A member’s perspective on why PAC matters

By Shaunise Day

Do you know what PAC is doing for you?

Behind the scenes, the NCRA Political Action Committee (PAC) is working hard on behalf of its members to ensure the future of court reporting and captioning. This means that PAC has a duty to establish relationships with legislators on Capitol Hill. PAC supports candidates who will work in the interest of NCRA’s legislative agenda to benefit the court reporting and captioning fields.

Where would we be without PAC?

Without PAC, our Association would not be able to monitor legislation from state to state that would affect the court reporting and captioning profession. For example, earlier this year, NCRA took a stand with California to oppose bill AB 1631. California AB 1631 would prohibit shorthand reporting services from gift giving for marketing purposes. This bill would also prohibit shorthand reporting services from entering into long-term contracts with attorneys, law firms, or third parties.

NCRA wrote an opinion letter addressing AB 1631 as well as consulted with state leaders and advised them on an advocacy strategy.

Our profession is currently facing key issues that will affect every member’s livelihood and could possibly shape the future of this profession. There is a student shortage, electronic/digital and video recording to eliminate reporters, and not to mention third-party contracting issues. These are just a few issues, but if we stand together, we can make a big difference in our favor.

Let’s take action and advocate together

Every one of us should feel compelled to take action and support PAC. We all have a responsibility to protect the profession. Let’s start now by advocating together. NCRA PAC only survives by the generosity of its members and contributors. Contributions of any size are appreciated. For the complete set of giving guidelines and a contribution form, visit NCRA’s Government Relations page.

 

Shaunise Day is a student at West Valley College in Saratoga, Calif. She can be reached at shauniseday@gmail.com.

Pay it forward to the next generation by serving on the NCRA Board of Directors

Serving on NCRA’s Board of Directors does take commitment and work, according to current Director R. Max Curry, Jr., RPR, CRI, a firm owner from Franklin, Tenn. But mostly, Curry says, serving is just a way to “pay it forward to the next generation of reporters, all in an effort to continue to make this career all that it can be moving into the future.”

NCRA members interested in paying it forward to the next generation can nominate themselves or recommend someone to serve by submitting their endorsements to boardnominations@ncra.org by Jan. 19. In addition, anyone interested in seeking future Board service can attend a no-obligation orientation webinar on Jan. 10 at 8 p.m. ET. This webinar will help you gain a better understanding of the process and expectations of serving on the Board. For more information about the orientation, contact lbutler@ncra.org.

“What motivated me to step up to national service on this Board is a deep commitment to giving back to this great profession. I’ve been so truly blessed by my career, and in my view it would be a crime to take and take and take and not continue to give back,” Curry says.

“My greatest benefit professionally has been the new friendships that have developed from my service, not just on the Board but through committee service, as well as state representative visits and meeting reporters in other states around the nation. This all comes down to relationships and connecting with individuals for them to see how hard we’re working for them and for the future of our profession,” he adds.

As for what Curry would say to someone considering serving: “Just do it.”

“We need you, we need fresh ideas, fresh people thinking in ways and about things that we haven’t or that we’ve missed. That’s the greatest dynamic I see with new people coming on the Board or stepping up to committee service work … fresh ideas and fresh, energized approaches. You may have the next big idea that none of us saw or thought of,” Curry says.

For more information about nominating or recommending someone for service on the NCRA Board of Directors, visit NCRA.org. As a courtesy, please contact your candidate directly prior to submitting his or her name.

Plan ahead for learning opportunities through NCRA

calendar

Photo by Dafne Cholet

Mark your calendars and plan your learning path with NCRA through 2018. NCRA offers opportunities to earn CEUs in a variety of ways, from certification to webinars to live events. NCRA is your one-stop shop for your educational needs, whether you are working toward your next certification, your cycle ending date, or another goal.

Keep in mind that NCRA members can earn CEUs by passing the skills or written portion of certain tests, such as the RMR, RDR, CRR, or CLVS Exams.

Here is a short selection of dates and events (dates are subject to change):

Court Reporting & Captioning Week (Feb. 10-17), Memorial Day (May 30), and Veterans Day (Nov. 11) are also all good opportunities to schedule Veterans History Project Days to earn PDCs, although members and students are invited to participate throughout the year. And don’t forget that online skills testing is available year round.

