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

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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.

Students are waiting for sponsorships

Sponsor_Student_Convention2013NCRA is seeking sponsorships for 300 court reporting students who want to join the association and is calling on all members to support the profession’s future by donating.

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.

“As a former court reporting student, I can appreciate the struggles of being in school. As a firm owner, I know how vital our survival is as we need more reporters to enter our profession to keep up with the growing litigation needs and vacancies that will be created by retiring court reporters. Without supporting students in the various ways they need, I feel we are only shooting ourselves in the foot,” says Rick Levy, RPR, a member of NCRA’s Board of Directors and a managing partner with First Choice Reporting & Video in Miami, Fla.

Levy, who has donated student sponsorships a number of times, says that court reporting school was one of the most challenging times in his life, and he is thankful he had the support of family members who were already in the court reporting profession.

“I was fortunate that I had a great support group and some very influential mentors when I was starting my court reporting career. It is because of my past that I feel so strongly in supporting our future court reporters in any way possible whether it is by moral support, financial support, or just professional mentoring. I urge my wonderful colleagues to sponsor students as well if they are able. Our future depends on court reporting students.”

Students_Nicole Napodano

Photo by Nicole Napodano

Student sponsorships cost $65 each and will cover membership costs for the remainder of 2015 through 2016. To assist new professionals, NCRA also provides a graduated cost to help assist students just out of school with maintaining their membership.

NCRA member Bobbie Barrett, RPR, CMRS, owner of Orange Legal in Orange, Fla., recently donated to NCRA’s student membership program because of her love of the profession. “If you love this profession and love all the exciting and personal growth it has afforded you, give back that same gift you received by giving generously to our future — the students.”

Funds raised beyond what is needed to cover the memberships of the current waiting list of 300 students will be used for additional students who want to join as a rolling program. More information about how to sponsor student members is available at NCRA.org/StudentSponsor.

Top five errors to avoid when submitting continuing education credits online

NCRA launched the online continuing education system on June 1 as a way for our members to more easily submit their continuing education credits. For the most part, the new process has been smooth, but there are a few common errors to keep in mind when submitting credits.

  1. Submitting the credits under the wrong category. For activities that fall under the PDC category for credits (see Article IV of the CEU Rules), answer “No” to the question “Did you take a course, Online or In Person?” All PDC submissions have to be reviewed before they can appear on a transcript.Submitting CEUs online_1
  2. Submitting incomplete paperwork. All submissions must include proof of completion, and most should also include a course outline or syllabus. Programs listed on our Distance Learning page only need the proof of completion. In particular, submissions for Realtime Coach practice times need to include the weekly logs for the times submitted.
  3. Not having all the paperwork in one file for submission. The online submission process will only accept one document, so all items should be scanned into one document. Multiple files result in incomplete paperwork.
  4. Entering numbers in the wrong format or adding text to the “Total hours of instruction” field. Only numbers in a decimal format can be entered in the “Total hours of instruction” field. In this example, the hours should have been entered as 4.5. Anything other than a decimal leads to a “NaN” error message in the “CEU Total” field, which is a self-populating field – see example below.Submitting CEUs online_2
  5. Supporting document attachment is too large. Image files, particularly color images, can get very large. The online system cannot accept a file larger than 5120 kilobytes. Attempting to attach a document that is too large will result in either 1) an error message preventing the user from continuing to the payment page (like the example below) or 2) a message from NCRA that the documents weren’t attached.Submitting CEUs online_3

Bonus: While this is not an error, posting JCR article tests online using the online submission process is more expensive than taking JCR article tests via NCRA’s online testing system. Members save $15 in submissions by using the online test system. Visit the JCR article test page for more information and links.