REALTIME: Learn from secret agents like Ethan Hunt, James Bond, and others

By Lynette Mueller

I live in a household with two guys. As you can imagine, our movie-going outings tend to be action films, science fiction, and comedies. Don’t get me wrong — I am not complaining in the least. I love all of those genres!

This past summer, we saw Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation and The Man from U.N.C.L.E., flicks about secret agents and packed with continuous action. As is the case with most action films featuring secret agents like Ethan Hunt, James Bond, and others, common elements can be found throughout the movies: mysterious plots, superhuman skills and maneuvers, amazing chase scenes, continuous action, and the gadgets that help them achieve their mission or goals. The heroes generally have the same character traits: dependable, in peak physical condition, and prepared for any situation. They exercise continuously and consistently because they know it can mean the difference between life and death out in the field. They don’t cut their workouts short when they’re tired or miss a day because they’re not up to the challenge. They train hard, they train with purpose, and they train as if their lives depended on it. Even though I’m a working reporter, I feel it is imperative to practice my writing on a daily basis. There are several resources to find practice material:

In an effort to channel our inner “secret agent,” we can learn from these fictional characters in our quest to become the best professional court reporter ever!

The definition of “professionalism”: the skill, good judgment, and polite behavior that is expected from a person who is trained to do a job well

Just like Ethan Hunt in the Mission: Impossible series, court reporters should use technology tools and gadgets to solve everyday tasks and real-world problems in order to help make the job easier. Court reporters should keep in mind that in order to be effective and stay relevant, we must keep abreast of technology, embrace it, and never be skeptical of the newest innovations. This past June, I co-presented with my good friend, Keith Lemons, at a seminar about realtime tips and fears and also the gadgets we use to help us be more productive. Some of the favorite gadgets:

  • smartphones
  • iPads/tablets (realtime reading devices)
  • Apple Airport Express (output for realtime)
  • DYMO LabelWriter (create exhibit stickers and mailing labels on demand)
  • Bolse 4 Port USB AC Rapid Charger (charge multiple devices at once)

Find a full list of my gadgets here.

In the opening minutes of Mission: Impossible, Ethan Hunt dangles precariously from a mammoth four-engine turboprop plane that pushes triple-digit speeds during a steep vertical takeoff — while movie magic can make his skills seem superhuman, it’s also obvious that a secret agent must be in peak physical condition! While we court reporters may not be superhuman, we should strive to be the best we can be and keep up with our writing skills. Being realtime-proficient is the key to achieving super agent status for our clients and meeting their needs so they have the tools necessary to prepare their case. The benefits of realtime are huge:

  • improved writing skills
  • improved translation delivery
  • quicker transcript turnaround
  • job satisfaction
  • name recognition; people ask for you
  • increased income
  • readback is phenomenal

In The Man from U.N.C.L.E., the two main characters, Solo and Illya, realized they were going to have to work together, and they discussed what they knew about each other. Both of these men had clearly done research about their respective rivals and gathered information that would help them down the road to achieve their joint mission. Just like Solo and Illya, court reporters need to be sure to be prepared for each assignment and know where to search for answers to different scenarios we may be faced with on a daily basis.

In order to make our realtime feed topnotch and prepare for the job, we should reach out to our clients and/or their assistants to request as much information about the case that is available. Some things to request:

  • list of attorneys/participants
  • proper names and case-specific jargon, if available
  • previously marked exhibits
  • research online for case-specific terminology and technical terms
  • create and enter briefs into job dictionary
  • practice newly created briefs
  • create a cheat sheet with new briefs

Finally, everyone knows all secret agents are dependable and can get the job done speedy quick! Dependability means that court reporters should arrive to the job at least 20 minutes early, be prepared for each assignment, willing to comply with expedited transcript requests whenever possible, and meet transcript delivery schedules.

Court reporters, our mission, should we choose to accept it, is to be even more awesome every day!

