New benefits for NCRA members now available

Photo by epSos .de

Photo by epSos .de

NCRA members are invited to take advantage of new benefits designed to save them money on a variety of products and services. These benefits are through the Association’s long-time partnership with Mercer and new participation in Windfall Savings’ Saving Center.

Mercer Health & Benefits Administration is now offering affordable cyber liability insurance through Edgewater Holdings. The insurance is designed to mitigate losses from a variety of cyber incidents, including data breaches, network damage, and third-party lawsuits due to loss of privacy. Mercer has provided NCRA members with customized insurance plans for 50 years.

The latest benefit for NCRA members is a new Saving Center, administered by Windfall Savings. The Saving Center includes 16 suppliers such as Office Depot, FedEx, payroll services, and more. There is no cost for NCRA members to sign up.

NCRA members can easily buy in-store or online from Office Depot by using a personalized purchase card. Discounts include:

  • up to 80 percent off Office Depot’s business-select catalog
  • 15 percent off retail Web prices on 3,000 of its most popular products
  • additional savings on 93,000 products discounted below retail cost

Other Office Depot products and services include emailed monthly specials, access to coupons online, and discounts on photocopy services.

The Saving Center also includes FedEx services, such as:

  • ground parcel service with no minimum shipping requirements
  • up to 54 percent off the list rate on select priority overnight and standard overnight deliveries within the United States

Other discounts are also available on the Express Saver, select ground services, and international services offered by FedEx.

The Saving Center also includes USPAY, which provides credit card processing services, software, and equipment; Hotel Engine, which provides savings on more than 40,000 hotels worldwide with rates not available to the public; and more:

  • ADP payroll services
  • Sterling Talent Solutions
  • WellCloudMD
  • com
  • YRC freight shipping services
  • Merchology
  • EarthLink
  • CDW computers, components, software, and electronics
  • Backblaze
  • Transworld collection services
  • 4imprint
  • Lifelock identity theft protection services

To learn more about what the Saving Center offers NCRA members or to register to sign up, go to NCRA.SavingCenter.net. Alternately, contact the Windfall Savings member care team at 888-868-4030 or membercare@savingcenter.net.

Members encouraged to renew ahead of Dec. 31 deadline

By Jennifer Late

Click here to renew now!

Photo by: Erik Araujo. Used and adapted with permission via Creative Commons

Members who haven’t yet renewed are encouraged to do so before the Dec. 31 deadline in order to keep all of their member benefits. Renewing is easy online.

“Being a member of NCRA doesn’t only give you the support from other members personally and professionally, it gives you opportunities to connect with professionals from across the nation,” said Danielle Griffin, RPR, a freelancer in Phoenix, Ariz. “As a new professional myself, it is vital to keep up with our rapidly-changing industry. NCRA gives its members insight from top leaders in the field, learning opportunities to continue growing, and more reasons to continue testing with the new online testing platform.”

Please note: The online renewal process looks a little different this year. You will now renew and enter payment on the ncrasourcebook.com page instead of the Membership Tools page.

  1. Select “Renew online now.”
  2. Log in with your NCRA ID number (Contact Number) and your password (initially your last name, all lowercase).
  3. Click the “Renew” button for your upcoming membership invoice.
  4. Select “Enter Payment” to enter your credit card information on the secure website.
  5. Once complete, select “Enter Payment” again in order to proceed to check out.
  6. You will see a “Thank you for your purchase!” screen and will receive an email receipt.

NCRA continues to work for its members

Membership provides a large variety of benefits, including credentialing, education, and advocacy.

  • Online skills testing – Whether you are just starting testing for your RPR or going for your CRC or an advanced certification, you can now complete your skills tests from the comfort of your own home. With more opportunities to test, you will be able to achieve your certification goals faster and increase your earning potential.
  • CRC Workshop & Certification – Based on member demand for more training in the field, NCRA created a new workshop program designed just for captioners.
  • FCC Captioning Quality Standards — NCRA’s Government Relations team has been working with the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Alliance and the Federal Communications Commission to develop new captioning quality standards.
  • Increased online education opportunities – NCRA has expanded its first-class educational programming via webinars and e-seminars vetted to ensure they meet the needs of the marketplace. New online webinars and e-seminars were added each month for members to purchase, view, and earn CEUs.
  • Exhibiting at the ABA TechShow – NCRA has been advocating for you with judges, attorneys, paralegals, clerks, and other legal professionals. With a focus on what your certifications mean and the value of realtime, NCRA is raising the overall awareness of the profession with the people who matter.
  • For CLVS members – A stronger CLVS emphasis was added to the NCRA Convention & Expo, helping videographers network directly with the court reporting membership. By popular demand, new seminars and webinars were created to help CLVSs stay on the cutting edge of technology.

