CART provider sheds light on work in the classroom on local radio show

On Feb. 17, Norma Rease, a CART provider from Stockton, Calif., was interviewed on the Ryan and Repoman radio show on station KWDC during Court Reporting & Captioning Week about her job providing CART to students at San Joaquin Delta College. The interview was forwarded to NCRA by member Sharece Atkins, RPR, a freelance reporter also from Stockton who also works as a radio show producer and DJ. The audio was posted by Humphreys College, where Rease graduated.

Listen to the interview.

Announcing the winners of the JCR Awards

The JCR Awards were created as a way to highlight the innovative and forward-thinking practices of NCRA members and to recognize how court reporters, captioners, and legal videographers are leading the profession.

These individuals and organizations are being recognized as being the best-in-class for the noted categories.

Wendy Evangelista, Claudia Booton, Judy Stevens, Rachel Fox and Chandra Monis.

From left to right: Wendy Evangelista, Claudia Booton (sitting), Judy Stevens, Rachel Fox, and Chandra Monis.

Leadership and team-building

Judy Stevens, RPR, CMRS, CPE

Lakewood, Colo.

Judy Stevens, who owns Stevens-Koenig Reporting, was nominated by several reporters and staff members, who shared stories of her leadership and drive. “I’m one of four reporters who are tag-teaming an unusual trial case. Judy’s help in guiding me through what is outside of my comfort zone is quite reassuring,” wrote Becky Collings, RPR. “I recently passed the Colorado Realtime Certification test, and Judy is getting me ready to start that next journey of my career.” Several of the nominations also spoke about the meetings, often held at her home, where reporters can get together to socialize and ex- change steno briefs. Stevens has also brought in realtime trainers or motivational speakers for her staff and reporters for these gatherings, which have built a strong support network for everyone.

Debbie Weaver receiving the 2015 Spirit of Justice Award

Debbie Weaver receiving the 2015 Spirit of Justice Award

Community outreach

Midwest Litigation Services

St. Louis, Mo.

Debbie Weaver of Midwest Litigation Services has been actively involved in supporting equal access to justice through a number of pro bono organizations in St. Louis. One of the organizations the company supports is Let’s Start, a program dedicated to assisting women and their children in the transition from prison life to society. The company supports this group by volunteering at annual fundraisers and supplying packed lunches for a bus ride to take the children to the local prison to visit their mothers. In addition, the company has participated with the Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis in Read Across America, a literacy program; Motion for Kids, a party thrown for children who have parents affected by the criminal justice system; and other events.

White Coat Captioning screen from !!Con  2015.

White Coat Captioning screen from !!Con 2015.

Service in a nonlegal setting

White Coat Captioning

Saint Albans, Vt.

White Coat Captioning has been expanding its business to captioning several technical conferences, including a last-minute conference where the company replaced a group that was providing “nonsensical captions.” “People were very unhappy with the captions,” wrote Mirabai

Knight, RDR, CRR, CRC, who nominated the company (for which she works). Knight said that the company was able to completely turn around the comments. “As soon as we came on board, the entire social media reception to the captioning had completely changed. People started talking about how helpful the captions were and how impressed they were with the quality and accuracy of the captions, even saying that they wanted captioning at all their conferences in the future! It was a total reversal of the previous reception.”

Knight went on to explain that the company has been focused on the conference captioning work because it hopes to change the status quo, where the only way to get captioning was for a person who was deaf or hard of hearing to invoke their ADA rights. “One in seven people has hearing loss,” notes Knight, “so in an audience of 100 people, at least 14 will benefit from captioning.” White Coat Captioning seeks to make captioned conferences the new standard for conferences.

Christine Phipps caught in a relaxed moment during the workday.

Christine Phipps caught in a relaxed moment during the workday.

Individual member

Christine Phipps, RDR

North Palm Beach, Fla.

Categories recognized: Leadership and team-building, marketing and customer service, use of technology, community outreach

Dedicated. Hard-working. Determined. Tech- savvy. These are the words used to describe Christine Phipps by those who nominated her. “Christine Phipps is the type of person who will go out of her way,” wrote Jacqueline Andujar in her nomination. It was what inspired Andujar to go into business with Phipps, back when the company was run out of a bedroom in Phipps’ house. “Christine’s main goal is always to make her clients happy. She takes the time to listen and care.”

“Her passion is so contagious!” wrote Sherry Laurino in her nomination of Phipps. Laurino went on to say that it was Phipps who inspired her own entrepreneurial skills. “No one has more passion and love for court reporting and is committed to the growth and longevity of this industry,” Laurino said.

When she is preparing to meet a new client and show what her company has to offer, Phipps will go above and beyond to make sure the client understands and is satisfied. Even with other reporters, Phipps takes the time to update them with anything new and explains it. In addition, she has taken the time to write several articles on technology for the profession to make sure that everyone is aware of the latest trends and news.