In addition, NCRA is planning webinars throughout the year, which will be announced in the JCR Weekly and on the NCRA Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn pages as they are available.

Watch for more information in the JCR, in the JCR Weekly, and on TheJCR.com for registration, deadlines, and other ideas to earn continuing education.

Menck appointed to fill vacant Board of Directors seat

NCRA’s Board of Directors has announced the appointment of Karyn Menck, RDR, CRR, CRC, a captioner and agency owner based in Nashville, Tenn., as a Director on the Board. Menck, who’s been an NCRA member since 1985, has served in many capacities for the Tennessee Court Reporters Association, including currently serving on its board. She has also been involved with NCRA committees, including serving as co-chair of the Certified Realtime Captioner Certification Committee. Menck will fill the seat left vacant after Robyn Hennigan, RPR, CRI, resigned earlier this month, and she will serve through the 2018 Convention & Expo in accordance with the Constitution & Bylaws of NCRA. The Nominating Committee will slate a fourth director for a two-year term (to complete the unexpired term of Hennigan) when it announces nominees in 2018.

Nominations for NCRA Board of Directors sought

Serving on the NCRA Board of Directors is an excellent opportunity to use your leadership skills to help advance the premier organization that continues to empower the court reporting and captioning professions. As a Director, you will serve with others as fiduciaries to steer the organization towards a sustainable future by adopting sound, ethical, and legal governance and financial management policies as well as by making sure NCRA has adequate resources to advance its mission.

“Clearly the greatest benefit of serving on the NCRA Board of Directors is the personal satisfaction that you are giving back to a profession that has provided us a rewarding lifetime career,” said Debra Dibble, RDR, CRR, CRC, a freelance court reporter from Woodland, Utah, and NCRA’s Secretary-Treasurer.

“Serving on the NCRA Board provides an unequaled opportunity to be instrumental in protecting, developing, and shaping the future of our beloved profession. The NCRA Board creates an environment for personal development and growth through opportunities to both teach and learn, instruct and listen, grow individually while building others, and protecting the past while creating the future. The value cannot be measured nor calculated,” Dibble added.

Nominations and recommendations can be submitted to boardnominations@ncra.org by Jan. 19, 2018. As a courtesy, please contact your candidate directly prior to submitting his or her name.

Anyone interested in seeking future Board service can attend a no-obligation orientation webinar on Jan. 10 at 8 p.m. ET. This webinar will help you gain a better understanding of the process and expectations of serving on the Board. For more information about the orientation, contact lbutler@ncra.org.

NCRA members take advantage of the Best. Friday. Ever.

On Black Friday, NCRA members had seven discounts and giveaways to take advantage of. These giveaways were tied to membership renewals, event registrations, and purchases for e-seminars and certification tests.

Hundreds of NCRA members renewed their membership on Black Friday for an opportunity to win one of several giveaways. Regina Berenato-Tell, RDR, CRR, an official from Hammonton, N.J., won a free registration for the NCRA Realtime Contest. Beranto-Tell works at the House of Representatives and has been a reporter for 30 years — she’ll probably bring some strong competition! Christy Fagan, RMR, CRR, a freelancer in Mansfield, Texas, won a free registration for the NCRA Speed Contest. The contests are held at the NCRA Convention & Expo. Speaking of Convention, Misty Bubke, RDR, CRR, an official in Kingsley, Iowa, won a free registration to the annual conference.

Cynthia Lew, RPR, a freelancer in Oakland, Calif., and Carol Danielson Bille, RPR, a freelancer in St. Paul, Minn., won a Kindle Fire for renewing their NCRA memberships. “The Kindle will be a new toy for me, and I’m up to the challenge,” said Lew. “In my student years, reading the JCR was a way to keep my goals in sight, and 20+ years later I’m still reading the articles. They keep me abreast of advances in technology (I’m something of a Luddite) and what issues our industry is facing across the country.”

NCRA is grateful for everyone who has renewed their memberships for 2018, on Black Friday as well as before and after the promotion.

