Welcome to the digital edition of the JCR!

In addition to the print JCR, members have access to a digital version. There’s still nothing like holding a physical magazine in your hands, but the digital version is typically available a little earlier than the print arrives in mailboxes and has a few enhanced features:

  • search for specific terms
  • bookmark a page to easily reference later
  • write notes to yourself
  • share pages with colleagues

The digital edition is also hyperlinked, so clicking on any link will take you directly to the appropriate website.

Members can access the digital magazine at NCRA.org/JCRmag (you may be prompted to log in). Choose the issue you wish to read by clicking “View Digital Issue” by that month’s cover. You will need to log in again to access the magazine on the web-hosting site; this is the same login information as you use for NCRA.org. The first time you log in, you will have the opportunity to take a tutorial to become familiar with all of the digital magazine’s online features and how to navigate the digital version.

Highlights from the October issue:

The digital edition is compatible with most smartphones, tablets, and computers.

Last call for JCR Awards nominations

Nominations for the 2017 JCR Awards are closing Oct. 31. Nominate yourself or another noteworthy court reporter, captioner, videographer, scopist, teacher, school administrator, or court reporting manager for recognition through the JCR Awards.

Conceived as a way to recognize and highlight the exemplary professionalism, community service, and business practices of NCRA members, the JCR Awards is a way to tell compelling stories that bring to life innovative and successful business strategies from the past year. In addition to nominations for several subcategories, NCRA is looking for a firm and an individual who show excellence in more than one category for an overall “Best of the Year” award.

Any current NCRA member in good standing, with the exception of students, may be nominated for these awards. Court reporters, captioners, videographers, scopists, teachers and school administrators, and court reporting managers are all eligible for nomination. Self-nominations are accepted. Firms, courthouses, or court reporting programs may be nominated as a group as long as they meet the criteria for membership for one of the definitions in the JCR Awards Entry Form.

To nominate yourself or someone else, submit a written entry to the JCR between 300 and 1,000 words explaining the strategies implemented and why they were successful. Ancillary materials, such as photos, may also be submitted with the nomination. Nominations will be considered by the JCR editorial team based on the best fact-based story.

Please be prepared to offer documentation, verifiable sources, or other assistance as needed to be considered for these awards. The stories of the finalists will be published as featured articles in the March JCR.

Nominations are due by Oct. 31. Read more about the JCR Awards.

New NCRA CEO announced

JCR: Journal of Court Reporting, TheJCR.com, JCR WeeklyThe Daily Record (Baltimore, Md.) posted an announcement on Oct. 2 about Marcia C. Ferranto being named NCRA’s new Executive Director and CEO. The piece was generated by a press release issued by NCRA on Ferranto’s behalf.

Read more.

Donate your old machine and case to the A to Z Program

"Donate your machine for the A to Z Program" -- Four different models of steno machines

The A to Z Program offers participants the opportunity to learn the basics about court reporting in a six-to-eight week introduction to machine shorthand program.

You can assist the next generation of court reporters and captioners.

There is a great need for used steno machines, chargers, AC adapters, paper trays, ribbons, tripods, cases, etc. If you have these items, the A to Z Program is looking for donations and loans to programs in your state or local area.

Stylized image of a hand holding a steno machine -- white outline on a purple backgroundDonate or loan your steno machine

You do not need to ship your machine or any other items at this time. You will be contacted when your items are needed. We ask that everything you donate is in good working order and has been cleaned. This is an introduction to our profession, and we’d like the experience to be a positive one.

Complete this form and NCRA’s Education Department will add your name and items to the database. When needed, you will be contacted by a local A to Z Program leader.

Are you interested in leading an A to Z Program?

A to Z Program leaders work with small groups of participants as they learn how to write the alphabet and numbers in steno. This program does not follow any particular theory. Program leaders receive free training materials after completing and submitting a program leader Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). For more information, view the A to Z webinar and read the frequently asked questions.

NCRA’s A to Z Intro to Machine Shorthand program sparks media interest

NCRA's Discover Steno: Explore. Consider. Learn

NCRA’s A to Z Intro to Machine Shorthand program, introduced last year, is steadily gaining interest by the public and the media. In addition to programs in more than 16 states, most recently media outlets in New York and Wisconsin highlighted the effort.

