College of Court Reporting welcomes guest speaker Tammy McGhee

Tammy McGhee

One hundred and fifteen students and faculty from the College of Court Reporting, Valparaiso, Ind., welcomed Tammy McGhee, RMR, as their guest speaker in the I-Auditorium on Monday, May 21. Tammy took time out of her busy captioning schedule to speak to all in attendance. Tammy addressed many topics of interest including why she chose court reporting as her career, a day-in-the-life of a captioner and freelance reporter, the importance of understanding and using her software, the benefits of being involved in and volunteering for the profession, the qualities of a new reporter, and some great reporting stories. Her love and enthusiasm for the profession was inspiring!

The College of Court Reporting knows what a few inspiring words from our professionals can do for the spirit of the student body.  Ashleigh Wiesman, a transfer student, said it best: “I just wanted to say that last night’s presentation was just what I needed.  I feel like I’m really struggling lately, so I needed that!” Lois Schoenbeck, CCR instructor, summed it up on behalf of all in attendance: “I love your enthusiasm for the profession. Thank you for giving us your time and knowledge.”

Tammy is currently vice president of the Ohio Court Reporters Association. She has also held the position of district representative and secretary. Tammy was an official court reporter in both Common Pleas and Municipal Court in Ohio and has been a firm owner. She currently works for VITAC as a broadcast captioner and loves to caption sports.

The students and faculty at the College of Court Reporting would like to, once again, thank Tammy for enlightening all and sharing her knowledge, experience, passion, and love for the court reporter profession. Thank you so much for sharing your great tips, taking time away from your busy captioning schedule to be with us, and giving back to the profession.  Awesome presentation, Tammy!

College of Court Reporting student graduates in 24 months

Kyra Kustin learned the EV360 Realtime Theory and graduated with the A.A.S. Degree in less than 24 months

Valparaiso, IN—In June of 2018, Ms. Kyra Kustin passed her final tests and received her A.A.S. in court reporting in less than 24 months! Kyra, a resident of Wading River, New York, was a recent online graduate of the College of Court Reporting (CCR). Kyra works as a freelance court reporter in New York.

In addition to developing a strong academic background, Kyra learned CCR’s EV360 Realtime Theory to master the ability to write with virtually perfect accuracy on a stenographic machine at 225 words per minute. As a result of her education and skill, she is capable of working in a variety of fields such as official reporting in state and federal courts, broadcast television captioning, educational reporting for the deaf and hard-of-hearing, and freelance reporting for attorneys.

Before starting classes at the College of Court Reporting, Kyra worked as a medical transcriptionist. Unfortunately, that profession did not adapt to industry and technology changes, which resulted in less work and dwindling income. The scarcity of work combined with her children getting older opened the door for her to change careers and go back to school. A family member familiar with court reporting suggested the profession. Although very different from transcription, it was similar enough to catch her eye. She was also intrigued by the variety of opportunities (freelance, official, captioning, CART) and availability of a flexible schedule.

This led, Kyra to research school. She diligently proceeded to educate herself to make the best decision for her future. “I spent a really long time researching schools, and never heard anything but overwhelming praise for CCR, which made it an easy decision and by far the best decision I made. The support from all of the teachers and staff, and the overwhelmingly comprehensive education you get at CCR was more than I could have asked for,” Kyra stated.

While a student at the College of Court Reporting, Kyra studied general education, medical terminology, legal terminology, machine shorthand, and court reporting technology courses. She developed a strong background in English and communications. Additionally, Kyra received numerous honors and high honors throughout her schooling.

Kyra had this to say about CCR:

“First off, the program at CCR is amazing. I’m so confident going out working and knowing that I am totally prepared in every way. Second, making a meticulous schedule held me accountable for keeping up with the plan I had made for getting through school. Lastly, to be honest, I’m super competitive, and when I set goals, there’s not much that I will let get in my way.”

Kyra acknowledges that she completed school in such a short amount of time because of her support system:”I have three daughters. My oldest two are 8 and 6, and my youngest was born in June 2017, right in the middle of my time at CCR. She’s another reason I credit for my success. I found out I was pregnant a few months into school. I knew what was coming in the months ahead, so I really pushed myself as hard as I could to get my speed up as much as I could before she was born. I made it to 140/160 speeds in that first year. My husband was the best support I could have had. He never complained a single time about giving me whatever time or resources I needed to succeed. It was extremely difficult and there was a lot of trading the girls back and forth, but without his support, I couldn’t have finished school, and definitely not in the time that I did.”

According to an independent study conducted by Ducker Worldwide (Ducker Report), one of the nation’s leading marketplace analyst firms, demand for court reporters will exceed supply within five years, yielding a nationwide shortage. By this year, there will be 5,500 new court reporter jobs available in the U.S., with the greatest demand occurring in: California, Texas, Illinois, and New York, according to the 2013-14 Court Reporting Industry Outlook Report.

