Highlights from the 2017 NCRA Convention & Expo: A student’s experience

Four young women pose in matching light blue shirts with steno written on the front

MacCormac students wear matching shirts at the 2017 NCRA Convention & Expo: (l-r) Ariel Kraut, Brianna Uhlman, Marissa Loring, and Hailey Treasure

By Ariel Kraut

I am very appreciative for the time I got to spend at the 2017 NCRA Convention & Expo in Las Vegas. What a fun and vibrant location for court reporters to come together and connect as a community!

On our first day, we visited the Expo Hall and got to explore many innovations in reporting technology. Things that I never even thought of, like ergonomic machines, different types of travel bags, all kinds of software, and much more, were on display. We got some great swag and were able to connect with vendors from all types of companies related to the field. I loved the neon light-up writer!

It was amazing to see all of the different types of new technology associated with the Stenograph machines knowing that I will soon be purchasing my own when I finish school. I really enjoyed watching a demonstration involving the audio-recording capabilities of the Luminex writer. Not only can you direct it to go back to the last question you asked in a testimony dictation, but the audio-sync feature allows you to listen to the actual dictation in addition to seeing the question on your screen. If only I had that available during tests!

My favorite part of the Convention was the being able to speak with reporters from all different fields. It was exciting to have so many people come up to us, knowing that we were students, and introduce themselves. All of the pros were so warm and welcoming to us. People from all over the country were so happy to see us students and had nothing but the most encouraging things to say. I even spoke with the President of NCRA multiple times and felt great about it. It was inspiring to see that many of the people we spoke with actually won awards for the Speed and Realtime Contests and were honored during the luncheon.

An especially good time for networking was in the “Steno Speed Dating” part of the first day of the student track. We got to sit with very successful reporters, including speed contest winners, realtime writers, captioners, and even a court reporter who worked in the House of Representatives. It is inspiring to see the places that this career can take you if you apply yourself. I also appreciated hearing about these professionals’ school experiences and what the biggest struggles were for each of them. I got some practice tips and some great advice as to how I can clean up my notes and build my speed at the same time.

Another very beneficial session was “Business of Being a Court Reporter.” There, we got to see a mock deposition take place with a panel of professional reporters pausing to explain certain parts of the process. They would also tell us what they would do if something unusual would happen and frequent issues that may come up on the job.

I am very thankful that I was able to attend this Convention as I found it reinvigorating for me as a student. School can be stressful sometimes, but seeing all of these successful women and men in the field made me feel like I was on the right track and I have a great life to look forward to in this field.

Ariel Kraut is a student at MacCormac College in Chicago, Ill. She can be reached at akraut@maccormac.edu.

Read “Finding court reporters’ paradise” by MacCormac student Brianna Uhlman

Oneida County court reporter holding free class to raise more interest in field

JCR: Journal of Court Reporting, TheJCR.com, JCR WeeklyOn Sept. 14, WJFW Newswatch 12, Rhinelander, Wis., ran a story about the A to Z Program sessions that NCRA member Lynn Penfield, RPR, CRR, is running. According to the article, “Anyone in the Northwoods who is interested in learning more about court reporting can sign up, although you should at least be a junior or senior in high school.” Sessions begin Oct. 17, and the article includes information to sign up. Penfield, who is an official in Harshaw, 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.”

This is not Penfield’s first experience with her local media. In 2016, she was featured in a piece about court reporting on WHFW-Channel 12, and in 2017, she was presented with a proclamation signed by Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker during Court Reporting & Captioning Week.

Read more.

Norwalk woman nationally recognized for court reporting

JCR: Journal of Court Reporting, TheJCR.com, JCR WeeklyOn Sept. 11, the Norwalk Reflector posted an article announcing that Marie Fresch, RMR, CRC, a freelancer and CART captioner in Norwalk, Ohio, had earned the Certified Realtime Captioner (CRC) certification. The article explained the requirements for earning the CRC, provided some background on captioning, and shared a few highlights from Fresch’s career.

The article was generated by a press release issued by NCRA on Fresch’s behalf.

Read more.

PohlmanUSA announces donation to the American Red Cross in support of Hurricane Harvey relief efforts in Houston

JCR: Journal of Court Reporting, TheJCR.com, JCR WeeklyPohlmanUSA, based in St. Louis, Mo., recently made a donation to the American Red Cross “on behalf of all of our clients and reporters located in Houston and those affected by Hurricane Harvey.” In their announcement, the firm said, “We appreciate the first responders and volunteers for their heroic efforts to keep everyone safe across the southern United States during this extraordinary event of nature” and shared the link to the American Red Cross.