Two members who registered for an NCRA Skills Test (SKT) on Black Friday won a free registration. Elia E. Carrión, RPR, a freelancer in Chicago, Ill., registered for the Certified Realtime Reporter SKT, and Holly Ortman, a student at Des Moines Area Community College won a leg of the Registered Professional Reporter SKT. Good luck as you work towards your certifications!

Starla Wiggins, RPR, CRR, a freelancer from Lovington, N.M., won a free NCRA e-seminar. Dozens of members purchased an e-seminar on Black Friday. Several members also took advantage of a 20 percent discount in the NCRA Store on Black Friday.

Teresa Evans, RMR, CRR, got an extra perk for registering for the 2018 NCRA Firm Owners Executive Conference – she won a free spouse registration. Evans is a freelancer and owner of Realtime Reporters based in Charleston, W.Va. “I describe my career as getting paid to watch Lifetime TV!” said Evans. “I have been a member of NCRA throughout most of my career, and I encourage every reporter to be a member and take advantage of the educational offerings and the testing to receive advance certifications, as well as the networking of other professionals like yourself. Every month when I receive the magazine, I learn something, and each time I attend an event put on by NCRA, I come away enthused about my career and amazed at the professionals around the country who bring so much to the table.”

2018 nominations sought; deadlines near

Nominations are now being accepted for the Fellows of the Academy of Professional Reporters, the NCRA Board of Directors, and the Distinguished Service Award. Now is the perfect time to step up and nominate yourself or a colleague to serve or be recognized for his or her commitment to the profession and to NCRA.

Fellows of the Academy of Professional Reporters

Members of the 2017 class of Fellows of the Academy of Professional Reporters was recognized at the 2017 Convention & Expo. Nominations for 2018 Fellows are due Dec. 31.

NCRA’s Council of the Academy of Professional Reporters is seeking nominations for its Fellows of the Academy of Professional Reporters (FAPR). The deadline to nominate a candidate is Dec. 31.

Membership in the Academy symbolizes excellence among NCRA members. The designation of FAPR represents an individual’s dedication to the court reporting and captioning professions and expresses the highest level of professional ethics. Candidates must have been actively reporting for at least 10 years and have attained distinction as measured by performance. This performance could include publication of important papers, creative contributions, service on committees or boards, teaching, and more.

“It is an honor to carry the distinction as a Fellow in my profession’s national association. Much of the time and energy devoted to my beloved profession and association has been behind the scenes; when I learned I had been awarded the Fellow, it let me know that my hard work and dedication had been not only noticed but appreciated,” said Sarah Nageotte, FAPR, RDR, CRR, CRC, an official court reporter from Jefferson, Ohio. Nageotte was inducted as a Fellow in 2017.

“There’s a quote that says, ‘Volunteers are not paid — not because they are worthless, but because they are priceless.’ Taking the time to recognize a colleague through a nomination is one way to say thank you for always giving for the betterment of all. If you don’t nominate someone deserving, who will?” added Nageotte, who is also an NCRA Past President.

To nominate an individual, view the full criteria and download a nomination form at NCRA.org/Fellows. For more information, contact Cynthia Bruce Andrews at candrews@ncra.org.

Board of Directors

Serving on the Board of Directors is an excellent opportunity to use your leadership skills to help advance the premier organization that continues to empower the court reporting profession. As a Director, you will serve with others as fiduciaries to steer the organization towards a sustainable future by adopting sound, ethical, and legal governance and financial management policies as well as by making sure NCRA has adequate resources to advance its mission.

The 2017-2018 NCRA Board of Directors

“After serving on NCRA committees and task forces, observing and respecting NCRA’s leaders, as well as holding several offices with my state association, I decided to challenge myself and seek a position on NCRA’s Board,” said R. Douglas Friend, FAPR, RDR, CRR, a freelance reporter an agency owner from Vancouver, Wash., and a Past President of NCRA.

“A joy of serving on the NCRA Board is attending state conventions and making presentations. Besides meeting reporters who became friends around North America, I also gathered confidence in public speaking. As a firm owner, this helped in speaking to groups of attorneys, legal assistants, and paralegals,” added Friend.