College of Court Reporting was the first online program in the country to be certified by the National Court Reporters Association in 2006. With the help of CCR’s modern theory, proprietary teaching methodology, patented speedbuilding technologies, and innovative minute-by-minute testing method, the College now maintains one of the highest graduation rates among court reporting schools nationally. For more information on furthering your education, contact Nicky Rodriquez at 866-294-3974.

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South Suburban College to hold court reporting open house

The Illinois Patch.com posted an announcement on July 10 about an open house being hosted July 26 by the court reporting program at the South Suburban College.

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Local court reporter earns national certification

Shoreline Area News posted a press a release on June 30 announcing that NCRA member Douglas Armstrong earned his RPR. The press release was issued by NCRA on Armstrong’s behalf.

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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.

Winnebago County looks to recruit more court reporters to the court system

NCRA member Joan McQuinn, RPR, CMRS, an official court reporter from Rockford, Ill., talks about her career and the shortage of students entering the profession in an article posted June 12 by WREX Channel 13. McQuinn also serves as co-chair of NCRA’s Contests Committee.

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IN MEMORIAM: Freida Sclafani Williams

Freida Sclafani Williams

Freida Sclafani Williams

Freida Sclafani Williams died on June 3, 2018, after a long fight with cancer. Born on Aug. 10, 1944, in Deland, Fla., the only child of Rosie and John Sclafani, Freida was full of ambition. As a young girl, Freida was a talented dancer, with the skill and dedication to make this her profession. Instead, she went on to forge one of the most successful court reporting careers in Florida.

Court reporting piqued her interest at an early age. When she was 9 years old, she placed the carbon between the sheets of paper to help her mother type transcripts for the court reporting firm then-named Rosie Sclafani and Associates. After attending the University of South Florida, she became the judicial assistant to former Circuit Judge A.H. Lane. In 1962, Freida enrolled in the Stenotype Institute of Jacksonville and joined her mother’s firm as a court reporter in 1971.

In 1979, Freida was appointed a state official court reporter and served in that position until 1995. During this time, she also oversaw the daily operations of the Lakeland office. in 1980, the name of the firm was changed to Sclafani Williams Court Reporters, Inc. Five years later, Freida became president of the company to continue her mothers legacy once Rosie fell ill. Under Freida’s keen management, the business was the first in the area to integrate new technologies, such as video conferencing and digital reporting, and by the end of her career, she had opened 6 office locations.

Among her many recognitions and achievements, Freida served as president of the Florida Court Reporters Association (FCRA) from 1999-2000 and was awarded the prestigious Distinguished Service Award by FCRA in 2002. She was the recipient of the National Association of Women’s Business Owners “Women of Distinction Award” and Sclafani Williams Court Reporters, Inc., was listed in the Tamp Bay Business Journal’s top 75 women-owned business in the state of Florida in 2003 and 2004. She also served as vice president of the Florida Official Court Reporter Association, an organization committed to court reporting education.

More often than not, Freida wore black, red, and white with a sparkling swan pin, symbolizing her love of Lakeland. She will be remember for her commitment to service both the court reporting and Polk County communities while helping others achieve their dreams. Throughout  her 36-year career, she mentored and encouraged countless court reporting interns — teaching them business strategies and best practices. In addition, she was heavily involved in the Society for Technological Advancement of Reporting, eventually becoming president in 2007, and was part of the Daughters of the American Revolution, the National Court Reporters Association, the National Association of Women Business Owners, the Lakeland Chamber of Commerce, and the National Network Reporting Company. In Polk County, she helped fundraise for the restoration of the historic Polk Theater, supported the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, and provided pro bono video conferencing services to the Polk Museum of Art.

Freida believe that being involved in the community she loved fave her strength: “You never know how strong you are until being strong is your only choice.” She will be missed.

Tom Crites
Savannah, Ga.

 

IN MEMORIAM: Joseph T. Pudlo

Joseph T. Pudlo, age 86, passed away peacefully on May 12, 2018.  He was a partner with former NCRA President Sally J. Cochran and Secretary-Treasurer Richard B. Heilig, along with Jerome B. Sewell, John Jaroski, and Ken Kozlowski in Chicago.

“Mr. Pudlo,” as he became known to the legion of reporters he trained, was an avid story teller and mentor, and he left a significant mark on everyone he came in contact with. His high standards challenged every reporter to be the best and always “reach for the stars.”

Here is a recent photo with a small fraction of reporters he took under his wing when they were very young and now showing their respect almost 30 years later.