Good Morning Rochester, Rochester, N.Y., aired a piece on Sept. 19 that featured NCRA Director Meredith A. Bonn, RPR, an official court reporter from Webster. The story highlighted what Bonn does as well as emphasized the current need for court reporters and captioners. A second story that also featured Bonn provided insight into what it takes to enter the profession and included information about the A to Z programs she leads in her area.

On Sept. 14, WJFW Newswatch 12, Rhinelander, Wis., showcased NCRA member Lynn Penfield, RPR, CRR, an official court reporter from Harshaw, who will begin an A to Z program in October. The story notes that Penfield is running the program because she “considers [court reporting] the best job she’s ever had, and she wants to get more people interested in her field.”

NCRA Past President Nancy Varallo, FAPR, RDR, CRR, Worcester, Mass., developed the A to Z program to help those outside the profession experience steno by learning to write the basics. She graciously turned the program over to NCRA. Since then, NCRA’s Education Department has successfully worked at the grassroots level to promote the effort.

The six-to-eight week course is available at no cost to participants. Volunteer leaders host the sessions, and participants use loaner machines that have been donated by others in the profession.

To learn more about the A to Z Intro to Machine Steno program, visit NCRA.org/education or TheJCR.com/tag/a-to-z-program, or contact Cynthia Bruce Andrews at candrews@ncra.org.

The JCR Awards recognize innovative business strategies and more

The JCR Awards offer the perfect way to showcase innovative and successful business strategies from the past year. For the third year, the JCR staff is seeking stories that bring to life new and inventive ways that NCRA members change the way they do business, serve their communities, and help promote the professions of court reporting and captioning.

Nominations are currently being sought for several subcategories, such as best-in-class stories for: Marketing and customer service; Leadership, teambuilding, and mentoring; Use of technology; Community outreach; Service in a nonlegal setting; and Court Reporting & Captioning Week (2017) initiative. In addition, NCRA is looking for a group and an individual who show excellence in more than one category for an overall “Best of the Year” award.

Any current NCRA member in good standing, with the exception of students, may be nominated for these awards. Court reporters, captioners, videographers, scopists, teachers and school administrators, and court reporting managers are all eligible for nomination as well as groups, such as firms, courthouses, or court reporting programs. Self-nominations are accepted. More information about specific criteria for each of the categories is available on the JCR Awards Entry Form.

To enter, submit a written entry to the JCR between 300 and 1,000 words explaining the strategies implemented and why they were successful. Ancillary materials, such as photos, may also be submitted with the nomination. Nominations will be considered based on the best fact-based story. Please be prepared to offer documentation, verifiable sources, or other assistance as needed to be considered for these awards. The stories of the finalists will be published as featured articles in the March 2018 issue of the JCR.

Nominations are due by Oct. 31.

Read about the winners from 2017 and 2016.

Four 2017 amendments pass by vote of the membership

"I voted" sticker with American flag

Photo by Vox Efx

Four of five amendments passed by a vote of the membership Thursday, Aug. 10, following the NCRA Annual Business Meeting, which was held in conjunction with the 2017 NCRA Convention & Expo. One amendment was withdrawn following an adopted motion at the Annual Business Meeting.

Members who were not able to attend in person were able to review a transcript following the meeting. Voting closed at 12:15 a.m. PT, Aug. 11.  686 (5.8%) of 11,917 electors voted in this ballot.

An amendment changing the requirements for Retirement Membership status, which will be effective Jan. 1, 2018,  was voted in by 533 (80.6%) for to 128 (19.4%) against.

An amendment updating the procedures for voting in electronic meetings was voted in by 624 (96.4%) for and 23 (3.6%) against. To maintain consistency throughout the Bylaws, this amendment touched on several different sections for changes.

A third amendment, affecting the Nominating Committee, clarifies the language to include the President-elect in appointing committee members. The amendment was voted in by 593 (92.7%) to 47 (7.3%).

