NCRA celebrates the Best. Friday. Ever.

NCRA members can kick off their holiday shopping season on Nov. 24 by taking advantage of Black Friday discounts and giveaways being offered with the purchase of membership renewals, store items, educational sessions, and more.

NCRA members who renew their membership or join on Nov. 24 will be entered into a drawing to win a free registration to the 2018 NCRA Convention & Expo. Registered members who renew on Black Friday will automatically be entered into a drawing to win a free registration for the Speed or Realtime Contests held at the 2018 NCRA Convention & Expo. Members who renew their membership on Nov. 24 will also be eligible to win one of two Kindle Fires. That means the members who qualify may have three opportunities to win!

Other Best Friday Ever specials include a 20 percent discount on all NCRA Store items purchased using the promotional code FRIDAY at checkout. In addition, members who register for the 2018 NCRA Firm Owners Executive Conference and book their stay at The Don CeSar will be entered into a drawing for a free spouse registration for the event.

Members who purchase an NCRA e-seminar on Nov. 24 will be entered into a drawing to win a free e-seminar while members who purchase a Skills Test on Black Friday will be entered into a drawing to win one of two free Skills Test registrations.

Members are urged to mark their calendars to be sure they don’t miss the discounts and giveaways being offered only on Nov. 24.

Convention conversations

This year, students attending the 2017 NCRA Convention & Expo in Las Vegas, Nev., were treated to a range of different seminars aimed at preparing them for testing, contests, and the real world beyond graduation. Up-to-Speed asked attendees for feedback on the student experience and they shared their highlights of the Convention.

Group photo of students and the NCRA Board of Directors posed with enthusiasm

Students pose with the NCRA Board of Directors after a special meet and greet

The opportunity to network was one of the benefits students mentioned most. “The Convention was very motivational for me,” said Hailey Treasure, a student at MacCormac College in Chicago, Ill. “It was awesome to see how excited all the working reporters were to meet students and to hear them talking about what a good career reporting is and how much they love it after all these years. It was also nice to hear all the tips they had to share for practicing speed.” Meeting other reporters at the Convention was an especially useful opportunity for online students.

When asked to share her best takeaway from the Convention, Lindsay Pepe, who studies with online program SimplySteno, answered, “So many things! Being an online student, I don’t get a lot of interaction with other reporting students or actual reporters, so it was such a great experience being surrounded by them.” Brianna Carpenter, also with SimplySteno, agreed: “I enjoyed the opportunity to be around reporters because being a student is very isolating with schools switching to an online environment.”

Attending the social events such as the Awards Luncheon and the “Only New Once” Reception was also a great way to meet and talk with other working reporters. At the reception, first-time attendees shared drinks with the NCRA Board of Directors and the NCRF Board of Trustees. “They were so welcoming and encouraging,” Pepe commented.

A large luncheon in a hotel ballroom with people seated at round tables; in the background is the logo for the 2017 NCRA Convention & Expo

Students from MacCormac mingle during the Awards Luncheon

Of course, networking is just one reason students come to the Convention. Another is to attend the student seminars and learn from the best. Speed dating has become a favorite way to meet people, and the “Steno Speed Dating” session proved no less popular. “It was an awesome way to meet working reporters,” said Treasure, “and to ask all the questions you have about their particular area of reporting.” In this seminar, students sat around 10 tables while professional court reporters, CART captioners, and broadcast captioners rotated from table to table every fifteen minutes so that all students had an opportunity to ask each of them questions. Unfortunately, a power outage at Planet Hollywood (along with Paris and Bally’s) shortened the time for speed dating, but the presenters and moderator Shaunise Day, a student at West Valley College in Saratoga, Calif., moved the session along and got everyone back up to speed.

