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

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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.

NCRA member wins Kindle Fire for early membership renewal

In October 2015, members renewed their NCRA memberships in droves, driven in part by the chance to win a Kindle Fire. The lucky winner is David E. Preston, a participating member  and freelance reporter from Seattle, Wash. NCRA will continue the early membership renewal drive in November with one Amazon gift card winner announced after Nov. 30.

Preston, who has been a court reporter since 1978, said his career has taken him to a number of states to cover a wide range of depositions covering matters related to maritime personal injury cases, workers’ compensation, and the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission.

“During the majority of my 37 years as a court reporter, there has been constant pressure to move to newer technologies and to eliminate the court reporter. Membership in NCRA has always been important to me as a freelance reporter because the association fights for our profession in ways I, as a sole proprietor, cannot,” said Preston. “The all-around support I receive from NCRA has been an underpinning of my business, and the association keeps us relevant as a profession.”

Preston noted that he also enjoys the benefits of membership such as the savings offered for insurance programs and the discount offers through the Staples and FedEx affinity partnerships.

According to Preston, his son thinks the Kindle is “cool” and is reportedly having fun trying to teach Preston and his wife, Freda, how to use it.

NCRA members who renew their 2016 memberships in November will be eligible to win a $100 Amazon gift card. The winner will also be announced in an upcoming issue of the JCR Weekly newsletter.

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.

Rising number of members sign on to reap benefits of Amplify partnership savings

Office supplies_Ginny

Photo by: Ginny

An increasing number of NCRA members are signing up to earn hefty savings on office supplies and other items with Staples and significant savings on shipping costs through FedEx.

The programs are available to members through a recently launched partnership between NCRA and Amplify. Participation in the programs requires no minimums and no contracts.

NCRA worked with Amplify to develop the partnership programs specifically for members, recognizing that they spend a large portion of their budgets on office supplies and shipping fees. Through the partnership, members can save up to 40 percent on shipping and up to 72 percent on office supplies and other items.

“I signed up for the Amplify benefit program after seeing a blast email about it from NCRA,” said Michele Balmer, RPR, a firm owner from Yuma, Ariz. “I placed my first order for office supplies recently, which included three-hole punch paper and manila envelopes, and the price for the box of paper was about $10 less and the box of envelopes was about $12 less than on the Staples regular website! So it’s definitely worth checking into.”

The programs are part of NCRA’s continued focus on delivering value to all members.

“The recent addition of Staples and FedEx to the Association’s list of affinity programs has received very positive feedback from members who have signed up to take advantage of these cost-saving benefits,” said Jeanne Leonard, CAE, NCRA’s Senior Director of Communications, Marketing & Membership. “The Association is dedicated to identifying and providing additional services such as these to aid its members in supporting their businesses, whether large or small. The partnership with Amplify is just one of the many benefits NCRA offers that makes membership in the Association so valuable.”

Members simply need to sign up with Amplify to start receiving these savings. Find more information about the Staples program here and the FedEx program here. Not a member? Join now to take advantage of these members-only benefits.

NCRA also offers members customized insurance plans administered by Mercer Affinity Group Services, a partner for 50 years. Plans include coverage ranging from accidental death and dismemberment to equipment insurance, as well as dental plans, pet insurance, and more. NCRA also offers a credit card affinity program through UMB Financial Corp.

Learn more about all of the benefits NCRA membership has to offer by visiting NCRA.org.

 

Student membership sponsorship campaign marches on

Court reporting students and the NCRA president and CEO stand in front of the Take Note campaign sign

Photo by: Nicole Napodano. Used with permission.

NCRA members from across the nation have been responding to the call to support the future of the court reporting and captioning profession by sponsoring student memberships. Currently, nearly 300 students want to join NCRA and benefit from membership.

In recent months, NCRA leadership visiting state events have successfully generated many sponsorships needed by talking with members face-to-face. In addition, NCRA member Christine Phipps, RPR, owner of Phipps Reporting in West Palm Beach, Fla., launched a second call to action via the Association’s managers’ email list. Combined, the efforts have helped provide memberships to more than 100 waiting students.

For many students, typical daily expenses combined with the cost of tuition make joining NCRA difficult. Often when students choose which bills to pay first, membership in NCRA falls to the bottom of the list, despite the fact that being a part of the national association provides numerous resources, such as access to professionals for support and other benefits that can help lead to professional success.