Lynette Mueller, RDR, CRR, is a freelance reporter in Johns Creek, Ga. She can be reached at lynette@omegareporting.com. This article was originally published on Lynette’s Blog at omegareporting.com/lynette-blog.

GOING GLOBAL: The Intersteno experience

 

By Tori Pittman

Have you heard about the Intersteno Congress? Intersteno 2015, the 50th Congress, was held in Hungary the week before the NCRA Convention & Expo took place in New York. Several members of NCRA participated – but we would love to have more for Intersteno 2017 in Berlin.

Officially, Intersteno is the International Federation for Information and Communication Processing. As such, it encompasses all manner of information technology, but the court reporting subset is part of a group entitled the Intersteno Parliamentary and Other Reporters Section, or more informally IPRS.

Every two years, Intersteno holds a Congress – like NCRA’s annual convention – in which members participate in seminars, excursions, networking events, and competitions. The seminars are usually held in a school of some kind, whether it’s a college or a secondary school, and the competitions are also usually held there as well. Gala events may or may be held in other locales. And excursions could be anything from a walking or cycling tour to a bus tour of the host city or local area.

The competitions are myriad, and the competitors range in age from 8 or 9 years old to people in their 60s and older! Team USA mainly competed in the Audio Transcription, Speech Capturing, and Realtime Speech Capturing categories. Additional competitions include Text Production, Text Correction, Professional Word Processing, and Note Taking and Reporting.

One of our first-time attendees, Clay Frazier, RMR, CRR, of Los Angeles, Calif., said this of his experience: “For seven years, I have been a deposition and arbitration stenographic reporter in California. Having competed in state and national competitions in the United States the last two years, I decided to try my hand at Intersteno. I had the desire to measure my stenographic proficiency and to represent my county in doing so. What I left Budapest with amounts to much more. Keyboardists from other countries were not just eager to share with me their writing systems but also their friendship. The atmosphere of the Intersteno festivities was enjoyable and educational, and I found the beauty of Budapest to be nothing short of breathtaking. I am honored to have been a part of it and look forward to Berlin in 2017.”

If you would like more information about Intersteno, please see the following links:
Intersteno.org/

Intersteno2017.org/

Facebook.com/INTERSTENO-International-Federation-for-info-and-communication-processing-187448026111/timeline/

Facebook.com/groups/IPRSinfo/

Facebook.com/groups/119594114841115/

We look forward to sharing our Intersteno experiences with you and hopefully inspire you to become part of Team USA for the Internet Competition in spring 2016 and Berlin in summer 2017.
Tori Pittman, RDR, CRI, a freelancer in Wake Forest, N.C., also attended the 2015 Intersteno Contest. She is chair of NCRA’s Intersteno Task Force. She can be reached at tori@tori-pittman.com.

 

MEMBER PROFILE: Kim Tindall, RPR

02 February Kim Tindall_8

NCRA Member Profile Kim Tindall

Currently resides in: Bergheim, Texas

Position: President of Kim Tindall & Associates, LLC

Member since: 1982

Graduated from: Angelo State University, BBA, San Angelo, Texas; Stenograph Institute of Texas, Abilene, Texas

Theory: Sten Ed

How did you learn about the career?

My mother looked into the profession when I was in 6th grade. I visited Stenograph Institute in Abilene, Texas, with her, and at that moment, I knew that I was going to be a court reporter when I grew up. The machine and the shorthand mesmerized me.

 

What has been your best work experience so far in your career?

Opening and growing Kim Tindall & Associates to the point where a national publicly-traded company purchased us in 1997.  Then, becoming a high ranking employee with that company, and helping it to grow to the point of a very large acquisition.  After which, re-opening Kim Tindall & Associates in 2006 and offering our services nationally.

What surprised you about your career and why? Would you tell us about that experience?

I knew that I would always be hearing testimony about subjects that I knew nothing about, but I never (in my wildest dreams) thought court reporting would be so educational. We learn a little about so very, very much. We “hang out” with some of the greatest minds on this planet, and we get the opportunity to memorialize their thoughts and feelings. When I was a baby reporter, one of my first depositions was of a renowned neonatologist in San Diego. After the deposition, she gave us a tour of the neonatology unit. I was overwhelmed by the babies that weren’t even four inches long, hooked up to wires and tubes, but surviving. I will never, ever forget that day!