NCRA membership cards

In an effort to embrace technology, NCRA will continue our practice of sending only electronic membership cards to members via email. Members can expect to receive their membership card within approximately four weeks of renewing if they have a valid email address and have not previously opted out of Constant Contact email messaging.

Jennifer Late is NCRA’s Membership & Marketing Manager. She can be reached at jlate@ncra.org.

NCRA announces new benefits for members

computer keyboard

Photo by: Anonymous Account

2017 is an exciting time to be a member of NCRA. The Association has announced a plethora of new benefits designed to save members money on a variety of products and services through a long-time partnership with Mercer and a newly established relationship with Windfall Savings.

As of Jan. 1, 2017, Mercer Health & Benefits Administration will offer cyber liability insurance through Edgewater Holdings. The insurance is designed to mitigate losses from a variety of cyber incidents, including data breaches, network damage, and third-party lawsuits due to loss of privacy. Mercer has provided NCRA members with customized insurance plans for 50 years.

Also new to the member benefits basket beginning Jan. 1 is access to savings on dozens of products and services through a new partnership between NCRA and Windfall Savings. Windfall is one program that administers discounts for 16 suppliers with no cost to sign up.

NCRA members can easily buy in-store or online from Office Depot by using a personalized purchase card provided by Windfall Savings. Discounts include:

  • up to 80 percent off Office Depot’s business select catalog
  • 15 percent off retail Web prices on 3,000 of its most popular products
  • additional savings on 93,000 products discounted below retail cost

Other Office Depot products and services include emailed monthly specials, access to coupons online, and discounts on photocopy services.

“There is nothing more valuable than the benefits a professional organization can provide its members,” said NCRA’s Executive Director and CEO Mike Nelson, CAE. “NCRA’s new partnership with Windfall Savings and the addition of cyber insurance through Mercer reflects the Association’s strong commitment to helping its members grow their businesses, and we are excited about the savings that both of these companies offer.”

The Windfall Savings partnership also includes savings on FedEx services, including:

  • ground parcel service with no minimum shipping requirements
  • up to 54 percent off the list rate on select priority overnight and standard overnight deliveries within the United States

Other discounts are also available on the Express Saver, select ground services, and international services offered by FedEx.

The Windfall Savings partnership with NCRA also includes USPAY, which provides credit card processing services, software, and equipment; Hotel Engine, which provides savings on more than 40,000 hotels worldwide with rates not available to the general public; and more:

  • ADP payroll services
  • Sterling Talent Solutions
  • WellCloudMD
  • AccountingDepartment.com
  • YRC
  • Merchology
  • EarthLink
  • CDW
  • Backblaze
  • Transworld collection services
  • 4imprint
  • Lifelock identity theft protection services

Finally, as part of NCRA’s continued commitment to provide resources to help members build stronger businesses, classified advertisements are being accepted for inclusion in the JCR monthly print magazine. With special member pricing, the print classifieds further complement NCRA’s online classified advertising opportunities. Both the online and print classified advertising opportunities provide a convenient, cost-effective way for members to sell products and professional services. Members can rely on NCRA’s classified ads as an optimal way to connect with their targeted marketplace when they want to advertise their services, sell equipment, or place recruiting ads for professional opportunities.

Watch for more information about the Windfall Savings partnership and the products and services available to NCRA members who sign up for it. Information about Mercer and the various insurance plans offered to NCRA members can be found at NCRA.org\membership. For more information about classified advertising in the JCR, visit NCRA.org\classifieds.