The presenters were:

  • Dee Boenau, FAPR, RDR, CRR, CRC
  • Jo Ann Bryce, RMR, CRR
  • Linda Christensen, RMR, CRR, CRC
  • Rich Germosen, RMR, CRR
  • Cheryl Haab, RPR
  • Melanie Humphrey-Sonntag, FAPR, RDR, CRR, CRC
  • Stanley Sakai, CRC
  • Jennifer Schuck, FAPR, RDR, CRR, CRC
  • Joe Strickland, RPR, CRR, CRC
  • Doug Zweizig, RDR, CRR

Ashley Hurd, of the Long Island Business Institute in Commack, N.Y., gave the speed-dating session a good review: “This seminar provided excellent tips and advice from professional reporters in different areas. Knowing these reporters were once in my shoes as students gives me hope that I can be successful like they are.” The fast pace of the format kept the questions flowing and the reporters on their feet.

A young woman and a young man stand next to each other smiling

Shaunise Day and Stan Sakai pose after the steno speed dating session (photo from Stan Sakai)

Another dynamic session that garnered a lot of attention was “Business of Being a Court Reporter.” Presenters Michael Hensley, RPR; Charisse Kitt, RMR, CRI; Katherine Schilling, RPR; and Jessica Waack, RDR, CRR; demonstrated real-world scenarios in a mock setting to show students the ins and outs of what it’s like on an actual job. The idea was to expose students to the kinds of situations they probably don’t encounter inside the classroom.

For Hurd, this session was a way to extend her learning beyond her coursework. “As a visual learner, having this segment for representation was exciting,” Hurd said. “I was able to see how everything I’ve learned in school came to life.” She added that students often question what are “the proper, respectful, and professional ways to interject as a court reporter,” but this session “answered every doubt in a student’s mind.” Presenters also demonstrated the preferred way to conduct oneself around attorneys, witnesses, and judges.

For Amy Flaherty, of GateWay Community College in Phoenix, Ariz., this was her favorite session: “It really covered the basics in an entertaining way. Having the panel be so diverse was incredibly helpful. The panel members were down to earth and informative.” Pepe agreed. “Really fun and educational session,” she said. “It was great getting the opinions on how each individual would handle the hypothetical situations. Probably one of my favorite sessions at the Convention!” Interactive sessions like this one infused an element of entertainment and kept the students engaged.

What would students like to see more of in 2018? Hurd, the student from Long Island Business Institute, is concerned about scheduling her sessions around her class time and wants to try to avoid any overlap. Pepe, from SimplySteno, would like more time to visit with vendors in the Expo Hall. And Whitney Berndt, a student at Lakeshore Technical College in Cleveland, Wis. is thinking even farther ahead. “I would have appreciated an opportunity to discuss the future of court reporting schools, education, and testing to hear how NCRA is dealing with the lack of new reporters and how to get more students out of school.” Berndt will get an opportunity to share her ideas over the coming year as a member of NCRA’s Student/Teacher Committee.

Read all the news from the 2017 NCRA Convention & Expo.

NCRA 2017 – Highlights from TCG’s trip to Las Vegas for the NCRA Convention

JCR: Journal of Court Reporting, TheJCR.com, JCR WeeklyKendall O’Geil, the Captioning Coordinator for The Captioning Group wrote a Sept. 7 post on the company blog about her experience at the 2017 NCRA Convention & Expo in Las Vegas, Nev. O’Geil, who is an associate member of NCRA in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, highlighted the opportunities to meet captioners she works with in person as well as seeing new and emerging technologies and equipment in the Expo Hall. “Even if you are not a captioner, court reporter, or realtime writer in any sense, there is a lot to be learned from attending an NCRA convention,” she said.

Read more.

Meeting the demand: The CRC experience

Attendees at the CRC Workshop at the 2017 NCRA Convention & Expo in Las Vegas

By Carol Studenmund

At the NCRA Convention & Expo in Las Vegas, the Certified Realtime Captioner (CRC) Certification Committee hosted the third annual CRC Workshop. For one-and-a-half days, six members of the CRC Committee taught 68 registrants both beginning and advanced lessons regarding broadcast and CART captioning. The Written Knowledge Test was offered immediately following the workshop. The CRC Workshop is one of three requirements of the CRC program, along with a Written Knowledge Test and a Skills Test.

NCRA members are seeing more and more requests from clients that captioners hold national certifications, and many of these clients want to see copies of certifications. This demand comes from local governments, educational institutions, and judicial systems that need to meet ADA requests from the public.

