NCRA Board of Directors kicks off Court Reporting & Captioning Week

NCRA’s Board of Directors took time from their development meeting held this past weekend at the Association’s headquarters in Reston, Va., to mark the start of the 2018 Court Reporting & Captioning Week with a video encouraging everyone to celebrate.

The video, which was posted on NCRA’s Facebook page and other social media outlets, has more than 3,200 views. In the video, Board members shared the following message:

We encourage everyone to join us as we celebrate our wonderful profession from Feb. 10 to 17 during the 2018 Court Reporting & Captioning Week. No activity is too small to celebrate all that we do, in each day, in our professional careers. From capturing the record and preserving history, to providing captioning for broadcast news and live sporting events, to providing CART services for schools, churches, public events, and even theater productions, to ensuring that those who are deaf or hard-of-hearing have equal access to important information: We are court reporters and captioners; and what we do, we do proudly. So let’s come together and celebrate our wonderful and rewarding profession. Let’s share with others the vast opportunities that exist when they chose this career path. Reach out to your legislators and ask for an official proclamation. Attend a career fair and introduce potential students to the world of steno and where our profession can take them. Demonstrate how realtime can benefit your judge or a friend’s judge. Mentor a court reporting student and let them know that the hard work in school is worth it. Join us, your Board of Directors, in celebration, and let’s make this the best Court Reporting & Captioning Week celebration ever.

Members can use the Court Reporting & Captioning Week Facebook frame when they post photos to the social media platform this week. The frame is an easy way to celebrate the week, perhaps with a steno selfie or a photo of you and some of your colleagues.

For the first time ever, NCRA is expecting official national proclamations recognizing the week from two lawmakers. Rep. Bradley Byrne from Alabama is slated to deliver a one-minute floor speech recognizing Court Reporting & Captioning Week on Feb. 15 at 9 a.m. ET. The speech can be viewed on CSPAN. NCRA will also post a link to the speech on its social media outlets.

In addition, longtime supporter U.S. Rep. Ron Kind from Wisconsin will honor court reporters and captioners in a statement he will submit for the record. Rep. Kind’s wife — Tawni Kind, RMR, CRR, CRC — is an official court reporter and a member of NCRA.

Reports continue to come in about the activities happening around the country as members of the court reporting and captioning professions celebrate their chosen careers with pride. Members of the Georgia Shorthand Reporters Association will visit their state capitol and request an official proclamation from lawmakers on Feb. 15. They will also host a meet-and-greet and hand out doughnuts to their supporters and state senators and representatives.

The California Court Reporters Association is calling on its members to celebrate the week by sponsoring a student to attend its Boot Camp event in honor of Farryn Ashley Nelson, a U.S. veteran and court reporter who passed away at 27 years old.

Court reporters in San Antonio, Texas, also report having received an official proclamation from lawmakers in that city. The proclamation was presented to several members during a small ceremony on the courthouse steps on Feb. 13. Also, on Feb. 19, the chief reporter for the state’s House of Representatives will visit with students in the court reporting program at San Antonio College.

Need more ideas on spreading the word during Court Reporting & Captioning Week? Check out the e-seminar Promoting the Profession. This e-seminar is for teachers, court reporters, and firm owners who would like to get more involved in promoting their profession. Veteran reporters Carolyn Ruiz Coronado, RPR, and Erminia Uviedo, RDR, CRR, CRC, share how they use resources like career days, social media, state-wide recruiting networks, Google docs, and A to Z programs to spread the word about the court reporting and captioning professions. Uviedo, from San Antonio, Texas, is the 2016 and 2017 winner of the annual National Committee of State Associations (NCSA) Challenge. The presentation lasts one hour and forty-one minutes and is worth 0.15 continuing education units.

The aim of the NCSA Challenge is to encourage working professionals to reach out through career fairs and other activities to spread the word about what viable career paths court reporting and captioning are. NCSA will review and tally all submissions by members and state associations, and all entries will be eligible for prizes that include free webinars, event registrations, and more.

STUDENT REPORTING: First impressions in a social media world

By Melissa Lee

In life we are granted but one first: our first step, our first day at school, our first kiss. Firsts are so important, in fact, that it has been said that there is never a second chance to make a first impression. With that thought in mind, think about this: Potential employers often use Google and Internet-based social websites to glean information about an applicant they are considering for employment. If a picture is worth a thousand words, what do the pictures on your social media accounts tell a future employer about you, and what kind of first impression will they be left with?

When you graduate, your transcript will not be the only thing you are selling. You, too, become a part of the product you are marketing. Your behavior represents not only yourself, but your future employer and your court reporting community as a whole. The activities you choose to participate in, your dress, and your appearance all become indicators to others of the person you are long before your work product is ever seen. In fact, most people will come to know of you before they know you personally strictly based on a reputation that precedes you in a field where honesty, integrity, and discretion are paramount.

Knowing this is another important “first”; that is, the first step toward making first impressions that demonstrate to others who you are and that you are who they want. Start by guarding your name and your reputation the same way you would guard your Social Security number. Be mindful not only of the things you choose to post and say on social networking sites but the things you choose to allow yourself to be a part of or to participate in.

With that said, remember that it is not always the picture you post on your Facebook or Instagram account that can have a detrimental effect on the impression you leave with others; it can be the picture you allow to be taken of you that is later tagged on someone else’s social media account. Be mindful of the things you allow to be written on your wall. While you cannot control others and their opinions, you do have control over what is on your personal page and, presumably, reflects your opinions as well. While not always fair, some will be judged guilty by association; so choose your associates wisely.