NCRA Kindle Fire winner announced

By Jennifer Late

More prizes available for membership renewal

A record number of members have renewed their 2017 membership in October. These renewals were driven in part by a chance to win a Kindle Fire.

NCRA membership renewal Kindle Fire winner

The lucky winner for October 2016 is Karla Jagusch, RPR, of Overland Park, Kan. She has been a court reporter for over 38 years, 36 of which she has been an official court reporter for the First and Tenth Judicial Districts of the State of Kansas. Karla explains why she renewed her membership: “I feel it is important and my obligation to support the association that supports me as a court reporter.”

Click here to renew now!

Photo by: Erik Araujo. Used and adapted with permission via Creative Commons

Renew before Dec. 1 and be entered to win

Members still have a chance to be rewarded for renewing before Dec. 1. NCRA will give away an upgraded Premium Plus listing on the online NCRA Sourcebook. Any Registered, Participating, or Associate member who has renewed before Dec. 1 will have their name entered into a drawing for this upgraded listing for January through December 2017.

NCRA continues to work for its members

  • Online skills testing: Whether you are just starting testing for your RPR or going for your CRC or another advanced certification, you can now complete your skills tests from the comfort of your own home. With more opportunities to test, you will be able to achieve your certification goals faster and increase your earning potential.
  • CRC Workshop & Certification: Based on member demand for more training in the field, NCRA created the new Certified Realtime Captioner program designed just for captioners.
  • FCC Captioning Quality Standards: NCRA’s Government Relations team has been working with the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Alliance and the Federal Communications Commission to develop new captioning quality standards.
  • Increased online education opportunities: NCRA has expanded its first-class educational programming via webinars and e-seminars vetted to ensure they meet the needs of the marketplace. New online webinars and e-seminars are added each month for members to purchase, view, and earn CEUs.
  • Exhibiting at the ABA TechShow: NCRA has been advocating for you with judges, attorneys, paralegals, clerks, and other legal professionals. With a focus on what your certifications mean and the value of realtime, NCRA is raising the overall awareness of the profession with the people who matter.
  • For CLVS members: A stronger CLVS emphasis was added to the NCRA Convention & Expo, helping videographers network directly with the court reporting membership. By popular demand, new seminars and webinars were created to help CLVSs stay on the cutting edge of technology.

NCRA membership cards

In an effort to embrace technology, NCRA will continue our practice of sending only electronic membership cards to members via email. Members can expect to receive their membership card within approximately four weeks of renewing if they have a valid email address and have not previously opted out of Constant Contact email messaging.

Jennifer Late is NCRA’s Membership & Marketing Manager. She can be reached at jlate@ncra.org.

ONE + ONE = WON!

2015-2016 NCRA President Steve Zinone sitting on courthouse stepsBy Steve Zinone

I am very appreciative and honored for the faith that you have in me to be your president. There isn’t a day that goes by that I am not thankful for this opportunity of a lifetime to serve in this role. But I need everyone’s help. That is, I’m asking every one of our approximate 16,000 members for help. It’s not an impossible task; in fact, it’s quite doable. I need everyone to get one — that’s right, one — new member to join NCRA. One. Not two. Not three. But if you want to find more than one person to join NCRA, that’s okay, too!

One new member. We all know a nonmember, whether at work or socially or in business, one person we can approach and ask to join. One + one = won! If we all get one new member, it will make an incredible difference for our profession and for our Association. So I urge everyone to get your one. We will have special recognition at our annual convention in Chicago for those who have brought in one new member, so that everyone knows that you got your one!

We all know that many of us will be retiring in the near future. Therefore, it is imperative that we act now and grow our membership, so that we can meet the future job demands that will be placed on our profession, as well as our Association.

Thomas Hughes of Florida, who left us too early in life, offered this quote from Theodore Roosevelt at the 2008 Tampa Bay Area Information Exchange: “Every man owes a part of his time and money to the business or industry in which he is engaged. No man has a moral right to withhold his support from an organization that is striving to improve conditions within his sphere.” I included it in my emails after Thomas’ passing for two reasons: One, I want to be constantly reminded of my friend Thomas and what he stood for. And, two, we all owe a debt of gratitude to our timeless profession. Thomas was the epitome of Roosevelt’s quote, always giving back, always there to help out, and always there to do whatever was necessary for anyone, at any time.