What are you most proud of in your career? Can you tell us what that experience was like?

Being appointed by the Supreme Court of Texas to sit on the Court Reporters Certification Board from 2001 to 2006.  Then, once again, being appointed by the Supreme Court of Texas to sit on the seven-member Advisory Board to the new Judicial Branch Certification Commission in 2014.

What advice or tips would you offer to new reporters?

Find a mentor. Let them help you through the first few years. Keep learning and reading. You can never know too much, and you never know when that knowledge will come in handy in our profession. Don’t become apathetic. Stay “tuned in” by joining your associations, learning the issues that we face, and make up your own mind about how you feel regarding those issues. Don’t be a follower. Be a leader!

Did you overcome a challenge in your career? Could you tell us about that experience?

The most challenging thing in my career may be a bit different since I have been a firm owner most of that time. The biggest (and most sad) challenge I have faced is the division that the “contracting” debate brought to the profession. When we should have been helping our schools recruit students, we were in-fighting. I hope it is not too late to right this wrong, and I am doing my part in the community by giving a presentation entitled “Court Reporting 101” to legal professionals and students hoping that it will generate interest in our profession.

Have you accomplished something not related to your career that you would like to relate?

I am very active in the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and was the 2014 National All Star Woman of the Year. Because of this honor, I have traveled and spoken at several functions for LLS, helping them raise money to fund research to find a cure. Recently, I was given the honor of being named one of the top Women Leaders in San Antonio by the San Antonio Business Journal 

 

NCRF: Honoring the Clarks of court reporting

Last fall the National Court Reporters Foundation established the Corrinne Clark Professionalism Institute, which is dedicated to aiding the education of court reporting students and new professionals about professionalism, branding, and building a successful career. The Institute was officially unveiled during the Student Seminar Program at the 2015 NCRA Convention & Expo in New York City with an inaugural event that featured a panel on professional dress.

Named for the late Corrinne Clark — wife of the late Robert H. Clark, NCRA’s longest tenured librarian-historian — the Institute was made possible by a generous donation made by Donna Hamer, Santa Paula, Calif., Robert’s cousin. At the same time, Hamer also made a generous donation to the Foundation to support a scholarship in honor of Robert. The scholarship will be awarded in the amount of $1,800 annually through 2019 to an eligible court reporting student. The first scholarship was awarded by NCRF in October 2015.

“Corrinne loved the national court reporters [organization] with a capital L. She attended all the conferences with Bobby and shared his devotion to the court reporting profession,” said Hamer and noted that Corrinne often mentioned her wish to make substantial contribution to NCRF. “When Corrinne passed away, I learned that I was one of her beneficiaries. I realized that I could make her wish come true. I was delighted that the Professional Institute could be named after her. Corrine always supported the goal of being a professional in her own work, and she especially valued professionalism among Bob’s colleagues.”

Although NCRF Board of Trustees chair Jan Ballman, RPR, CMRS, Minneapolis, Minn., never had the pleasure of meeting Corrinne, she said that she feels strongly that Corrinne would be honored to have her legacy associated with an initiative focused on supporting and training the industry’s newest professionals and helping to ensure their long-term success in court reporting.

“The NCRF Trustees felt privileged to name the Professionalism Institute after Corrinne especially in acknowledgment of and appreciation for a significant gift to the Foundation. We are grateful that Corrinne’s love for Bob, his profession, and especially NCRF, led to her legacy gift to the Foundation,” Ballman said.

Although not a court reporter herself, as a journalist Corrinne actively kept up with current affairs and was active in politics, said Hamer. She was a founding member of a women’s Los Angeles–based group that focuses on bringing political issues to its members and, in the early days of television, was an active participant in a number of shows as well as a choreographer for them. Hamer said that her love of dance led her to learn the native dances of Hawaii, which she later taught to students in the Los Angeles area.