Court reporting makes list of top 10 best jobs

JCR: Journal of Court Reporting, TheJCR.com, JCR WeeklyOn July 11, Insider Monkey published a list of “10 High Paying Non Customer Service Jobs Without a Degree.” The list ranked court reporting as number 7 on the list, which also included media and communication equipment workers, hearing-aid specialists, and claims adjusters, examiners, and investigators.

The article, which quoted a paper on the rising cost of college education by Ronald Ehrenberg of Cornell University, explained that tuition for some colleges have increased annually about 2 percent more than inflation.

Read more.

NCRA member Eleanor Ross passes away

JCR: Journal of Court Reporting, TheJCR.com, JCR WeeklyPast NCRA member Eleanor Ruth Hennessy Pinard Ross, of Westfield, Pa., passed away Sept. 4. Throughout her career, she worked for the Portland, Maine, bankruptcy courts, the federal court based in Baltimore, Md., and the U.S. Senate in Washington, D.C. She is survived by her three daughters and their families.

Read more.

Finding court reporters’ paradise

By Brianna Uhlman

The NCRA Convention & Expo is like the Shangri-la of court reporting. The things you learn, the relationships you build, and the experiences you take with you are irreplaceable. You leave motivated to finish school and determined to make the most out of your time in this profession.

Four young women pose in matching light blue shirts with steno written on the front

MacCormac students wear matching shirts at the 2017 NCRA Convention & Expo: (l-r) Ariel Kraut, Brianna Uhlman, Marissa Loring, and Hailey Treasure

The Expo Hall at the NCRA Convention is truly a magical place. Even as a student, the exhibitors are so willing and eager to talk to you and show you all that is new in the world of court reporting. In the Expo Hall, you can learn so much about the newest technology, whether it’s machines, updates in software, etc. You get to test out different machines from all different vendors. You have the opportunity to learn about several different companies that are involved in the court reporting world. You have the opportunity to talk face-to-face with some of the business owners and representatives who you will be working with for the rest of your career. And you can win so much free stuff!

Getting the chance to mingle with some of the top reporters around the country and the globe is such an invaluable experience. Talking with members of the Board, speed contest champions, and the like is extremely motivational. For me personally, I come from a small town with small dreams and not a lot of opportunity. When first enrolling in court reporting school and joining the court reporting community, I had no idea where this career could take me. But at events like the NCRA Convention, you get to know these amazing and successful people who may have come from a situation similar to yours. But because of this profession and all of the opportunity and their personal hard work and dedication, they have taken themselves so far. It makes you dream bigger and work harder for those dreams. It shows you that no matter your background or your current standing, there is no limit to where this profession can take you. If you work hard, stay motivated, and keep pushing yourself to get through school, you can have a very successful and fulfilling career.

Having the opportunity to talk to other students from all over the country is so encouraging. It really makes you realize that you are not alone in the struggles of court reporting school. There is a whole community of students who are having difficulty with speeds, getting stuck in similar areas, and experiencing the same discouragements you are experiencing. But being able to discuss these experiences and learn about other people’s techniques and tricks is so helpful. They are there to encourage you to keep going. Seeing the resilient spirit of other students is inspiring. Experiencing the genuine care and comradery from other students creates such an honest atmosphere of support and sincerity. It truly is a community of people that want to see you succeed in this profession, and that is just not something you see very often.

I am so thankful for the court reporting community. And I am so thankful for the NCRA Convention & Expo that creates the opportunity for this community to come together and create positive, long-lasting impacts on its members and their profession.

Brianna Uhlman is a student at MacCormac College in Chicago, Ill. She can be reached at brianna.uhlman@gmail.com.

Read “Highlights from the 2017 NCRA Convention & Expo: A student’s experience” by MacCormac student Ariel Kraut

ICYMI: Popular posts from NCRA social media

NCRA’s social media channels are a great way to stay on top of Association and industry news, but the social media team also tries to share interesting and entertaining posts from around the internet that will help reporters, captioners, and videographers do their jobs better, provide interesting information, or are just plain fun. ICYMI (in case you missed it), below are a few highlights of popular posts on NCRA social media over the past month.

