Editorial: Kansas judicial employees deserve a raise

JCR logoThe Kansas City Star printed an editorial on May 29 calling for salary increases for judicial employees.

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NCRA members shares their role in judicial system with homeschool students

JCR logoNCRA members Cyndi Larimer and Mindie Baab recently explained their jobs as official court reporters as part of a mock trial that a handful of National Home School students participated in. The mock trial was included in an article posted by the Claremore Daily Progress, Claremore, Okla., on March 31.

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NCRA member retires from official position

JCR logoNCRA member Geri Harper, RPR, was featured in an article posted by The Sheridan Press, Sheridan, Wyo., about her upcoming retirement from the 4th Judicial District Court. NCRA member Rachael Pacheco will replace Harper.

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Nueces County judges form committee to research court reporters’ salaries

jcr-publications_high-resAccording to an article posted Jan. 29 by the Corpus Christi (Texas) Caller-Times, state district judges formed a committee earlier in January. The committee will research salaries of court reporter positions in other areas and look into ways to increase Nueces County, Texas, offers.

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NCRA offers members information on issues, state requirements

Members can find information on the certification, notary, and read-and-sign requirements of various states through the National Court Reporters Association website. This section of the website, which members must sign in to access, was compiled through NCRA’s Government Relations department and the National Committee of State Associations (NCSA). Dubbed the “State of the Nation Activities Report,” or SONAR, the data bank provides state leaders the information they need when dealing with state or national issues. In addition, SONAR can give members a way to compare various pieces of information across the states. These include certification requirements, certification boards, official fee schedule, firm registration, notary requirements, pay rates for officials, read-and-sign requirements, and state tax rules. It also allows members to look up information by state, so that members who are considering a move to a different state can research the requirements. If any of the information on your state is out of date, contact Adam Finkel at afinkel@ncra.org. Information on this can be found at NCRA.org/SONAR.

NCRA member adds 2016 State of the Union speech to résumé

NCRA member Megan McKenzie writes the 2016 State of the Union address

Photo credit: U.S. House of Representatives

Ask any court reporter or captioner about the various assignments they’ve worked and the answers can range anywhere from a small town court case to a papal visit to a major sporting event. In the case of NCRA member Megan McKenzie, RPR, CRR, Arlington, Va., an official reporter for the U.S. House of Representatives, reporting last week’s State of the Union address delivered by President Barack Obama was just one more high-profile job well done.

A court reporter for 15 years, McKenzie said she began her career with the U.S. House of Representatives in May 2006, after a fellow court reporter suggested she apply for an opening that was posted. She began by reporting committee hearings, investigations, and press conferences before moving to the House floor in May 2008 to make the Congressional Record.

During her time working on Capitol Hill, McKenzie said she has also had the opportunity to take testimony from actors Richard Gere and Ben Affleck, as well as musician Ricky Martin, former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, former Federal Reserve chair Ben Bernanke, and human rights activist Martin Luther King III. She’s also taken testimony from members of the U.S. Supreme Court, the president’s Cabinet, military officers, refugees from war-torn nations, and the CEOs of several major banking institutions.

“In my opinion, reporting for the U.S. House of Representatives is the most interesting court reporting job because of the wide variety of content we are exposed to, the caliber of witnesses who come to testify before Congress, the excitement of being on the House floor when there is an important vote pending, and the ever-changing political environment,” McKenzie said.

She noted that in comparison to the diversity in the technical content she is regularly exposed to when covering the Armed Services, Financial Services, and Foreign Affairs committees, among others, a presidential speech is much easier and requires very little preparation time.

Covering President Obama’s last State of the Union speech to the nation wasn’t the first time McKenzie has reported or captioned an event with a president in attendance. Other noteworthy assignments have also included captioning President George H. W. Bush’s speech on the anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act in 2005, Vice President Joe Biden’s Family and Friends Party prior to his inauguration where country singer Faith Hill performed and President Bill Clinton spoke, and the Let Freedom Ring Concert held in celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day where President and Mrs. Obama were present. In 2014, McKenzie also reported an address by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to a joint session of the U.S. Congress.

McKenzie attributes her ability to play the piano as part of her success as court reporter and credits her parents for suggesting the career path.

“When I was in high school, my parents suggested court reporting as a career for me because they knew a court reporter and thought it would be a good fit. I had played the piano growing up, so I already had experience with that type of manual dexterity. I definitely think playing the piano helped me progress through school and have heard from other reporters that playing the piano was helpful for them as well.”

On the job with court reporter Alice Hadden

NCRA member Alice Hadden, an official court reporter for Porter County, Valparaiso, Ind., is featured in an article about her work and the court reporting profession in an article posted Jan. 16 by nwitimes.com.

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Longtime court reporter retires

The Courier reported on Oct. 23 that NCRA member Vanessa Edwards, RPR, an official court reporter from Findlay, Ohio, is retiring after more than 30 years of service in the Hancock County Common Pleas Court. “It’s a little happy and a little sad because I’ll be missing the work camaraderie that we have,” Edwards said. “But happy because I’m on a new journey.”

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Advice for new attorneys embraces common pet peeves of court personnel

The Survival Guide for New Attorneys in California, a joint publication of Los Angeles Lawyer and the Los Angeles County Bar Association Barristers, offers advice for those new to the judicial process. Pointed out by an eagle-eyed court reporter, the section titled “Pet Peeves from the Bench” by the Hon. Victoria Gerrard Chaney covers many issues court reporters also note as problematic in taking a record, such as a lack of civility or brevity. Chaney’s section is on page 55.

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Court reporters key part of trials

Official court reporters Melanie Morel, RPR, and Cindy Zelinka were featured in an article posted on Feb. 24 by The Dispatch, Columbus, Miss. The article offers a glimpse of what it’s like to serve as official court reporters for the Clay County Circuit Court and insight from the women about what made them choose the career.

“When I was a senior in high school, I took a … shorthand class, because I thought it would be an asset for college note-taking,” Morel said in an email. “Turned out I really loved writing shorthand and love the challenge of writing faster and faster.”

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