“Those who knew Corrinne always remembered her flaming red hair, her beautiful smile, and her distinctive laugh. I’m certain Corrinne would be proud to have her name attached to the Professionalism Institute,” Hamer said.

The Professional Institute’s first event was well-attended and featured a panel of professional court reporters discussing proper dress in the workplace. It included a stylist from Macy’s department store who offered tips to achieve a professional look on a budget.

In the future, the CCPI will secure articles for publication in the JCR that will be related to the court reporting and captioning profession. The articles will address student and new professional-specific issues to provide a resource for those beginning their professional careers. The CCPI will also support various presentations at future NCRA Conventions & Expos.

More information about the Corrinne Clark Professionalism Institute or the Robert H. Clark Scholarship is available through NCRA.org/NCRF.

 About the Clarks

Corrine Clark was born in San Diego, Calif., and grew up in the Ocean Beach area. She attended St. Mary’s Academy as a child and graduated from Immaculate Heart High School where she played on the school’s tennis team. Although her parents wanted her enter the convent, Corrinne chose journalism instead and attended Los Angeles City College. There she met her future husband, Robert H. Clark, who was also a journalism student.

After marrying, the Clarks lived in Long Beach. During World War II, Robert joined the U.S. Coast Guard as a court reporter while Corrinne worked for the Long Beach Independent, which later became the Long Beach Press Telegram.

A lover of dance, Corrinne began work as a choreographer for a number of early television shows. She was also a participant on Art Linkletter’s People are Funny and House Party, as well as Groucho Marx’s You Bet Your Life.

In 1993, Robert H. Clark, who voluntarily served as NCRA’s librarian and historian for 26 years, donated his extensive college of books, artifacts, and documents related to court reporting to NCRF to help establish the Robert H. Clark Library, which is housed at NCRA’s headquarters in Reston, Va. He was honored with the title of Librarian-Historian Emeritus in 1997. He passed away in 2000. Corrinne passed away in 2005.

During in October 2015, Chaya Shusterman, a student from Brooklyn, N.Y., who is nearing completion of her court reporting education at the New York Career Institute, was named the first recipient of NCRF’s Robert H. Clark Scholarship.

“Robert Clark was totally dedicated to court reporting and curious about everything,” said Donner Hamer, Robert’s cousin who made the generous donation to support the scholarship in his honor. “He always wanted to know how things worked and how to use words to explain it. Everywhere he went, he looked for new ways to use words and interesting court reporting tools.”

FROM COMMITTEE: The surprise of my life

By Ellie Corbett Hannum

Sitting in the large conference room at the Gaylord Opryland hotel in Nashville, the excitement mounted as Merilyn Sanchez, RMR, CRR, of Chandler, Ariz., approached the microphone to announce the recipient of the 2013 Distinguished Service Award. I have always enjoyed the ceremony so much because most of the time I am familiar with the recipient and firmly believe that he or she was a great choice, and I jump to my feet with excitement when the person’s name name is announced.

In 2013, I was sitting next to my dear friends Cindy and Forrest Brown RDR (Ret.), and listening intently as Merilyn began to speak. After a few sentences, I started to feel the blood drain out of my face and my heart began to race. Merilyn was mentioning committees and activities that were very familiar to me. However, I kept saying to myself that it was just a coincidence until she said something that I knew was pertaining to me. Me? Are you kidding? Me? I don’t deserve the DSA! I can think of many people more deserving. Then I remembered Ed Varallo, RMR, CRR, saying the exact same thing to me when he received the award. In fact, Forrest said it as well. So I guess it is not uncommon that the recipient believes that whatever he or she did to merit the DSA Committee’s selection of him or her was not noteworthy or special; it was just what he or she believed needed to be done.