Now, it is our time. It is our civic responsibility and our moral responsibility as members to get one. Let’s have some fun and get our one. Let’s blow up social media with this effort and show off our one and show off ourselves that: I got my one!

And it’s not just reporters that you can reach out to: Videographers, scopists, proofreaders, paralegals, office managers, attorneys, judges, and court administrators can all be members of NCRA. It is time for us to ask them to help us and to join (or rejoin) NCRA because we are all in this together.

This is an organization that advocates for all of us. This past NCRA Legislative Boot Camp was an incredible success. Leaders from all over the country went up on Capitol Hill and advocated for the Training for Realtime Writers grants, which is part of the Higher Education Act. Our government relations team and our members are creating opportunities that will enable all of us long-term continued success in our industry. But we have to reach out to everyone and bring them into our Association.

So let’s turn everything around and grow NCRA to 32,000 members this year. Let’s everyone get one. Just one.

Stephen A. Zinone, RPR, is NCRA’s President. He can be reached at president@ncra.org.

The value of membership

ValueofmembershipWhat are the primary reasons that court reporters and captioners become and stay members of NCRA? In many surveys, members have listed the JCR and the JCR Weekly, which keep them informed of the latest news in the profession; their hard-earned national certifications, which offer them ways to highlight their skills and professionalism; the many continuing education and networking opportunities available through NCRA; and many other benefits as reasons they join and renew their membership.

But for a more personal take, the JCR reached out to a few members who told us why they think belonging to NCRA is so important, not only for them, but for others as well.

“There is no better way to stay informed about reporting than through the JCR and attending conventions. Being a dues-paying member means you belong to the association that represents one of the great professions, ours, and interacts with another, the law,” said Patric Martin of Bethesda, Md., who joined when he first started reporting in 1978.

“I have always liked seeing what is going on in the profession and being able to read about issues and new things on the horizon. The best benefit, I believe, is the equipment and liability insurance. I have also started using Amplify for deep discounts at Staples. I’ve already saved more than $100 this year on paper, toner, and my regular office supplies,” said Elsa Jorgensen of Birmingham, Mich., who has been a participating member of NCRA since 2002 when she transitioned from student membership.

“It’s good to be aware of issues affecting reporters,” continues Jorgensen. “Even though there may be disagreement on certain things, we’re still stronger as a group than as individuals.”

“I’ve held membership with NCRA since the moment I found about it,” said Katherine Schilling, a student member who is based in San Jose, Calif. “When I first started my membership, I only had my eye on getting the monthly JCR magazine as part of it. The JCR has always held a special place in my heart because it was integral to my falling in love with the profession. I’ll never forget the first article I read, ‘A Day in the Life,’ when I found a stack of magazines in the classroom. After that, I was hooked. Just a year later, the annual NCRA Convention & Expo was coming to my backyard, San Francisco, and I learned what a benefit it is to be a student member so that I could get the student member registration rate.”

“The professional tips, ideas, and information are vital to keeping your career interesting and moving forward. Through the NCRA, we can learn from the best of the best,” said Jorgensen. “I look up to so many reporters and, because of them, I aspire to always be a better writer, a better professional, and a better representative of this amazing career.”

Martin, who works at the International Monetary Fund in Washington, D.C., recently paid for a number of student memberships so that financially conscious students who were interested in being part of NCRA could be involved.

“When a student gets out of school and is ready to become a working reporter, having a couple years of NCRA membership under their belt gives them a head start,” Martin says. “NCRA has ways to help, and unless you are a member you won’t be able to take advantage of them, the least of which is just reading the JCR and what working reporters and new reporters have to say. More than likely, you will encounter the same issues you will read about.”

“Nowadays, the value of my membership is most evident in the RPR tests,” says Schilling. “I am currently striving to pass the final leg of the RPR, and I now see my membership as giving me access to these tests several times a year. Looking back on it, it’s interesting to see how the value I’ve placed on my NCRA membership has evolved as I’ve progressed through my school career. I guess I could say that my NCRA membership has evolved with me.”