“She is dedicated to teaching while not forgetting where she came from,” wrote Laurino. One of Phipps’ passions has been to help students of the profession and new profession. She led a charge to provide a number of students with memberships to NCRA in 2015 with posts about “Paying it forward” to the next generation, as well as donating several of the memberships herself.

“As her employee now, I have nothing but admiration and respect for her. She has been nothing but supportive, respectful, loyal, open-minded, and just an amazing person to work for,” said Andujar.

Honorable mentions

The Varallo Group

Worcester, Mass.

Categories recognized: Leadership and team-building

During 2015, the Varallo Group offered its employees a fitness program, which gave them the opportunity to establish health goals and meet and work with a personal trainer. The program was a huge success and produced immediate results that were clearly measurable, including weight loss and decreased absenteeism. An added benefit was that the employees grew closer through their shared experiences; for example, several employees ran together in their first-ever 5k race.

Cuyahoga Community College

Cuyahoga, Ohio

Categories recognized: Use of technology

The nomination for Cuyahoga Community College noted its use of technology to enhance students’ academic success, realtime writing achievement, and program satisfaction. From attending an introductory webinar before deciding to sign up for the program to its Blackboard Learning Management System, from using computer-compatible steno machines from the first day of class to accessing drills through Realtime Coach, the court reporting and captioning program uses technology to increase student satisfaction and eventual success.

Paradigm Reporting & Captioning

Minneapolis, Minn.

Categories recognized: Community outreach

Paradigm Reporting & Captioning donates to many local organizations, particularly legal associations and nonprofits that support the deaf and hard-of-hearing community. The Paradigm CART Captioning division provides many hours of pro bono services, including, in September, the captioning for the local Walk4Hearing that benefited the Hearing Loss Association of America. In addition, the company assembled 22 walkers to participate as “Team Paradigm.”

Caption First

Monument, Colo.

Categories recognized: Service in a nonlegal setting

Caption First, a company that offers remote and on-site captioning in a secure environment, established a call center that would offer stenographic relay services to people with hearing loss. The company used this as both a way to hire new stenographic professionals to hone their skills and a way to demonstrate stenographic skills to a broad audience. “It was a ‘court reporting continuum’ as it allowed new folks to work and provided relief to those who are winding down and don’t want to produce transcripts,” wrote Lesia Mervin, RMR, CRR, in her nomination. “And it, of course, highlighted realtime skills — always realtime skills.”

Cuyahoga Community College in Parma, Ohio

Cuyahoga Community College in Parma, Ohio

Schools: Leadership and team-building

Kelly Moranz, CRI

Cleveland, Ohio

At the Cuyahoga Community College in Parma, Ohio, Kelly Moranz spearheaded a mentoring program among all of the students, as well as with professionals. In addition, Moranz has supported the students in creating a new Captioning & Court Reporting Club. The club organized a Write-A-Thon (where all students had sponsors donate money as they wrote for five hours) and a bake sale. As Kristina Carmody wrote in her nomination, Moranz “generously donated and contributed time, money, and service to our fundraiser and even stayed the entire time and helped sell the baked goods while we wrote.”

Moranz is also in charge of recruiting new students for the program. Among the places that the school presents is a program called Women in Transition, which addresses women changing occupations or getting second careers later in life.

Dr. Mary Entz, Provost, DMACC-Newton holds a press conference to announce new court reporting program

Dr. Mary Entz, Provost, DMACC-Newton holds a press conference to announce new court reporting program

Special collaboration

DMACC and the Iowa Court Reporters Association

When Iowa court reporters received the news that AIB College of Business, which had been in place since the 1930s, would phase out the court reporting and captioning programs, the Iowa Court Reporters Association (ICRA) immediately went to work. The ICRA Board of Directors engaged Cathy Penniston, RPR, CRI, to investigate the matter, compile a report on successful court reporting schools throughout the country, and suggest a school in Iowa that could teach court reporting.

Penniston recommended contacting Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC), a well-established Iowa community college, to determine if it could create a court reporting program. When Stephanie Early, RDR, ICRA’s president at the time, and Bill Wimmer, its legislative representative, approached the school’s officials, they assured the school that ICRA was fully committed to assisting with the implementation of a court reporting program at DMACC.

DMACC's 2015 incoming theory students

DMACC’s 2015 incoming theory students

The DMACC school was interested in the concept and contacted other community colleges that offered court reporting programs. They also gathered more information about the curriculum and endorsements that would be needed to put such a program in place. In February 2014, the DMACC Board of Directors and the Iowa Department of Education approved the court reporting program. Then, in March, the DMACC Newton campus hosted a press conference to make the announcement about the new program: “DMACC has been working with the Iowa Court Reporters Association for more than a year to develop the curriculum, hire the faculty, and work out other details related to starting a new program.”

