NBC Olympics selects VITAC Closed Captioning Services for its coverage of the winter games

JCR: Journal of Court Reporting, TheJCR.com, JCR WeeklySportsvideo.org posted on Feb. 9 that VITAC Closed Captioning Services was chosen by NBC Olympics, a division of NBC Sports Group, to provide closed-captioning services for its production of the Winter Olympics, taking place in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

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TribLive.com also posted an article on Feb. 15 about the captioners who work for VITAC who are assigned to caption the Winter Olympics with the headline “Closed captioning live sports is an Olympic task for Pittsburgh-area firm.”

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2018 Court Reporting & Captioning Week kicks off in just over a week

NCRA’s 2018 Court Reporting & Captioning Week, Feb. 10-17, kicks off in just over a week, and state associations, individual members, and schools around the country are finalizing their plans to celebrate. From contests to open houses to showcasing realtime at courthouses and at career fairs, the quest is in full swing to raise awareness about the career opportunities available in the court reporting and captioning professions.

Students go for the gold

In celebration of the week, NCRA’s Student/Teacher Committee is sponsoring an Olympic-themed speed test open to all students at varying test speeds. The tests consist of five minutes of dictation at a speed level that each individual student is either currently working on or has just passed. In order to be eligible to win, students must pass the test with 96 percent accuracy. One Literary and one Q&A test will be offered, and the faculty at each school will be responsible for dictating and grading the material.

All students who pass a test are eligible for prizes; winners will be drawn at random for first (gold), second (silver), and third (bronze) prizes. Prizes will include a copy of NCRA’s RPR Study Guide ($125 value) for the gold medal winner, a choice of a one-year NCRA student membership ($46 value) or one leg of the RPR Skills Test ($72.50 value) for the silver medal winner, and a $25 Starbucks gift card for the bronze medal winner.

All students who participate in the contest, even if they don’t pass a test, will have their names and schools published in the Up-to-Speed student newsletter and the JCR. For more information about the rules and registration, please contact Debbie Kriegshauser or Ellen Goff.

Events around the country

To mark this year’s event, the Texas Court Reporters Association (TCRA) is hosting its second annual virtual run, which is themed Peace Love Steno. The run is open to all court reporting and captioning runners, walkers, and exercise enthusiasts. Once participants sign up and register, they can plan their 5K walk/run, which can be completed on a treadmill, around their neighborhood, at a local park, or at the office. TCRA asks that all participants post pictures of themselves completing their walk or run on its Facebook page. The cost to register is $25, and those who complete the 5K earn an antique gold medal with bright psychedelic colors and a purple ribbon.

Theresa Reese, RMR, Honolulu, Hawaii, an official court reporter for the First Circuit Court, will be hosting an event that will include an information kiosk at her courthouse to raise awareness about the profession and the role court reporters play in the judicial system.

In Kansas City, Kan., a court reporter shortage at the Wyandotte County Courthouse has prompted official court reporter Rosemarie A. Sawyer-Corsino, RPR, to plan a meet-and-greet at the courthouse to raise awareness about the need for qualified professionals.

Members and states compete in the annual NSCA challenge

Everyone who participates in an event to celebrate 2018 Court Reporting & Captioning Week is also encouraged to enter NCRA’s National Committee of State Associations (NCSA) fourth annual challenge.

The aim of the challenge is to encourage working professionals to spread the word about what viable career paths court reporting and captioning are. NCSA will review and tally all submissions by members and state associations, and all entries will be eligible for prizes ranging from free webinars to event registrations. More information about the NCSA Challenge is also available at NCRA.org/government.

Still planning? Check out NCRA’s resources

Be sure to visit NCRA’s 2018 Court Reporting & Captioning Week resource center at NCRA.org/Awareness. The site provides numerous resources including:

  • press release templates that state associations, schools, and individuals can use to help promote the week and the profession
  • media advisories to announce specific events
  • talking points
  • social media messages
  • a guide to making the record
  • information on NCRF’s Oral Histories Project, including the Library of Congress Veterans History Project
  • downloadable artwork, including the 2018 Court Reporting & Captioning Week and DiscoverSteno logos
  • brochures about careers in court reporting and captioning
  • a quick link to NCRA’s DiscoverSteno site that includes more information about the free A to Z Intro to Machine Steno program
  • and more

In addition, the 2018 resource center includes an updated, customizable PowerPoint presentation. The presentation is geared toward potential court reporting students and the public in general to bring awareness to the ample opportunities available in the profession.

Remember to share how you celebrate the week by sending information about and photos of your event to NCRA’s Communications Team at pr@ncra.org. Everyone is also encouraged to share his or her activities on social media using the hashtag #DiscoverSteno.

Arizona legislature adds services for the deaf, hard of hearing

JCR: Journal of Court Reporting, TheJCR.com, JCR WeeklyThe Associated Press reported on Jan. 16 that the Arizona legislature is providing a live captioning service and looping technology for committee hearings for people who are deaf or hard of hearing. People can request captioning in advance through the Arizona legislature’s website.