The final amendment voted on by the membership regarded the hiring of a parliamentarian. The amendment was voted in by 559 (91.6%) for to 51 (8.4%) against.

To be adopted, amendments require a two-thirds vote of the Voting Members present and voting at the Annual Business Meeting as well as the Voting Members who are voting by electronic mail or other authorized means of electronic transmission. The full language of the amendments can be found on the NCRA website.

Read all the news from the 2017 NCRA Convention & Expo.

Immediate Past President’s final address to the membership at 2017 Convention & Expo

Tiva Wood - 2The following is the speech given by 2017-2018 NCRA Immediate Past President Nativa P. Wood, FAPR, RDR, CMRS, at the Annual Business Meeting at the 2017 Convention & Expo in Las Vegas, Nev.

Wow – that year whizzed by! It feels like just five minutes ago I was talking to you about the year to come and poof – here we are and I now get to tell you what we accomplished.

Together, we accomplished so much, from increasing benefits to our members through a new savings program to upgrading the Association’s online testing and increasing the number of members who are committed to becoming certified in their areas of specialty.

Communication with the membership is a huge factor in any association’s success. NCRA members are now more informed than ever about what’s happening in the profession as well as within their national organization, thanks to the continued success of the JCR Weekly newsletter, a newly launched Angels quarterly newsletter, and the reinstatement of the PAC newsletter. We also launched a very successful quarterly student newsletter.

While communicating with our members is essential, communicating with others outside of our Association is paramount in raising awareness of the profession that we hold so dear. The 2017 Court Reporting & Captioning Week did just that. There were proclamations in 17 states, media coverage reached nearly 108 million consumers, media outreach generated $167,100 in public relations value, U.S. Representative Ron Kind from the great state of Wisconsin officially recognized the week in a speech before the U.S. House of Representatives on Feb. 14, and the first NCRF Hard-of-Hearing Heroes Project event was held Feb. 18 at the Hearing Loss Association of America in Bethesda, Md.

My favorite thing about Court Reporting & Captioning Week? It’s a perfect combination of NCRA providing resources to our members, who then go out and make all that I just spoke about happen. It’s the quintessential grassroots effort. And it works.

I mentioned the Hard-of-Hearing Heroes Project and that is the perfect segue to talk about what our volunteer members do for NCRA and NCRF. On Feb. 18, we had members drive from three hours and two hours away to provide services to capture the stories of the veterans – captioners and court reporters. Even if they lived locally, they still gave up a Saturday to volunteer.

The work that is accomplished by our volunteers is nothing short of remarkable. I would sit in on committee conference calls, sometimes late at night, and listen as ideas were shared, solutions were vetted, and implementation was monitored. These extraordinary reporters are the backbone of our Association and I would like to thank each of them for what they’ve given to NCRA this year.

Some other highlights I’d like to share: the largest attendance at the Firm Owners Executive Conference in five years. The Firm Owners Committee and NCRA staff worked hard to make that happen. We also launched NCRA Leadership Training that includes a monthly webinar series to help educate state leaders on successfully running an association and held the first regional leadership conference to provide greater access to state leaders to participate in hands-on training. Stay tuned for a leadership conference coming to your neck of the woods soon! NCRA’s Government Relations Department is available to all state associations as they face challenges at home.

Sometimes a program is so good, it takes off like wildfire. That would certainly define the launch of the A to Z Intro to Machine Shorthand program this past year. A to Z is a free six-to-eight week course taught by volunteers to those interested in a potential career in court reporting or captioning. Steno machines are donated by generous reporters and captioners for the attendees to use. So far, 25 programs have been completed or are currently in progress, and there are eight programs with a definite fall start date and 22 with a tentative fall start date. 153 people have participated, with 41 going on to court reporting school. And by the way, there’s more data coming that will only bolster those numbers.

Please consider starting your own A to Z program. All of the facilitating materials you need can be found at DiscoverSteno on NCRA’s website. We even have a listserv for group leaders to help each other with ideas for promoting the classes, how to obtain steno machines, and locate sites to hold the classes.

