successfully do that, then our membership will flourish and we can encourage and inspire a new, modern generation of stenographers to keep the skill alive, respected, and relevant. There is power in numbers. In order to grow, we have to give people a reason to be here. They have to feel they are represented and that their professional needs are being served. Our organization has the potential to make a difference in not only our professional communities but also the deaf and hard-of-hearing community.

Murray agrees: “There is strength with numbers; and court reporters and captioners have a common interest, which is to be the gold standard for translating the spoken word to text,” Murray added.

The Constitution & Bylaws permits all eligible NCRA voting members to vote through electronic means on Bylaws amendments. Members who are eligible to vote will be able to sign in to the secure website and vote through a private, secure link during the 12-hour voting period, which should open within two hours of the end of the Annual Business Meeting. Members who are interested in voting must have an active email address on file in NCRA’s membership database.

Members attending the Annual Business Meeting will also be voting on new members of the Board. The Annual Business Meeting will take place at 8:30 a.m. CT on Thursday, Aug. 2. The Annual Business Meeting will be held in conjunction with NCRA’s Convention & Expo in New Orleans, La. Eligible voting members will check in and receive a ballot and information starting at 8 a.m.

NCRF announces 2018 Robert H. Clark Scholarship and New Professional Reporter Grant recipients

The National Court Reporters Foundation (NCRF) has announced that Sindee Baum, from North Massapequa, N.Y., was named recipient of the 2018 New Professional Reporter Grant. The Foundation also announced that Sydney Lundberg, a student from Des Moines Area Community College in Des Moines, Iowa, is the recipient of the 2018 Robert H. Clark Scholarship.

 

Sindee Baum

New Professional Reporter Grant Winner

Baum said that receiving the New Professional Grant means a lot to her and that she plans to use the funds toward paying off her school loan and to cover the expense of starting out with a professional machine and software.

“For 21 years I was a federal probation officer. I wrote the presentence reports and sentencing recommendations for the judges and had to be present at sentencings. I was always fascinated by the court reporters and always made sure I stood near them to watch them work their magic on their machines,” Baum said.

“When I was getting close to thinking of retiring and what I wanted to do as a second career, the thought of becoming a court reporter popped in my mind one morning. I spoke to Anthony Frisolone, one of the court reporters in my courthouse, who thought the idea was an awesome fit for me. He even offered to be my mentor and helped me through the emotional roller coaster that court reporting school entailed. Well, I’m happy to share that I retired from my career as a federal probation officer as of September 1, 2017, and passed my last mentored exit speed tests that same week and graduated from school,” she added. Frisolone, FAPR, RDR, CRR, CRC, CRI, is an NCRA member, official court reporter, and court reporting instructor.

NCRF awards the annual $2,000 New Professional Reporter Grant to a reporter who is in his or her first year of work, has graduated within a year from an NCRA-approved court reporting program, and meets specific criteria, including a grade point average of 3.5 or above, a letter of recommendation, and active work in any of the career paths of judicial (official/freelance), CART, or captioning. Baum, a graduate of the online program at College of Court Reporting in Valparaiso, Ind., is the 14th recipient of NCRF’s New Professional Reporter Grant. She was recommended by Jessica Vivas, client services manager and reporter liaison for Magna Legal Services based in New York.

“If Magna could only choose one goal, it would be to support and serve our clients to the best of our ability. Sindee Baum embodies this philosophy and is respected by our clients. We consider Sindee to be an asset to our court reporting team, and we look forward to working with her well into the future,” Vivas said.

For court reporting students getting ready to finish their programs and start their professional careers, Baum offers the following advice: “Practice like their life depended on it. Getting those last speed tests passed takes the most work and dedication out of all the tests you will take in school. Also, while completing your internship hours, make sure you are asking lots of questions and gaining as much experience as you can in various settings so that you will be able to hit the ground running at graduation and become a working reporter.”

 

Sydney Lundberg

2018 Robert H. Clark Scholarship Recipient

“Receiving this scholarship means to me that I will be able to finish school and begin working as a reporter even sooner. I am currently in the last part of my program, and this support will allow me to purchase professional equipment that will give me the last boost I need to graduate,” said Lundberg, who added that she heard about court reporting as a career through a family member.

“My aunt is a captioner, and I was inspired by how she was able to capture the spoken word, work from home, and be so successful. After I graduate, my plans include working for a freelance firm in Des Moines, Iowa. I also plan on continuing to learn things about the profession, building my dictionary, and continuing to work on speed,” Lundberg said.

The $2,000 Robert H. Clark Scholarship is named for the late Robert H. (Bob) Clark, a court reporter from Los Angeles, Calif., who was dedicated to preserving the history of the profession. In 2015, Clark’s family made a generous donation to NCRF to honor him, and NCRF created the new Robert H. Clark Scholarship. Lundberg is the fourth recipient of this scholarship.

 

To learn more about NCRF’s scholarships and grants, visit NCRA.org/NCRF/Scholarships.

Only 34 days and counting! Don’t wait, register now

Spots are filling fast, and the deadlines for lodging and registration are looming for NCRA’s 2018 Convention & Expo taking place Aug. 2-5 in New Orleans, La. July 6 marks the deadline to reserve a room at the Hyatt Regency New Orleans using NCRA’s special discount, a deal that also gets you a free breakfast on Friday and Saturday (a $75 value). Save more by registering for the Convention & Expo before July 23, when online registration closes, and avoid a $100 additional fee for onsite registration.