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Starting out in captioning: An interview with Chase Frazier

Chase Frazier placed in two legs of the 2017 National Speed and Realtime Contests

Chase Frazier, RMR, CRR, CRC, started out as a captioner, although his mother and brother, both already court reporters, were in the legal arena. Some recent graduates find going into captioning right away to be a good first step in their careers rather than spending time freelancing or interviewing for open officialships. The JCR Weekly asked Frazier to offer some thoughts on what is different if you plan to consider this option yourself.

What made you decide to go into captioning right out of school?

My realtime in school was exceptional for still being in school. I was realtiming qualifier-level tests for California while still in school. (The California realtime test presents four-voice 200 wpm for ten minutes.) Also, my teacher was kind enough to let me take normal tests as realtime tests. I would immediately email her my test while still in class, and she would print it at home and grade it. Getting that kind of feedback made me love realtime and love the challenge of trying to get every test even more perfect than the last. I still, to this day, try to get each captioning session better than my last.

What kind of equipment did you need to get to start out?

I needed my captioning software, a professional machine, and a modem. I was fortunate to have my parents give me the professional software and a professional machine as a graduation present.

Did you get any additional training before you started captioning?

I didn’t have any training. I researched on my own how to caption TV, the equipment needed, and what tweaks I needed to do to my dictionary. I googled captioning agencies and sent them all an email to try to work for them. None of them responded, except one. But that’s all I needed!

The one that responded vetted me by watching me caption to live news for 30 minutes a day for about a week. After that week, they said that I was good to go live and caption news.

What was challenging for you the first few times you captioned? What did you do to overcome that challenge?

Getting over my nerves was hard for me. It took me a week or two to not be nervous the first few minutes of the broadcast.

What advice would you offer to someone who wants to start captioning from school?

I wouldn’t recommend intensely working on your realtime while in school. Focus on your speed. Your realtime will come with speed. If you can write 200, try to realtime a 160. There are a lot of tricks to improve your realtime.

Also, you don’t have to write out to caption. You can write however you want and have perfect realtime for TV. Just make sure to also have a strong group of prefixes and suffixes. People on TV make up words all the time.

If you want to get your realtime up to par, find a captioner and see if he or she will help you and watch you write once or twice a week. You can share your screen on Skype, and the captioner can watch you write to news. Have that person tell you everything that you can do to improve your realtime. It’s going to be damaging to your ego, but it’s great for your writing.

Chase Frazier, RMR, CRR, CRC, is a captioner in Murrieta, Calif. He can be reached at chaselfrazier@gmail.com.

Pepsi Center will provide captioning after Denver woman’s lawsuit

JCR: Journal of Court Reporting, TheJCR.com, JCR WeeklyThe Denver Post reported on Jan. 3 that the owner of the Pepsi Center Arena will begin providing open captioning during non-concert events including major league teams in the fall. The decision follows a lawsuit by a woman who is deaf who claimed the lack of captioning at the venue violated the Americans with Disabilities Act.

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College football coach talks so fast, watching closed captions try to keep up is exhilarating TV

JCR: Journal of Court Reporting, TheJCR.com, JCR WeeklySBNation.com posted an article on Dec. 29 that interviews Kristen Humphrey, a captioner with ASAP Sports, about what it was like to caption Jimbo Fisher, the new coach for Texas A&M football, who was interviewed recently on ESPN.

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Man sues Fort Myers for failing to provide captioning of online meetings

JCR: Journal of Court Reporting, TheJCR.com, JCR WeeklyOn Dec. 27, WINK News reported that a Miami-Dade County, Fla., man filed a complaint against the City of Fort Myers for failing to provide closed captioning for people who are hard of hearing.

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NCRA members show off speed at Cotton Bowl

JCR: Journal of Court Reporting, TheJCR.com, JCR WeeklyThe Star-Telegram, Dallas, Texas, posted an article on Dec. 28 about NCRA member Jennifer Schuck, FAPR, RDR, CRR, CRC, Scottsdale, Ariz.; NCRA member Darlene (Rodella) Pickard, RDR, CRR, CRC, Marysville, Wash.; and NCRA Director Karyn Menck, RDR, CRR, CRC, Nashville, Tenn. Schuck, Pickard, and Menck attended the Cotton Bowl college football game to transcribe media interviews with players and coaches.

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London’s Grand Theatre opens doors to deaf patrons and actors

JCR: Journal of Court Reporting, TheJCR.com, JCR WeeklyThe CBC reported on Dec. 20 that the Grand Theatre in London, Ontario, Canada is reaching out to the deaf community to help make productions more accessible. The Grand has announced that for the first time it’s offering open-captioned shows as well as productions that will feature actors who are deaf or hard of hearing.

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Captions play a crucial function in the daily lives of millions

JCR: Journal of Court Reporting, TheJCR.com, JCR WeeklyOn Dec. 7, TVTechnology.com posted an article by P. Kevin Kilroy, CEO of VITAC, discussing why the best approach to captioning remains rooted in the human experience of the spoken word.

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