I now have the honor of being the Chair of the Distinguished Service Award Committee, after having been a member of the committee for the past two years. As a group, the committee decided it was important to inform the membership of the process to nominate someone to receive the award. The more information we have, the better. We would suggest first getting the nominee’s résumé and attempting to contact people who may have explicit information about the nominee’s contributions to the profession and beyond. Although it is nice to hear that someone is a wonderful person, always ready to pitch in, etc., it really is helpful to know what it is that the person has done that sets him or her apart from all the other people who volunteer to our profession.

This does not have to become a daunting task, but submitting a nomination does require some effort. Imagine that the committee has a blank slate in front of them, and you have the luxury of filling in all the words or of painting the portrait of the person that you want them to see. In large part, it does fall to you to capture the essence of the nominee and to then present information that to the committee. We encourage you to look around and see who you think deserves the award and then set about enlightening the committee. My guess is that you will have some fun along the way as well.

Ellie Corbett Hannum, RMR, CMRS, of Wilmington, Del., is a past Distinguished Service Award recipient as well as past Chair of the National Court Reporters Foundation. Questions about nominating a person for the DSA can be directed to: dsa@ncra.org.

 

ON THE SCENE: The Same…but so Different…

By Diana L. Netherton

When I arrived on the judicial scene in London in 1992 as a young rookie court reporter, I had never formally worked as a court reporter. I attended and graduated court reporting school the year before in Florida. During my internship, I met a British sailor sporting a crisp, white uniform, and the rest, as they say, is history. At the time I started reporting in the U.K., I hadn’t a clue how their legal system operated. I just assumed, like most Americans, that dramas such as Rumpole of the Bailey accurately depicted English courts: a bunch of crusty old stiffs in silly wigs. Within a few months, I landed a brief interview with a court reporting firm in London that held the court contracts, proudly showed them my certificate of completion, and the very next day I found myself assigned to a courtroom. I was greeted at the courtroom door by Mavis, an elderly lady in a homemade pink cardigan, who introduced herself as the usher, akin to bailiff here in the States. Ushers are the people who mark the exhibits during trials, not the reporter.

The trend of per diem reporting is growing in the U.S., but the British system has had a per diem arrangement for quite a while. There is a per diem paid for the morning session and a per diem for the afternoon session. If your assigned court finishes early and there is no afternoon session, you can leave. Often I would find myself having court for ten minutes and would be free the rest of the day. Regardless of whether it is ten minutes or three hours, the fee is the same. There is also an additional sum that is paid to public servants who work in London called London weighting. This amount helps to defray living expenses in and around the greater London area, which are among the highest in Europe.

U.S. courts resume their work day far too early in my opinion, sometimes as early as 8:30 a.m. In the U.K. the typical start time is 10:30 a.m. I often grumbled when I had to start at 10 a.m. because I’d have to catch an earlier train. Lunch is from 12 p.m. and recess is around 4:30 p.m.

There are many traditions that have not been retained in the States, and here is where the two systems start diverge. U.S. judges still wear a long black robe, but that is about all the custom that has remained the same. In the U.K. the Crown Court judges, the comparison to county judges, wear purple and red sashes draped across their chests. High Court Justices, comparable to Superior or Supreme court judges, wear scarlet robes trimmed with white ermine fur. They are often referred to as “the red judges.” Tradition requires them to wear black silk stockings, although I am unsure how compliance is enforced or if there is some secret silk stockings enforcement committee. Both levels of judges wear wigs made of horse hair. The Crown Court judges wear short wigs; the Justices wear longer wigs. The Lord Chief Justice of the U.K., in addition to the tradition garb, wears a heavy gold vest that weighs about 40 pounds. No one ever broke tradition, even on the hottest of days.

There are also solicitors, who is a lawyer who acts more like a paralegal, and a barrister. The barrister wears a short wig and a black robe. There are a special class of barristers called QCs — Queen’s Counsel — and they have shiny, fancy cufflinks that distinguish them from the regular barristers. The QCs are the individuals who handle serious, often high-profile cases. The solicitor acts as a go-between, prepping the case, and filling in the barrister upon his or her arrival at court. The barrister sits in the front row, the solicitor is directly behind the barrister, and the defendant is situated behind the solicitor.