Of course, there is work that remains. Recruiting students to our profession and getting them through school successfully is still the top priority. And nearly equal to that is increasing NCRA’s membership. The bottom line? We need students entering court reporting school to ensure the future of our profession, and we must increase membership to ensure the future of this Association.

I thank the Board and NCRA staff for their work and contributions to the common good, and I wish Chris much success as she leads the way in the coming year.

It has been an honor to serve all of you. Thank you.

Read all the news from the 2017 NCRA Convention & Expo.

There’s lots of fun to be had at the NCRA and NCRF booths

PAC and NCRF booths_croppedBe sure to stop by the NCRA membership, NCRA government relations, and the NCRF booths at the 2017 Convention & Expo and take advantage of savings, grab some giveaways, and learn how you can support the court reporting and captioning professions. All three booths will be located at the host hotel, Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, Nev., on the Mezzanine Level during the Aug. 10-13 event. Below is a sneak peek at what visitors can expect.

At the NCRA membership booth:

  • Take advantage of savings and special offers from more than a dozen carefully selected industry-leading partners from the NCRA Saving Center, the Association’s official member benefits resource
  • Receive an exclusive discount code for NCRA Convention & Expo participants for 20 percent off everything in the NCRA Store
  • Help your personal brand thrive with resources developed specifically to promote court reporters, captioners, and legal videographers
  • Learn about the A-to-Z program and how you can bring it to your area
  • Sign up to do career fairs for high school and middle school students with materials provided by NCRA
  • Sign up to join the Virtual Mentor Program as a mentor or mentee
  • Pick up an NCRA membership brochure to bring home to a colleague
  • Give a video testimonial about why you love court reporting, captioning, and/or legal videography
  • Get a free professional headshot to use for publicity and the NCRA Online Sourcebook
  • Check out this year’s free giveaways
  • And more

At the NCRA government affairs booth:

  • Contribute to NCRA’s Political Action Committee and be automatically entered to win a Fire HD tablet. Help raise $5,000 in PAC contributions and watch 2017-2018 NCRA President Christine J. Willette, RDR, CRR, CRC, and Immediate Past President Nativa P. Wood, FAPR, RDR, CMRS, sing karaoke at the President’s Party
  • Learn more about programs and resources available to train volunteer leadership
  • Find out the latest about legislative and regulatory issues at the federal and state levels
  • Check out this year’s cool giveaways
  • And more

At the NCRF booth:

  • Purchase this year’s official Convention pin, featuring a Magic at Your Fingertips design
  • Pick up official pins from previous Conventions to complete your collection
  • Take a chance to win a one-of-a-kind magically designed Luminex generously donated by Stenograph. Raffle tickets cost $50 each or three for $125
  • Pledge as a 2018 Angel and be entered into a drawing for a week-long stay in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, at the Villa Del Palmar resort, generously donated by Denise Paternoster, RPR, in loving memory of her husband, Frank Paternoster
  • Be part of Convention history and sign the official Convention register
  • And more

NCRA Saving Center adds new benefits

NCRA’s Saving Center has expanded to include new personal benefits in addition to the current business discounts. The new benefits have been automatically added to NCRA’s program and will be featured on the Saving Center soon. New benefits include:

  • Savings up to 60 percent on tickets to top attractions, theme parks, shows, sporting events, movies, and more as well as discounts on dining and hotels
  • A downloadable RX discount card that can save users up to 75 percent on prescription drugs not covered by insurance; the card is accepted at more than 68,000 pharmacies nationwide and covers the cardholder, family members, and pets
  • Free membership in the Rewards Mall that offers cash back on online purchases from more than 1,200 stores along with stack coupons and store offers
  • Discounts on car rentals from Avis and Budget, including waived additional driver fees, airport surcharges, and late fees as well as Avis Preferred and Budget Fastbreak services for counter by-pass amenities

NCRA members can sign up for the Saving Center for free and save on an array of products and services provided by nationally recognized vendors. The Saving Center is administered by Windfall Savings.

To learn more about what the Saving Center offers NCRA members or to sign up, go to NCRA.SavingCenter.net. Alternately, contact the Windfall Savings member care team at 888-868-4030 or membercare@savingcenter.net.