This year’s all-inclusive schedule is sure to appeal to anyone in the court reporting, captioning, and legal video professions, or in the educational arena. But hurry; there are only 28 spots available for the ever-popular Punctuation Workshop, 18 spots for the National Speed Contest, and 15 spots for the National Realtime Contest. Last year, all three of these events sold out, so don’t miss your chance this year.

Other schedule highlights include workshops, business sessions, and Learning Zones that will offer attendees added opportunities to mingle and network. Throughout the Convention, attendees can earn up to 2.3 CEUs.

The Keynote speaker for NCRA’s 2018 Convention & Expo is Lt. Gen. Russel L. Honoré (U.S. Army, Ret.), a 37-year veteran of active service who served as the commander of Joint Task Force Katrina, during which time he became known as the “Category 5 General” for his striking leadership style in coordinating military relief efforts in post-hurricane New Orleans.

In addition to sharing insights into his leadership skills with attendees at the premier session, Honoré will write his military story in a special Veterans History Project event. Honoré will be interviewed on stage by NCRA member Michael Miller, FAPR, RDR, CRR, a freelance court reporter from Houston, Texas. Accompanying Miller on stage will be NCRA member Daniel Griffin, RPR, a freelance reporter from Phoenix, Ariz., who will transcribe Honoré’s story. Once completed, Honoré’s story will be preserved at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., as part of its VHP program.

Get into the New Orleans mood even more by checking out this party playlist of songs selected by NCRA’s Board and Staff to get everyone excited to meet at the 2018 NCRA Convention & Expo!

For more information about the 2018 NCRA Annual Convention & Expo, or to register, visit NCRA.org/Convention.

For information about sponsorship opportunities, contact Mary Petto, Senior Director of External Affairs at mpetto@ncra.org.

NCRF announces new Trustees

The NCRA Board of Directors has elected the following individuals to serve on the 2018-2019 National Court Reporters Foundation Board of Trustees:

  • Mary P. Bader, RPR, Eau Claire, Wis.
  • Michael A. Bouley, RDR, Tucson, Ariz.
  • Catherine J. Phillips, FAPR, RMR, CMRS, Ocala, Fla.

The newly elected Trustees will begin their three-year terms on Aug. 4 after being inducted into service at the Foundation’s annual Board of Trustees meeting taking place in conjunction with the 2018 NCRA Convention & Expo being held Aug. 2-5 in New Orleans, La.

The new Trustees will be joining current NCRF Trustees:

  • Chair Nancy Hopp, FAPR, RDR, CRR, CMRS, St. Louis, Mo.
  • Chair-elect Tami Keenan, FAPR, RPR, CPE, Battle Creek, Mich.
  • Secretary Debra Dibble, RDR, CRR, CRC, Woodland, Utah
  • Debra K. Cheyne, M.A., CSR, Sherwood, Ore.
  • Jane Fitzgerald, RMR, Pleasant Hill, Iowa
  • Danielle Griffin, RPR, Phoenix, Ariz.
  • Teresa Kordick, FAPR, RDR, CRR, CRC, CRI, CPE, Des Moines, Iowa
  • Cregg Seymour, Baltimore, Md.
  • Karen G. Teig, RPR, CRR, CMRS, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
  • Sandy VanderPol, FAPR, RMR, CRR, Lotus, Calif.

NCRA’s 2018 Convention & Expo is the largest annual gathering of court reporters, captioners, scopists, legal videographers, trial presenters, students, and other legal services professionals.

Register now for the 2018 NCRA Annual Convention & Expo before July 23 to avoid late fees. Reserve a hotel room at the Hyatt Regency New Orleans using NCRA’s special discount rate by July 6 and get a free breakfast on Friday and Saturday (a $75 value).

To jazz things up even more, check out this party playlist of songs selected by NCRA staff to get everyone excited to meet in New Orleans!

For more information about the 2018 NCRA Annual Convention & Expo, or to register, visit NCRA.org/Convention.

For information about sponsorship opportunities, contact Mary Petto, Senior Director of External Affairs at mpetto@ncra.org.

New captioning company in Idaho

NCRA members Andrea Couch, RDR, CRR, CRC, and Anissa Nierenberger, RPR, CRR, CRC, CRI, are the owners of a new captioning company, IdaCaption, located in Boise, Idaho.  IdaCaption provides on-site and off-site CART and broadcast captioning services.

Read more.

Want to vote? Sign up now

NCRA’s Constitution & Bylaws permits members to cast their votes on bylaws amendments via secure online means, even if they can’t attend the Annual Business Meeting at the Convention & Expo. But to exercise the right, members must have an active email address on file in NCRA’s membership database. This will enable NCRA to keep you informed if an amendment is coming up for a vote and provide information on how to register and cast your vote online. Members who are eligible to vote will be able to sign on to the secure website and then vote through a private, secure link during the 12-hour voting period.

Please make sure that NCRA has an active email address in the database by July 15. Contact the Member Services and Information Center at 800-272-6272, or update your NCRA account at NCRAsourcebook.com and follow these instructions:

  1. Log in with your Member ID number and password. If you forgot your password, click on the “Forgot/Reset Password” link to follow the instruction prompts.
  2. Select “My NCRA” and then “My Main Profile.”
  3. Make any necessary changes to your email address.
  4. Click “Save” at the bottom of the screen to save your updates.

In order to be able to vote on the amendments, individuals must join NCRA or provide an updated email to NCRA by July 15. Voting will occur in conjunction with the NCRA Annual Business Meeting in New Orleans on Thursday, Aug. 2.

Members may cast their votes via their phones, tablets, or computers. Voting will begin within two hours after the close of the Annual Business Meeting, which will be held on Thursday, Aug. 2, from 8:30-11 a.m. CT. Voting is open for 12 hours.