“Over my 38 years in the profession, I’ve let my membership and my certifications lapse. I’ve passed the RMR twice, as well as the CRR, but currently don’t hold those certifications,” said Martin. “There is no excuse, really, and I can only say life intervened. But, as you go forward, become a member, strive for certifications, and don’t let them go. They are golden, as is NCRA. I encountered a reporter from Boston, Mass., in New York City last year, who happened to be in town, but not for our fantastic convention. I couldn’t understand why she didn’t support the profession by simply being a member. And she was quite open on how well she was doing. So, why can’t you support the profession by being a member, I wondered. Her answer was, ‘They don’t need my support.’ That is one of the greatest fallacies ever uttered. Now more than ever, every single member counts.”

2016 Court Reporting & Captioning Week kicks off Feb. 14

CRCW_Week-Map_final

Fifteen states have reported Court Reporting & Captioning Week activities so far. NCRA President Steve Zinone is aiming for activities in all 50 states by the end of the celebratory week.

Official proclamations have already been issued in seven states and several municipalities recognizing the 2016 Court Reporting & Captioning Week, which kicks off Feb. 14 and runs through Feb. 20. Court Reporting & Captioning Week highlights the contributions of stenographic court reporters and captioners to society and showcases the growing number of career opportunities in the court reporting and captioning fields.

Proclamations by state governors have been issued in Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Ohio, Virginia, and Washington, as well as by local leaders in Johnson County, Kan., Louisville, Ky., and Miami-Date County, Fla. In addition, a growing number of NCRA members and representatives from state affiliates and court reporting schools are sharing information on how they plan to mark the weeklong event sponsored by NCRA.

Below are some of the latest activities happening during the week around the nation:

  • NCRA will donate $20 to the National Court Reporters Foundation for every new member who joins between Feb. 14 and Feb. 20.
  • NCRA President Steve Zinone, RPR, an official court reporter from Pittsfield, N.Y., will join Tonya Kaiser, president of the Indiana Court Reporters Association; Susan Gee, president-elect of the Ohio Court Reporters Association; and Kathy McHugh, president of the Pennsylvania Court Reporters Association, in a panel discussion hosted by the College of Court Reporting, Hobart, Ind., on Feb. 15. The discussion will take place online via the college’s Blackboard Collaborate and will be hosted by Jeff Moody, president of the College of Court Reporting. Panelists will share information about their careers as court reporters, the challenges they faced in court reporting schools, what motivates them to serve as leaders, why association membership is important to students and working professionals, and more. Participation is open to anyone. For more information, contact Natalie Kijurna at kijurna@ccr.edu or 866-294-3974, ext. 229.
  • Members of the Kansas Court Reporters Association will host a legislative reception at the Capitol in Topeka on Feb. 15, where they will provide a realtime demonstration. On Feb. 17, KCLive on television station KSHB will air a piece on the court reporting and captioning profession featuring KCRA President Cindy Isaacsen, RPR, an official reporter from Olathe, Kan. On Feb. 18, KCRA members will host a breakfast for the members of the board of Johnson County supervisors that will include displays of antique machines. Signs celebrating Court Reporting & Captioning Week will also be displayed on the lawn of the courthouse where the breakfast is being held. Wrapping up the week, KCRA members will host a luncheon for court reporting students with whom they’ve been having weekly study groups.

Court reporters, broadcast and CART captioners, and court reporting schools around the country will participate in the weeklong event by hosting an array of activities such as visits to high schools to showcase the profession, open houses, Veterans History Project interviews, media outreach, and more. NCRA members, state associations, and schools are urged to share with the Association updates about how they plan to celebrate 2016 Court Reporting & Captioning Week by emailing aroketenetz@ncra.org. Other activities for celebrating the week include sponsoring a court reporting student’s NCRA membership or 2016 Convention & Expo registration fee, mentoring a student, or supporting one of NCRF’s programs by making a contribution.

Looking for ways to participate? Visit NCRA’s Court Reporting & Captioning Week awareness page for an array of resources tailored for members, state associations, and court reporting schools. Resources include press release templates, sample proclamations, talking points, posters, presentations, links to the Take Note campaign materials, and more.