The defendant’s location during proceedings is quite different as well. In the U.S., defendants typically sit next to their attorney during the court session. In the U.K., the defendant is in the back, in a large, enclosed plexiglass area known as the dock. They only come out if they’re going to testify. When witnesses take the stand to testify, they typically stand facing the jury. It only dawned on me years later that the standing tactic was indeed a clever one; it was much easier to observe the body language and hand gestures of the witnesses.

Perhaps one of the most time-efficient factors in the British system is the method of jury selection. Here in the U.S., this can be laborious and time intensive. In the U.K., the first 12 names are read off of a list, and that comprises the jury. There are no personal questions asked; no one cares if you’ve ever gotten a speeding ticket, what pets you have, or if your child got a summons for throwing a green Skittle out a moving vehicle (true story here). The jury is selected, and the judge tells them that they have to be fair and impartial and the trial starts.

Another interesting divergence lies with the verdicts. In Pennsylvania civil trials, there is not always an unanimous verdict. It can be ten to two; two-fifths of the jury would have to agree on a verdict. In a criminal case, however, the jury’s verdict has to be unanimous, often resulting in a hung jury and retrial. In the U.K., the judge has the discretion, after an amount of time he or she feels sufficient, to bring the jury back in and give them the majority verdict. Like the civil trials in Pennsylvania, this is ten to two. There were rarely hung juries with this directive. The first time I covered a trial in the U.S., after waiting over six hours for a verdict, I asked the judge when he was going to give the majority directive. He smiled and patiently informed me that was not an option here, but he found that fact interesting.

There is no death penalty in the U.K. That was abolished in the 1960s, but a life sentence usually means life. After sentencing, the judge will write a letter to the home secretary suggesting the length of sentence, and then it’s up to the home secretary to decide if parole is warranted.

During a murder trial in the U.K., the jury visits the murder scene if possible. They are escorted to a bus and are driven to the scene. The reporter and court clerk ride with the judge in a Bentley with a motorcycle police escort. Although the jurors are warned not to talk at the murder scene, they bring the reporter along in case someone gets a case of the chats. Try writing in a muddy field or a pig pen; it is most challenging. The Bentley always had a fully stocked bar, and, yes, we would have a drink; sometimes two or three, depending on the judge. One time a certain judge had so many drinks that another judge had to recess his court when we returned so he could sleep it off in his chambers. His wife came to collect him, and we could hear her shrieking at him from across the hallway. I loved to practice my royal wave while I was riding in the Bentley and chuckled at the pedestrians who often stopped and stared, wondering what royals might be in the car!

I suppose the most amusing British tradition is the way in which someone leaves the court while it’s still in session. You tiptoe out of court backwards, gracefully, being careful not to turn your back to the court. Once you reach the door, you bow if you’re a man and you curtsey if you’re a female.

And this brings me to an amusing event that happened when I first moved back to the U.S. in 2000. I was interviewing at a local county court and observing a hearing. When the chief veteran reporter motioned to me that we should leave, he abruptly headed for the exit and turned his back to the Court! I got up and started to back out amongst curious stares wondering if the judge was going to yell at the chief reporter for impertinence. When I got to the door, I curtsied. The judge stopped, looked at me closely, and let out a huge roar. The chief reporter started snickering as well. I blushed red as everyone starting laughing, and then the judge said, “Young lady, that has to be the best exit I’ve ever seen.” Needless to say, I learned swiftly this wasn’t a tradition retained here either.

These are some of the main varying differences between the two systems of law. My current judge always tells jurors at the end of their service that “although our system might not be perfect but whoever is second, it’s a far second.” Maybe not. The American and English systems each carry the remnants of one another and have the basic foundations and creeds; most importantly, both rely on the concept that defendants are innocent until proven guilty. Any society that has that basic fundamental right is far ahead in my opinion.