Instructors Heidi Thomas, FAPR, RDR, CRR, CRC; Deanna Baker, FAPR, RMR; Karyn Menck, RDR, CRR, CRC; LeAnn Hibler, RMR, CRR, CRC; Stacey Potenza, CRC; and myself had way too much fun sharing our decades of experience in the captioning world. Our collective experience covers broadcast, education, theater, sports, stadium, high-tech, business, and web-based captioning. The purpose of the CRC Workshop is to provide both beginning and experienced captioners exposure to all aspects of this exciting field. Even though captioning is a well-established field, it is still relatively young compared to court reporting. Some captioners may be well versed in local news captioning and know nothing about educational or religious captioning, and vice versa.

Since the first CRC Workshop in New York City in 2015, the number of attendees has increased each year. This year, the increase was influenced by the Dec. 31, 2017, deadline for a large group of Certified Realtime Reporter (CRR) holders. Members who passed the CRR Skills Test before Nov. 1, 2011, can earn the CRC by attending the CRC Workshop and passing the Written Knowledge Test before Dec. 31, 2017. Through November 2011, the CRR Skills Test consisted of literary material, just like the CRC Skills Test (the CRR Skills Test is now testimony material). The last opportunity in 2017 to take the CRC Written Knowledge Test is in October. Registration closes Sept. 30.

The CRC Workshop is also available online as a package of nine modules. Members who earned the CRR before 2011 and want to earn the CRC by Dec. 31 may watch the online workshop.

Our team of instructors knows only too well how quickly technology changes in the world of captioning. But the one aspect of captioning that remains the same is the need to write cleanly and conflict free. The CRC Workshop includes instruction about basic realtime writing for captioning. We cover the need to use prefixes and suffixes along with basic root words. We also talk about the never-ending need to prepare for upcoming assignments.

Technology has expanded the field of captioning from TV encoders to the internet. New platforms for online meetings develop every year. Competing caption streaming services bring new solutions that expand our capabilities all the time. Our instructors tried to cover the various methods of displaying our captions with an eye to future developments.

The captioning world grows every year, and the demand for qualified captioners is stronger than ever. Our committee looks forward to welcoming more and more Certified Realtime Captioners in the coming year.

Carol Studenmund, FAPR, RDR, CRR, CRC, is a broadcast captioner in Portland, Ore., and co-chair of the NCRA Certified Realtime Captioner Certification Committee. She can be reached at cstudenmund@LNSCaptioning.com.

NCRF’s Purple Heart Veterans History Project earns top honors

BowStern representatives Ashleigh Flanders and Amanda Handley hold three awards -- two plaques and a trophy

BowStern representatives Ashleigh Flanders (left) and Amanda Handley (right) hold the Golden Image Awards recognizing NCRF’s Purple Heart Veterans History Project event

NCRF’s efforts to commemorate National Purple Heart Day by hosting a Veterans History Project event during the 2016 NCRA Convention & Expo held in Chicago, Ill., last August have earned top honors in the Golden Image Awards sponsored by the Florida Public Relations Association’s (FPRA) Capital Chapter.

The NCRF Purple Heart event recently earned an Image Award, a Judges Award, and a Grand Image Award, which is the highest award given, in the category of Printed Tools of Public Relations-News Release. NCRA’s external public relations firm BowStern, which is based in Tallahassee, Fla., nominated NCRA’s effort for the award.

The Purple Heart event, which was sponsored in part by AristoCat, captured the stories of eight Purple Heart recipients from Chicago and the surrounding area for preservation at the Library of Congress as part of the Veterans History Project collection. The event also drew significant media coverage, including:

More recently, the NCRF Purple Heart effort was showcased in the December 2016 issue of Convene magazine as well as in a May article that appeared in Associations Now.

NCRF has been invited to host a Veterans History Project event at the Military Order of the Purple Heart’s annual convention taking place in mid-August in Dallas, Texas.

For more information about NCRF’s Oral History Program, visit NCRA.org/NCRF.