Everyone has a “Joe Pudlo story” that they could tell and would fill the pages of this Journal; but suffice it to say, he will be remembered fondly. In his honor we will always sing:

 

 

Sto lat Sto lat!
Niech zyje, zyje nam.
Sto lat! Sto lat!
Niech zyje, zyje nam.
Jeszcze raz! Jeszcze raz! Niech zyje, zyje nam.
Niech zyje nam!

100 years! 100 years!
They live, live among us!
100 years! 100 years!
They live, live among us!
Again, again! They live, live among us!
Live among us!

 

Ken Kozlowski
Marco Island, Fla.

Steno on the go!

What’s the strangest place you’ve had to tap-tap-tap away on your little machine, knowing that people are relying on your speech-to-text output? A bus perhaps? No? Well, Michelle Coffey, RPR, CRI, CPE, has done just that, and she shared her story with the British Institute of Verbatim Reporters. Coffey owns Premier Captioning & Realtime Ltd in Wicklow, Ireland, and is a seasoned reporter. To know what it was like to caption on a moving bus, read her story below. Sounds like a whole heap of fun!


By Michelle Coffey

We all know that every day in the working life of a captioner is different and can be a challenge, and then there are days like Tuesday, November 26! It began like any other day, with a booking for a regular client at a conference they were holding to discuss accessible tourism in Ireland.

But then I was told we wouldn’t be needed till after lunch as the morning was being spent on an ‘accessible bus tour’ to some of the accessible sights of Dublin. Hold on a minute, though. If I’m there for access for the deaf/hoh tourists and I’m not needed, then how accessible is this tour going to be for them? So I asked how they’d feel if we tried to make the tour bus accessible. Without hesitation, we got a resounding yes! If you can do it, the organizers said, let’s go!

On the morning of the job, I arrived at their office with laptops, screens, projectors, extension cables, etc. I could see the perplexed expressions as they tried to work out how best to break it to me that I wouldn’t be able to plug in my extension lead on the bus or indeed my projector! But once I reassured them that I did really have some clue about what we were about to embark on and that the screens were for our final destination, everyone relaxed.

And I have to say, it was by far the most fun job I’ve done.

Three double-decker Dublin Buses pulled up outside the office, where everyone was given a name tag and allocated a bus. The idea was that as the buses traveled between destinations, the facilitator would lead discussion and debate onboard; and then in the afternoon all three busloads would feed back their information to the group at large. As our bus was now equipped with live speech to text, the occupants of the other buses could see what we were discussing or joking about! The tour very quickly descended into a school tour mentality (we were even given some snacks) with lots of good-natured joking, and one of our blind facilitators even scolded me for shielding my screen from him which meant neither he (nor Cookie his guide dog) could copy my answers to the quiz.

It soon became apparent that our driver was quite new to the concept of braking in a timely fashion and had probably never passed a pothole he didn’t enter! This being the case, I was finding it increasingly difficult to stay upright myself, much less my machine; with that in mind, the guys and gals on our bus decided to take bets on when the next bump in the road, traffic light, or such thing would cause me and/or my machine to slip! It really lightened the mood, everyone had a laugh, and it brought home to people in a very real and tangible way that accessibility for everyone is not just a soapbox topic. In fact, it became something that everyone on our bus played an active part in (even if some of them were “accidentally” bumping into me to get an untranslated word — and a laugh).

But it showed that access matters, and that it should matter to us all!

What I didn’t know before that morning was that not only were we doing a tour on the bus, but we also had two stops; one at a brand-new and very accessible hotel and one at a greyhound race track. Initially, it was suggested that I would stay on the bus and not transcribe the tours, but where’s the fun in that? And more importantly, where’s the accessibility in that? So, I picked up my steno machine, laid it against my shoulder like a carrying hod, and off I trooped to join the fun once more.

Once we got off the bus, the bets turned to how many different positions they could get me to write in; standing (we weren’t in the lobby of the hotel long enough to procure a chair); sitting (in the bar I managed to find a stool); balancing on a bed (with a busload of people crammed into even the most luxurious of hotel rooms, it tends to get a little cramped; never before had I cause to utter the sentence “Any chance a few of you guys could move over a little, I’m nearly falling off the bed!”); squatting (trackside at a greyhound racing park); machine stand on a bar table (at the betting counters in the racing park), and finally, my machine held by another tour member in the lift — it was a truly interactive tour.

And to finish the day off, we went back to the Guinness Storehouse for our panel discussion and debate about accessible tourism in Ireland (and free pints of Guinness, of course). All in all, a brilliant day. An important topic discussed, debated, delivered, and demonstrated in our different locations — the best job ever.

 

Casting call for stenographer

On June 6, Fox Channel 5 Good Day Atlanta posted a casting call for a stenographer for a film entitled Mule, being directed by Clint Eastwood.

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