Along with learning the traditions and cultures of working in another country come the challenges of routine IRA bomb scares shutting down London Underground stations, all sorts of regional accents to decipher, diverse spelling and punctuation, which can only be learned with experience, patience, and a fair sense of humor … or humour.

Diana L. Netherton, RPR, is an official court reporter in Lancaster, Pa. In addition to being an NCRA member, she is also a member of the British Institute of Verbatim Reporters. She can be reached at diana_n68@yahoo.com.

 

 

MARKETING: Helping your clients use realtime

By Tari Kramer

When I do a realtime hookup job, I often wonder if the clients understand what all is involved in providing them a visually appealing view of the proceedings. I have found great success when I set a laminated document on the table and the attorneys peruse it. An example of the document is below, which reporters can use as a template. The attorneys ask questions because they want to see what the steno machine looks like and how we output to their computer. In turn, I think they gain more respect and appreciation for what we do.

I use flags to alert me to areas in the transcript I need to look at. I also have a legend of these flags taped to the laptops I provide so clients understand what the flag means when it pops up on the feed. Each reporter’s flags may be different, or a reporter may not use them at all. A flagged area is simply something you stroke at a time when the reporter needs clarification on something. During or after the proceeding, the flags make it easy to find these things’ instead of trying to remember the area or finding time to jot them down quickly. Feel free to incorporate the steno definitions listed below in your writing.

An area in the transcript to fix, change, adjust:    [fix] = TP*BGS

An area in the transcript to check audio:                  [au] = A*U

An area in the transcript to verify spelling:            [sp] = S*P

This aid may not be useful for some reporters who do not use an audio backup (see the Audibility portion). However, reporters can feel free to tweak the document to fit their needs. Additionally, much of the information provided in this tool is from my own experience and that affects how I describe a realtime experience to an end user. It may not necessarily reflect that of everyone’s experience. The goal here is twofold: 1) to provide clients with some explanation of how their realtime feed is being produced and 2) to offer suggestions to clients that will help make their realtime experience as successful as possible.

Happy realtiming!

Tari Kramer, RMR, CRR, CPE, is a freelance reporter in Duncan, S.C. She can be reached at tarireporter@gmail.com.

Download as a pdf.

Download as an editable file.

 

REPORTING: Helping your clients understand realtime

Tari KramerBy Tari Kramer

When I do a realtime hookup job, I often wonder if the clients understand what all is involved in providing them a visually appealing view of the proceedings. I have found great success when I set a laminated document on the table and the attorneys peruse it. An example of the document is available here, which reporters can use as a template. The attorneys ask questions because they want to see what the steno machine looks like and how we output to their computer. In turn, I think they gain more respect and appreciation for what we do.

I use flags to alert me to areas in the transcript I need to look at. I also have a legend of these flags taped to the laptops I provide so clients understand what the flag means when it pops up on the feed. Each reporter’s flags may be different, or a reporter may not use them at all. A flagged area is simply something you stroke at a time when the reporter needs clarification on something. During or after the proceeding, the flags make it easy to find these things instead of trying to remember the area or finding time to jot them down quickly. Feel free to incorporate the steno definitions listed below in your writing.

An area in the transcript to fix, change, adjust: [fix] = TP*BGS
An area in the transcript to check audio: [au] = A*U
An area in the transcript to verify spelling: [sp] = S*P

This aid may not be useful for some reporters who do not use an audio backup (see the Audibility portion). However, reporters can feel free to tweak the document to fit their needs. Additionally, much of the information provided in this tool is from my own experience, and that affects how I describe a realtime experience to an end user. It may not necessarily reflect that of everyone’s experience. The goal here is twofold: 1) to provide clients with some explanation of how their realtime feed is being produced and 2) to offer suggestions to clients that will help make their realtime experience as successful as possible.

Happy realtiming!

Tari Kramer, RMR, CRR, CPE, is a freelance reporter in Duncan, S.C. She can be reached at tarireporter@gmail.comDownload a pdf of the “Keys to a successful experience.” An editable Word document is also available.