Facebook

Even if you’re not in the courtroom or depositions, every reporter and captioner has a story of trying to figure out what the heck a speaker was trying to say. The ABA Journal, for the American Bar Association, fortunately, has recognized that some words are tough to pronounce and shared this quiz. Bryan A. Garner is the editor-in-chief of Black’s Law Dictionary (so he knows a thing or two about pronunciation) and the author of The Chicago Guide to Grammar, Usage, and Punctuation.

Twitter

Lots of court reporters are notaries, sometimes because their state requires them to be. Lots of court reporters need to swear in someone. Enter this article by the National Notary Association. It describes ways to respect individual beliefs and choices, take the procedure seriously, and use appropriate ceremonial gestures while taking an oath or affirmation.

LinkedIn

More than two-thirds of the members who answered the JCR Weekly poll “How far would you travel for a job?” said they’d at least stay somewhere overnight. But traveling, even for business, can make it tough to keep up with work. This article by Inc., written by Delta Air Lines, offered some tips on how to turn all that downtime at the airport into productive time.

Instagram

Instagram is NCRA’s newest endeavor on social media, and we’re still learning what our members want to see most. (Got some suggestions? Let us know!) But members loved this mini profile of Sarah Gadd. Maybe it’s because she looks ready to take on the (steno) world! Followers had plenty of encouragement for Sarah, such as Instagrammer vesnacsr, who said: “I knew you’d be a star when I first met you.” This profile came from a longer new professional spotlight on TheJCR.com.

Cross platform

Sometime social media itself provides a little inspiration, such as the trending hashtag #ReadABookDay. This post was popular on multiple NCRA channels (I spy one of the Bryan Garner books mentioned earlier in this article!), and members shared a few of the books they’re currently reading, including:

  • Our Iceburg is Melting: Changing and Succeeding Under Any Conditions by John Kotter (shared by @tjkaiser23 on Twitter)
  • Everything I never told you by Celeste Ng (shared by Judy Walsh on Facebook)
  • Court Reporting: Bad Grammar/Good Punctuation by Margie Wakeman Wells (shared by Ruth Haskins on Facebook)
  • A Time to Kill by John Grisham (shared by Deborah Forbeck on LinkedIn)

Best share


Social media is at its best when it gives people an opportunity to connect and share. Micheal Johnson, RDR, CRR, posted about a compliment he’d received on the job, Doris O. Wong Associates, Inc., shared it to their Facebook timeline, and we found it and shared it with ours, asking members to “‘Like’ if you’ve gotten a compliment for the service you provide” … and dozens of you did!

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.

WCRA honors NCRA President Chris Willette through NCRF donation

In August, the Wisconsin Court Reporters Association (WCRA) honored Chris Willette, RDR, CRR, CRC, on becoming NCRA’s 2017-2018 President through a generous Thoughtful Tribute donation to the National Court Reporters Foundation (NCRF). Willette, who was installed as NCRA President in August during the Association’s Convention & Expo in Las Vegas, Nev., is from Wausau, Wis., and is a past president of WCRA.

“WCRA made a donation in honor of Chris Willette’s NCRA presidency to help promote all the wonderful things that NCRF does for our national association, such as the Corrine Clark Professionalism Institute, the Legal Education Program, the Oral Histories Program, the Hard-of-Hearing Heroes Project, and the Angels Program,” said Sheri L. Piontek, RMR, CRR, CRC, an official court reporter from Green Bay and current president of WCRA.

“Chris Willette has a longstanding history of giving back to our profession on both the state and national levels. WCRA wanted to acknowledge those accomplishments in a way that will continue those efforts as Chris has demonstrated countless times,” she added.

NCRF’s Thoughtful Tributes program provides donors the opportunity to honor important people in their lives, whether personal or professional.

For all donations received, no matter the amount, NCRF sends an acknowledgment of each gift to the honoree(s) directly or to the person’s family, as appropriate. For donations of $250 or more, the names of both the donor and the honoree are listed on NCRF’s Thoughtful Tributes website and appear on a plaque displayed at NCRA headquarters. All donations to the fund are 100 percent tax deductible as a charitable contribution.

For more information or to donate, contact B. J. Shorak, NCRF Deputy Executive Director, at bjshorak@ncra.org, or call 800-272-6272.