“The reason I decided to reach out to the membership again is because I feel that students getting into court reporting schools and out working is of utmost importance. Court reporting school is challenging, and I think that students belonging to NCRA and having all of us as a resource will help them get through the challenging levels in their educations,” said Phipps. “We are their support system, and they just won’t know that unless we show them. And what better way to do that than to hand them a gift of membership.”

Phipps’ first call to action came in April after attending an NCRA Board of Directors meeting where she heard that there were, at that time, nearly 70 student court reporters waiting for available funds to become members of the Association. Immediately upon returning home from the meeting, she put together a student sponsorship application, wrote a heartfelt note about what she heard and about how her firm would sponsor 10 student members, asked members if they were willing to pay it forward, and emailed it to NCRA’s managers’ email list. Within hours, the response was overwhelming, exceeding the number of pledges needed to purchase memberships for the waiting students.

Back then she said the news made her recall her days as a young reporter when she couldn’t afford to join NCRA despite longing for the opportunity to meet working reporters and learn as much as she could from them. Her latest drive was inspired by those same memories as well as the overwhelming outcome of her first outreach effort.

“I as a person reached out because I am just not capable of turning my back on anyone, no matter what. I believe in this cause and believe that a person’s actions speak louder than words. For so many to have put forth their actions in response to student membership makes me just so proud to be a colleague to all these great firm owners across the country. They are truly amazing people,” Phipps said.

“We need to have the best and brightest new talent entering the court reporting profession in order to be a viable profession,” said Julia Obien, RPR, CMRS, owner of YOM Court Reporting & Video in Seattle, Wash., one of the many firm owners who answered Phipps’ second call for student member sponsorships. “We all know how difficult court reporting school is, and we know that court reporting students need all the help and encouragement they can get. NCRA student memberships are only a first step.”

Caroline L. Miller, RPR, president of the Nebraska Court Reporters Association and owner of Thibault, Suhr & Thibault, Inc., in Omaha, said her firm was quick to respond to Phipps’ call in an effort to help share the love of the court reporting and captioning professions. “Our office does feel the need to be supportive to incoming students. We’ve all had a little help along the way, be it family, friends, or fellow reporters,” she said. “We hope to share the love of this great profession with the next generation.”

“I supported the call to sponsor a student membership because students are our future,” said Shirley P. King, RPR, CLVS, owner of King Reporting & Video Conferencing Center in Melbourne, Fla. “Thirty-five years ago I was writing on a manual machine, dictating my transcripts for a typist who used carbon paper for copies. I was asked then what are you going to do once tape recorders took over,” she said.

“My answer has always been the same. We will use whatever tools are available to make the record. But court reporters are still the most cost-efficient method of making a record. Nothing beats our computer brain. And today, there are so many different avenues for court reporting now with broadcast captioning and CART — a testament that the skill is still recognized as the best speech to text method going,” King added.

NCRA Immediate Past President Sarah Nageotte, RDR, CCR, CRC, Jefferson, Ohio, said that one of the greatest benefits she has experienced through her volunteer service with the Association has been the opportunity to spend time with the profession’s future: students. She recently represented NCRA at the North Carolina Court Reporters Association’s annual convention where she was also successful in generating several student member sponsorships.

“There is no lack of mental and emotional support for our court reporting and captioning students. At state conventions, the applause when the students in the audience are identified often brings tears to my eyes,” she said, and further noted that she recognizes that gaining students’ ongoing membership and full participation can be a challenge due to the expenses of school and life in general.

“Thankfully, my fellow reporters and captioners share the enthusiasm for our future, which makes seeking sponsorships and donations toward student memberships one of the most rewarding tasks I have enjoyed over the years,” said Nageotte.

Student sponsorships cost $65 each and will cover membership costs for the remainder of 2015 through 2016. NCRA also provides a graduated cost to help assist students just out of school with maintaining their membership. Once the need for sponsorships is met, additional funds raised will be placed in a rolling program and used for other students who want to join. More information about how you can sponsor student members is available at NCRA.org/StudentSponsor.

Renewing early could win you a prize

NCRA members who renew their 2016 memberships early will be automatically entered into drawings that could win them fun prizes. Members who renew in October will be eligible to win a Kindle Fire. Renewals received in November will be eligible to win a $100 Amazon gift card. The winners will also be announced in an upcoming issue of the JCR Weekly newsletter.

Don’t take the chance of missing out on the numerous benefits NCRA offers its members, including the latest in industry and association news delivered through the JCR, JCR Weekly, and JCR.com; a member resource center that offers a wide 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 annual convention and other events; and more.

Click here to renew now!

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

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.

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.