NCRA has also added a new power point presentation called Careers in Court Reporting to its Court Reporting & Captioning Week resource center. The presentation, which is located under the ideas and additional resources heading on the members, states, and schools section, can be customized by the user. It encourages audience members to learn more about the court reporting and captioning professions by downloading several articles showcasing careers in these fields. The page that features these articles will also capture contact information from those who access it and provide NCRA with potential leads for new members and students.

For a complete list of activities happening to mark the 2016 Court Reporting & Captioning Week, visit NCRA.org/Awareness.

For more information, visit NCRA.org. Career information about the court reporting profession — one of the leading career options that do not require a traditional four-year degree — can be found at crTakeNote.com.

Submitting CEU forms is easier with NCRA’s online system

computer keyboard

Photo by: Anonymous Account

NCRA members can save money and time by submitting their Continuing Education and Professional Development forms online via the Association’s online submission system.

Submitting CEU forms using the online system is fast, secure, and costs only $45 dollars for members and $75 for nonmembers. As of Feb. 1, forms submitted via fax, regular mail, or email will incur an additional $25 processing fee in addition to the fees noted above.

NCRA’s certification page provides all the necessary information about the required CEUs and PDCs, as well as the necessary forms to verify units, cycle extensions, missing credits, seminar preapproval, and more.

The field of court reporting and captioning demands that its practitioners acquire and maintain a broad base of knowledge. For more information and to learn how to submit your education and professional development activities online, visit NCRA.org/CEUforms.

NCRA member wins Amazon gift card for early membership renewal

Patsy Jacoy, RPR, CRR, a freelancer reporter with YOM Reporting & Video in Seattle, Wash., was the winner of a $100 Amazon gift card for renewing her 2016 NCRA membership early. Jacoy was randomly chosen from a large number of other NCRA members who renewed for 2016 as part of the Association’s early membership renewal drive.

Jacoby, who has worked as a court reporter for 30 years, said she rarely wins anything, so receiving the gift card was a nice surprise.

“I choose to continue to belong to NCRA to stay abreast with the latest developments in the court reporting field and also to support the court reporting profession,” she said.

“I see NCRA as a vital piece to keeping court reporters employed for many years to come, despite the attempts by others to take our place,” she added.

It’s not too late to renew for 2016 and ensure your membership benefits continue into the new year. Renew before the end of December and don’t miss a single benefit, including access to the latest news through the JCR, the JCR Weekly, and TheJCR.com. Other membership benefits include discounts on insurance plans, purchases at Staples, and shipping fees by FedEx.

Renewing is easy and available online at NCRA.org/renew. Members can expect to receive their membership card via email within approximately two weeks of renewing if they have a valid email address and have not previously opted out of Constant Contact email messaging.

Renewing your NCRA membership is also the perfect time to support the work and programs of NCRF, the philanthropic arm of NCRA. NCRF programs include the Veterans History Project, student scholarships and new professionals’ grants, and many other efforts that directly support and benefit the court reporting and captioning professions.

Renew your membership to win an Amazon gift card

Click here to renew now!

Photo by: Erik Araujo. Used and adapted with permission via Creative Commons

NCRA members who renew their 2016 memberships during the month of November will be automatically entered into a drawing that could win them a $100 Amazon gift card.

Members receive many benefits by being a member of NCRA. A membership in the organization includes the latest in industry and association news delivered through the JCR, JCR Weekly, and JCR.com; a member resource center that offers a variety of do-it-yourself public relations tips and tools; compelling and high-quality educational content available through webinars, as well as sessions presented at the annual convention and other events; and more. NCRA membership dues also help drive advocacy efforts on behalf of the court reporting and captioning professions through legislative and regulatory representation at the federal and state levels, support legislative boot camps, assist court reporting schools in their quests to deliver high-quality educational programs, and help ensure the continued development of new products and services designed specifically to aid members in achieving professional success. And don’t forget that membership in NCRA also provides money-saving opportunities through its affinity relationships with Staples, FedEx, and other vendors.

Renewing is easy and available online at NCRA.org. Members can expect to receive their membership card via email within approximately two weeks of renewing if they have a valid email address and have not previously opted out of Constant Contact email messaging.