In 2014, Dr. Patricia Ziegler, CRI, CPE, was hired as a professor and program chair for DMACC’s new court reporting program, and in September of that year, eight students began classes at the Newton campus.

Through 2014-15, Iowa court reporters and AIB’s former vice president of admissions actively promoted the new program. More than 300 visits were made to Iowa high schools, career fairs, libraries, mock trials, and the Iowa State Fair. Through the Adopt-a- County project, Iowa court reporters marketed the profession and this new program in 26 of 99 Iowa counties. In addition, ICRA sponsored a student scholarship, and individual ICRA members mentored individual students. And in September 2015, a new class of 27 students enrolled.

The program is a success story stemming from the commitment and dedication of many, from the Iowa Court Reporters Association to the new DMACC court reporting program staff. As Penniston wrote in her nomination, “Because of the efforts of the Iowa Court Reporters Association and the hard work of everyone involved, court reporting education is alive and well in Iowa!”

Next JCR Awards

New York senator urges governor to sign bill to provide CART services in state courtrooms

In July, Sen. John A. DeFrancisco announced the passage of S5533-B by the state’s Senate and Assembly. The bill, which DeFrancisco introduced, would require state-funded courts to provide CART services for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing. NCRA member Adam H. Alweis, RPR, a senior court reporter from Syracuse, N.Y., attended the press conference where the announcement was made and provided a wireless realtime demonstration for those that attended.

Read more.

NCRA exhibits at Hearing Loss Association of America’s annual convention

HLAA 2015NCRA participated in the Hearing Loss Association of America’s annual convention held June 25-28 in St. Louis, Mo., as one of many exhibitors. Adam Finkel, Director of Government Relations for NCRA, represented the association at the event.

“Visitors to the booth were very interested in learning more about NCRA and the work its members do to support members of the hearing loss community,” said Finkel. “NCRA members who provide CART and captioning services provide an invaluable link to normal life for many of these Americans.”

The HLAA is the nation’s leading organization representing people with hearing loss. The organization provides assistance and resources on how to adjust to living with hearing loss.

According to the National Center for Health Statistics, 48 million Americans have some degree of hearing loss. NCRA has worked with HLAA for many years to address a number of issues through a strategic partnership in the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Alliance.

HLAA 2015_B“To have the 1,000-plus HLAA attendees seeing the CART captioners at this event is extremely important, and the interactions between the providers and consumers are priceless and never forgotten,” said Deanna Baker, RMR, a broadcast captioner from Flagstaff, Ariz., and a member of NCRA’s CART Ethics Task Force.

Baker, who also captioned some of the sessions at the HLAA convention, said she has been involved with the organization and NCRA as well as other hearing health groups for more than 20 years, said the common issue of communication access among them adds strength to the support for other issues such quality captioning, realtime training, and hearing health initiatives.

A number of NCRA members also attended HLAA’s annual convention to caption the many sessions and to provide CART services to attendees. Those members included: Kimberly August, Tucson, Ariz.; Mike Cano, RMR, CRR, CBC, CCP, Odessa, Fla.; Jana Colter, RMR, CRR, CBC, CCP, Louisville, Ky.; Linda S. Hershey, RDR, CRR, CBC, CCP, Chattanooga, Tenn.; LeAnn M. Hibler, RMR, CRR, CCP, Joliet, Ill.; Diane J. Humphrey, Loveland, Colo.; Karyn D. Menck, RDR, CRR, CBC, CCP, Nashville, Tenn.; Darlene E. Pickard, RDR, CRR, CBC, CCP, Seattle, Wash.; Kathryn A. Thomas, RDR, CRR, CCP, St. Louis, Mo.; Sharon K. Vivian, RPR, CRR, CBC, CCP, Milwaukee, Wis.; and Patti White, RDR, CRR, CBC, CCP, St. Louis, Mo.

New York Attorney General strengthens policies to help deaf, hard of hearing

An article in the Daily News that ran Nov. 17 reports that the New York State Attorney General’s office  and local agencies are working together to help the deaf and hard-of-hearing communities communicate with medical professionals. In addition to sign language, the article suggests the potential use of CART captioning to assist people with hearing issues.

Read more.

Court reporter has front row seat

In a recent video story posted by the Chicago Sun-Times, court reporters Victoria Rock, RPR, a deposition freelance reporter from Chicago, Marnelle Alexis Stephens, president of MacCormac College in Chicago, and Deralyn Gordon, a captioner and CART provider from Chicago, are interviewed about the court reporting profession including the many opportunities available and what the job entails. A printed article is expected to run in an upcoming Sunday edition of the newspaper.

Watch the video.