Advance your legal video skills at the NCRA Convention & Expo

VideographyNCRA offers legal videographers the opportunity to complete several steps toward their Certified Legal Video Specialist (CLVS) certification at the NCRA Convention & Expo. Work toward the CLVS certification through the three-day CLVS Seminar and Production Exam while networking with both up-and-coming and highly regarded CLVSs and court reporters. There is also a ticketed Legal Videographers Reception on Friday from 6-7 p.m.

Robin Cassidy-Duran, RPR, CLVS, a freelancer and firm owner in Eugene, Ore., offers this advice on becoming a CLVS: “As a court reporter, I had observed many videographers over the years, and I sometimes envied their job as I struggled to get every word down on my machine. I decided that if I was going to do it, I wanted to do it right. I wanted to be taken seriously when I walked into the deposition. I decided to begin with the Certified Legal Video Specialist program.”

Put CLVS after your name

Videographers new to legal video can take the three-day CLVS Seminar. If they have already completed the CLVS Seminar, then they can sign up for the CLVS Production Exam on Friday or Saturday.

Craig F. Mitchell, CLVS, states: “Had I not studied the CLVS standards, invested in top quality professional equipment, practiced, and intensely tested every aspect of what was expected, that first deposition certainly would have been my last.”

Legal videographers with sufficient deposition-taking experience may apply to take the CLVS Seminar and CLVS Production Exam concurrently. Once approved by the CLVS Council, experienced videographers will be notified that they can take the CLVS Seminar on Saturday and the CLVS Production Exam on Sunday.

CLVS candidates are encouraged to take advantage of the NCRA room block while in Las Vegas.

NCRF Purple Heart event highlighted in association magazine

JCR logoAssociations Now posted an article on May 19 that notes the Purple Heart Day, as part of the Veterans History Project, hosted by the National Court Reporters Foundation at the 2016 NCRA Convention & Expo.

Read more.

Convention keynote speaker will help you create magic at your fingertips

NCRA has announced that Steve Wyrick, known as the Daredevil Magician, will present a motivational speech during its Premier Session on Friday as part of the 2017 NCRA Convention & Expo being held Aug. 10-13 in Las Vegas, Nev. Wyrick’s speech will connect the themes of magic at your fingertips with the passion so many court reporters, captioners, and legal videographers have in the profession. Attendees should plan to “leave with the realization that the answers to each of our lives exist within the magic we all possess,” says Wyrick of the session.

Photo of Steve Wyrick (daredevil * magician * TV reality star) in front of a sports carWyrick, who is passionate about magic, explains: “Every person needs as much magic in their life as possible. I experience magic every day. In fact, magic is all around us if we just open our eyes and our hearts. I am fortunate enough to be able to share my secret with my audiences how to recognize the magic and little miracles that happen all around us every day.”

Wyrick is a Las Vegas icon and headline entertainer who has performed for kings, queens, and presidents. Throughout the years, Wyrick has won many awards in magic, including the International Brotherhood of Magicians and the Society of American Magicians. More recently, the International Magician’s Society, the largest magic organization in the world, bestowed on him the Merlin Award for “Magician of the Year.”

Wyrick’s appearance at the NCRA Convention seeks to help attendees find the magic in their own lives and help them visualize their dreams and make them reality. “I have always been able to visualize the impossible. I believe you must be able to see your dreams in order for them to become reality,” says Wyrick. “I’m excited to share a few simple secrets and beliefs that I have developed and utilized in my life over the years. This process can be followed and applied by anyone to pursue their dreams. It is possible to live your dream.”

The session promises to reinspire in attendees a passion for the profession, reminding them that they have the magic at their fingertips. “I have found that there are few things in life that are truly impossible to accomplish if you decide, dedicate, and choose to do them,” says Wyrick. “The most fulfilling reward is to see the look on the faces of people from 9 to 99 years old captivated by my magic and illusion through the power of compelling storytelling.”

The Premier Session will also feature the announcement of the winner of NCRA’s Distinguished Service Award and the installation of the 2017-2018 NCRA Board of Directors. Register now.