Nominations and recommendations can be submitted to boardnominations@ncra.org by Jan. 19, 2018. As a courtesy, please contact your candidate directly prior to submitting his or her name.

Anyone interested in seeking future Board service can attend a no-obligation orientation webinar on Jan. 10 at 8 p.m. ET. This webinar will help you gain a better understanding of the process and expectations of serving on the Board. For more information about the orientation, contact lbutler@ncra.org.

Distinguished Service Award

Nancy Varallo recognized with NCRA Distinguished Service Award

Nancy Varallo recognized with the 2017 NCRA Distinguished Service Award

NCRA’s Distinguished Service Award is often viewed as the pinnacle of a member’s career. It recognizes the distinguished work and service by an individual member for the benefit of the court reporting profession, including service to NCRA as a member, a committee member, a director, or an officer of the Association. Other displays of distinguished work include contributing to the JCR or service at a state court reporters association or in the field of public relations or public affairs. Award winners are recognized at the NCRA Convention & Expo.

“In 2015, at the NCRA Convention & Expo in New York City, I was humbled that I had been nominated and had been chosen to receive the DSA,” said Sandy VanderPol, FAPR, RMR, CRR, a freelancer and firm owner from Lotus, Calif.

“This award was such an honor, and I will always remember the ceremony and the many emotions that passed over me when my name was called. I tell you this because I want each of you to take the time to reflect upon what this award means to the recipient. Nominate a person you consider worthy, and be proud that you have been a part of the process,” she added.

Voting members of NCRA or of recognized court reporting associations may submit nominations through an online form, by email to dsa@ncra.org, or by mail to NCRA, Attn: DSA, 12030 Sunrise Valley Dr., Reston, VA 20191. Nominations must include information supporting why the nominee should be considered. DSA candidates cannot be an active member of the DSA Committee or the NCRA Board of Directors. The deadline to nominate a member for NCRA’s 56th Distinguished Service Award is Feb. 9.

Considerations when purchasing health insurance

Close-up view of doctor's lab coat with a stethoscope around the doctor's neck and and collection of pens in the pocketDetermining the right health care plan can be complicated, but help is available for NCRA members. NCRA has established a relationship with Mercer Marketplace, which makes an insurance solution available to members from the insurance agent and broker GetInsured. The open-enrollment deadline for health insurance, as required by federal law, is Dec. 15.

Members don’t have to examine each plan one by one because GetInsured considers all the available ACA-compliant health plans in their area and scores them by what individuals consider important:

  • Overall suitability
  • Monthly cost
  • Estimated out-of-pocket expense (e.g., deductibles and copays)
  • Which services are covered
  • Which doctors participate

Members can even narrow their coverage choices based on what matters most, whether it’s frequency of doctor visits, the number of prescriptions used, or other factors.

Comparing plans takes only minutes, and NCRA members pay nothing to use the online tool. Members are under no obligation to purchase anything, although they can secure coverage during the same online session (depending on where they live) or by calling the licensed GetInsured customer service agents at 866-454-6479.

Health insurance through Mercer is one of the many benefits that NCRA members can take advantage of. If you need insurance, don’t miss the Dec. 15 open-enrollment deadline.

Captioners incorporates both CART and broadcast in terminology

At the Nov. 3 NCRA Board of Directors meeting, the Board adopted the term captioners to describe any person practicing broadcast or CART captioning in the field. This change came on the recommendation of the CRC Certification Committee and the Broadcast and CART Captioning Committee. The proposal was part of the committees’ long-term strategy to aid practitioners in the marketplace by using the terms most understood by the people using the service.

The co-chairs of the Broadcast and CART Captioning Committee (Steve Clark, CRC, and Cynthia Hinds, CRC) and the co-chairs of the CRC Certification Committee (Karyn Menck, RDR, CRR, CRC, and Carol Studenmund, FAPR, RDR, CRR, CRC) proposed the change in a letter, explaining: “Twenty years ago, most captioners did either broadcast work or CART captioning. … Over the past five years, we have recognized that the overlap between the two groups was broad enough that we merged the two committees into the Broadcast and CART Captioning Committee.”