NCRA member authors piece for RID member publication

Jennifer Schuck, RDR, CRR, CBC, CCP, Scottsdale, Ariz., co-chair of the association’s CART Ethics Committee, wrote article about working alongside a CART captioner that appeared in the winter issue of the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf, Inc., (RID) membership publication. The article provides an overview of the services a CART captioner offers, as well as a description of the provider’s equipment, what interpreters can expect when working with a provider, and ethical considerations when dealing with clients. RID is a national membership organization that advocates for excellence in the delivery of interpretation and transliteration services between people who use sign language and people who use spoken language.

Read more.

NCRA member captions for parishioner

A recent article in the Catholic Herald describes how NCRA member Donna Linton has helped one of her clients more fully experience Sunday Mass by serving as a personal CART provider. Linton, RMR, CCR, works as a court reporter for Amicus Reporting in Ashburn, Va., and has provided CART services for Donna Gilbertson, who has been deaf since she was a year old as a result of a measles infection, for about 10 years, starting when Gilbertson was taking classes at Northern Virginia Community College. Linton continued to help Gilbertson with teacher-parent meetings for her children in school. This past April, Gilbertson asked Linton, a parishioner of St. Theresa Church in Ashburn, to be her personal CART provider for Mass. Linton accepted.

Read more.

E-seminar review: CART in the Courtroom: Official Reporter or Interpreter?

This informative e-seminar presented by Melissa Gum, RDR, CRR, CCP, Bakersfield, Calif., and Lesia Mervin, RMR, CRR, Visalia, Calif., sheds light on how CART services should be performed in the courtroom setting. Gum also talks about the importance of understanding the role of the CART provider in the courtroom. “We’re interpreters because we’re helping the deaf or hard of hearing, not keeping the record. It’s important to stay in the role. We’re interpreting words and things that happen.”

The e-seminar also helps attendees understand who CART consumers are and how CART providers can help them—but not just in the courtroom. There’s a need to provide services in the jury assembly room, conference room, and even the deliberation room. Consumers can be defendants, witnesses, jurors, attorneys, and family members of participants — the list is endless.

During the e-seminar, the presenters also go over protocol: how a CART providers should introduce themselves, as well as explain how everything works and what to expect. They also discuss how to set up equipment and the type of groundwork to do prior to an assignment. “Preparing for a CART assignment depends on who the person is receiving the services, as well as the setting. There are a lot of thing that can help translation rate if you’re prepared in advance,” Gum says.

In the second half of the seminar, Mervin discusses policies and procedures and why they need to be in place. She mentions many people don’t know the difference between a CART provider and an official reporter. There’s definitely a difference in the two roles, and providing CART requires different skills and additional training and equipment. The best way to prepare when people ask for the difference is to become familiar with the American with Disabilities Act, which is a great resource for what’s required. Mervin provides recommendations on how to talk about fees and additional compensation. “Everyone is trying to cut [their] budget, so be prepared by making a proposal and talking points.”

The e-seminar also offers valuable insight and examples on how to market yourself and why it’s important to learn new skills that will come in handy.

This e-seminar is now available in NCARA’S online collection.

Student Seminar session focuses on value of CART and captioning

Court reporting students attending the Friday Student Seminar at the 2014 NCRA Convention & Expo in San Francisco were able to get valuable information and advice from working reporters and others, attending the Premier Session to hear the keynote presentation and meeting the Board of Directors.

An afternoon panel focused on “Using Steno to Impact a Life” through CART captioning. Colin Cantlie emphasized how much CART/captioning consumers like him appreciate the work that CART captioners do, even if there isn’t a face-to-face interaction between provider and user. “Without them, I don’t get included in life,” Cantlie said. Each member of the panel—which included Heidi Thomas, CRR, RDR, CBC; Tammy Milcowitz, RMR, CRR, CBC, CCP; Sandra German, RDR, CRR, CBC, CCP, CRI, CPE; and Melissa Gum, RDR, CRR, CCP—introduced themselves before giving the students a chance to answer questions. Thomas began the discussion, however, by dispelling the myth she hears most often, which is that there is that CART/broadcast captioners work to save the world and judicial reporters work to make money. All parts of the industry pay roughly the same, Thomas said, adding, “We get paid very well for the work that we do.”

One student asked about each CART providers’ background, and German explained that while starting off out of school as a reporter first is the traditional route into captioning, it’s for good reason. Judicial reporting allows a new young professional time to settle in, gain confidence, and build a dictionary. German added that captioning can be a solitary job, and judicial reporting allows a new young professional more opportunities to meet people on the job. All panelists also stressed the importance of becoming involved in local, state, and national associations.

Gum encouraged students to get as many certifications as they could as soon as they could get them so they could be prepared for whatever road they took throughout their reporting career, adding that one of the things she liked best about being a court reporting is “you can continue to reinvent yourself.”

German reminded students that their work in school, while demanding, is valuable. “You are learning a skill that is irreplaceable,” she said.