Make your Convention & Expo magic by staying at the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino

Planet Hollywood on the Las Vegas Strip

Photo by Wikimedia Commons

NCRA members attending the 2017 NCRA Convention & Expo in Las Vegas, Nev., are reminded that, by booking their stay at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino, they not only receive a specially negotiated room rate as well as a lower daily resort fee in a four-star hotel but they are also supporting their Association.

When NCRA negotiates special room rates at hotels serving as the host site of its meetings, it also is able to secure valuable savings on meeting rooms and exhibit space. Such negotiations are standard practice in the association-meeting world. Another standard practice is that the hotel negotiates that the group holding the event is responsible to incur the costs of any unreserved rooms. The reason is simple. When hotels negotiate with groups for sleeping and meeting space, the sleeping rooms are held in a block, which means they are not made available to other guests. Rooms unfilled in a hotel’s room block can often create a financial burden on the organization holding the event because the hotel’s loss is commonly passed along to the hosting organization, and that, in turn, typically causes the costs of future events to increase.

Great savings on a four-star hotel is just one major benefit to staying in a host hotel when attending an event. Other benefits include convenient access to meeting rooms, the expo site, networking opportunities, and a guest’s reserved room. For the Planet Hollywood venue, guests will also enjoy the convenience of nearby shopping, top-rated restaurants, spas, and more.

The bottom line is that staying at the conference hotel gives attendees a better conference experience and helps keep registration rates low. Do your part to support NCRA and to help ensure costs of future events are kept at the lowest rate possible, not just for you, but for others in your profession who also attend them.

“NCRA is committed to supporting its members by providing the best value possible. One such member benefit includes lower lodging rates and registration fees related to annual events,” said NCRA President-elect Chris Willette, RDR, CRR, CRC. “We appreciate our members who are committed to supporting their Association by taking advantage of the special room rates negotiated on their behalf with Planet Hollywood. The 2017 Convention & Expo — ‘Magic at Your Fingertips!’— is sure to be an exciting and fun-filled event.”

Top five reasons to stay at the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino during the 2017 NCRA Convention & Expo

  • Opportunity to win — NCRA is offering prizes to those staying in the discounted room block at Planet Hollywood, including a refund of your entire convention registration and a Kindle Fire tablet to those who additionally download the app.
  • Organic networking opportunities — There are always convention attendees in the lobby, at the coffee shop, or in one of the several restaurants located in Planet Hollywood, providing additional chances for networking outside of scheduled events.
  • Fast commutes — Staying at Planet Hollywood means a quicker trip to meeting rooms and networking venues as well as the ability to zip back to your room for a quick break without missing all the magic the convention has to offer.
  • More time on the expo floor — Attendees who stay at Planet Hollywood will spend less time walking or taxiing to off-site lodging locations and more time on the expo floor.
  • Shopping and dining at your fingertips — Planet Hollywood offers its guests easy access to top-rated restaurants and exciting shops all under one roof.

Book your hotel and register now.

Experience the magic of Las Vegas at the NCRA Convention & Expo

Convention_FB_cover photoCatch the magic of savings by registering now for the 2017 NCRA Convention & Expo being held Aug. 10-13 in Las Vegas, Nev. Register by July 4 and take advantage of special rates negotiated for hotel rooms at the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino, the official Convention hotel, and on registration fees for the event. After July 4, the savings on both rooms and registration fees will disappear as rates go up.

The NCRA Convention & Expo is the once-a-year largest gathering of members, court reporting students, teachers, school administrators, legal videographers, and vendors serving the profession and the 2017 event will be no exception. Experience a Premier Session like no other NCRA has ever offered at this year’s Convention, happening in one of the most exciting venues ever.

Attendees who register now to stay in the discounted Convention room block at Planet Hollywood will be automatically entered to win one of two full refunds of their entire registration to the event. In addition, attendees who register to stay at Planet Hollywood on Friday and Saturday nights are eligible to win one of six new Kindle Fire tablets in a giveaway.

Register now to experience the magic of the NCRA Convention & Expo and the special savings on room and registration costs before the chance vanishes.