The letter to the Board noted that maintaining the distinction between broadcast and CART captioning also leads to confusion among consumers, placing additional barriers to finding someone who can provide the correct service.

“I know to most people, this change is pretty subtle,” said Studenmund after the Board adopted the change in terminology. “Some of us had legitimate concerns that when someone went to find a captioner, they would only see people who chose to be identified as CART captioners and didn’t realize the person was fully capable of working in the broadcast world. I can’t tell you how many times I have tried to explain to people who need our captions what CART captioning is as opposed to broadcast captioning, only to then see them look at each other and say, ‘It’s captioning.’”

Many captioners already provide a wide range of services, using the necessary devices for the assignment, providing CART services when asked and signing up for captioning shifts through one or more captioning companies. In addition, many captioners find new ways to offer their services that use a combination of technologies available. “Captioners don’t get up and say, ‘Today I’m going to be a broadcast captioner from 10-11 a.m., then go work as a CART captioner from 1-3 p.m., and later go back to broadcast captioning when I cover the 11-11:35 p.m. local news,’” Studenmund said. “We are all captioners, and we love what we do.”

This change in NCRA usage is only applicable to the overall categorization. “We are still going to talk about CART captioning to our friends in the hearing disabled community in the work NCRA does for us in Washington, D.C.,” explained Studenmund, “and we will still talk about broadcast captioning when communicating with the Federal Communications Commission.”

Following through on this change, as the Association updates the language from CART captioners or broadcast captioners to captioners in the print and online NCRA Sourcebook, NCRA members affected by the change will be contacted by email about making sure that their information is accurate.

8 questions for the winner of the Kindle Fire 8

Amanda Marvin, RPR, CRC, from Tomahawk, Wis., won the drawing for a Kindle Fire 8 by renewing her membership in October. A new professional, Marvin graduated from court reporting school in 2015 and has been working as a captioner for nine months, currently doing remote CART work “for several different college classes including biology, statistics, psychology, criminal justice, and commercial irrigation.”

“CART captioning was always my ultimate goal, and I am so happy that with the help of the Certified Realtime Captioner certification, I was able to start my career helping others and doing what I wanted to do,” she says. “I continue my membership in NCRA because it has given me a big advantage in employment for companies who hire captioners. They consider the certification as a standard of professionalism and proof of the skills needed to do a quality job.”

The JCR reached out to Marvin with eight questions to get to know her a little better.

  1. What is your favorite thing about doing remote captioning?

My favorite thing about doing remote captioning is the fact that I can stay at home and have a flexible schedule that allows me to get my kids to school and their after-school activities.

  1. What is the most interesting thing you’ve learned while captioning for college classes?

I have learned that there are an enormous amount of biology terms that can be pronounced several different ways. I learn something new in that class every single day.

  1. What is your most memorable moment from court reporting school?

My most memorable moment from court reporting school was probably when I passed my first 225 test. School was a long, hard road, and that was a very exhilarating experience.

  1. What was the biggest challenge you’ve overcome so far as a working professional, and how did you do so?

One of my biggest challenges is numbers and fingerspelling. Practicing, along with writing a statistics course and fingerspelling pop-up biology terms, has made me a better overall writer.

  1. What do you always include in your “elevator pitch” when you tell people what you do for a living?

I tell them I do CART, which most people aren’t familiar with. So then I tell them that it’s captioning what the professor says for students who are deaf and hard of hearing. I also make sure to tell them how there are many more people needed in the field, so if they know anyone who may be interested to let them know about it.

  1. What is your favorite benefit of being an NCRA member?

My favorite benefit of being an NCRA member is reading JCRs and the great wealth of information that is included in them as well as being able to list my certifications on my résumé.

  1. Before I became one, I never knew that captioners …

… had to put so much research and prep into doing a good job.

  1. What is your dream reporting or captioning assignment?

I would love to caption somewhere locally so people can see and understand what I do for a living.

 

Haven’t renewed yet? Members can take advantage of Black Friday discounts and giveaways, including purchase of membership renewals. Mark your calendars for Nov. 24.