While an ounce of prevention may be worth a pound of cure regarding one’s reputation and first impressions specifically, those who do have an embarrassing hiccup in their personal histories should remember this: Do not allow yourself to be defined by your mistakes but, rather, by how you choose to overcome them, never forgetting your lessons learned today and applying them to all your tomorrows. Own your past and the mistakes it holds so they won’t later own you. Be forthcoming regarding those errors in judgment so that you will never be presumed guilty of lying by omission.

While we strive for perfection, we will never be perfect. And while no firm is looking for perfection in an applicant, they are looking for someone that represents them, their values, and their company in a way they can be proud of and that they can sell to others. Begin this day becoming the reporter you want to market in your future by developing a reputation that you can be proud of and making first impressions that will convey to others the important asset you will be to their team.

Melissa S. Lee, A.S., CRI, is a teacher at the College of Court Reporting. She can be reached at MelissaLeeCCR@gmail.com.

ICYMI: More popular posts from NCRA social media

Two of NCRA’s main goals on social media are to connect with our members and to share important and interesting information. Sometimes these are more serious posts, but sometimes they’re fun, too. ICYMI (in case you missed it), below are a few highlights of popular posts on NCRA social media over the past month.

Facebook


We are always looking for stories from around the internet that our members would enjoy and find valuable, including this article from Inc. magazine. The topic of focus resonated with court reporters and captioners – almost a dozen followers (including several state associations) shared it with their audiences as well.

Twitter

It’s always exciting to hear from court reporting students and get their perspective. This article, which originally ran in the student newsletter Up-to-Speed before appearing on social media, revealed what students saw as the highlights of the 2017 NCRA Convention & Expo. Shaunise Day and Stan Sakai, CRC, pose in the photo (which was supplied by Sakai). Day, a student at West Valley College in Saratoga, Calif., served on the 2016-2017 NCRA Student Committee, and Sakai, a captioner in New York, N.Y., participated in the “Steno Speed Dating” session.

LinkedIn


This post served as our first announcement to the beginnings of a new cross-cultural friendship with the Court Reporters Association of Zambia. We appreciated the encouragement from our members in the comments as well.

Instagram

#captioning #captioner #network #workingtogether #buildingrelationships #Chicago

A post shared by National Court Reporters Assn. (@ncraofficial) on

LeAnn Hibler, RMR, CRR, CRC, a captioner from Joliet, Ill., talked about the increased need for captioning and the admiration she has for disability rights leaders. She also appreciates the support that the captioning community in Chicago gives each other. Her full article is on TheJCR.com, but we shared a few particularly lovely quotes on Instagram.

Cross platform


Nothing like a good #TBT post to give you a blast from the past. Followers on both Facebook and Twitter liked this post and, on Facebook especially, chimed in with memories, including:

  • “That’s a gem!” said l.e.e.l.e.e.c on Instagram.
  • “Absolutely! What an upgrade this was from the blue cardboard box!” said @BarbaraWCash on Twitter.
  • “Yes, it was great when the sleek plastic model came along to replace the clunky wood model. One of my wood ones was built from scratch by my great-grandfather for my great-aunt. And was there anyone who did not have an electric eraser? The one in the top right of the link below was my favorite model. It had a mercury switch, so it started rotating when you picked it up. That was the sort of stuff that was ‘high-tech’ back in the day (And don’t get me started on the Steno-Mark, responsible for green and red spots on law firm carpets everywhere),” said John Wissenbach on Facebook.
  • “I had a beautiful wooden one thanks to Bev Herring-Black and my judge, David Sohr, called me Speedy Gonzales because he said he could hear me in my office spitting out words like bullets as I dictated,” said Lynn Donnelly Clark on Facebook.

Best hashtag


The Friday following the shooting in Las Vegas, we all needed some good news. So NCRA asked our followers to #TellMeSomethingGood. And you warmed our hearts with happy news, both personal and professional. We encourage you to click on the comments in the post above to read them all. Look for another #TellMeSomethingGood post around Thanksgiving – we love hearing your happy stories!

ICYMI: Popular posts from NCRA social media

NCRA’s social media channels are a great way to stay on top of Association and industry news, but the social media team also tries to share interesting and entertaining posts from around the internet that will help reporters, captioners, and videographers do their jobs better, provide interesting information, or are just plain fun. ICYMI (in case you missed it), below are a few highlights of popular posts on NCRA social media over the past month.

Facebook

Even if you’re not in the courtroom or depositions, every reporter and captioner has a story of trying to figure out what the heck a speaker was trying to say. The ABA Journal, for the American Bar Association, fortunately, has recognized that some words are tough to pronounce and shared this quiz. Bryan A. Garner is the editor-in-chief of Black’s Law Dictionary (so he knows a thing or two about pronunciation) and the author of The Chicago Guide to Grammar, Usage, and Punctuation.

Twitter

Lots of court reporters are notaries, sometimes because their state requires them to be. Lots of court reporters need to swear in someone. Enter this article by the National Notary Association. It describes ways to respect individual beliefs and choices, take the procedure seriously, and use appropriate ceremonial gestures while taking an oath or affirmation.

LinkedIn

More than two-thirds of the members who answered the JCR Weekly poll “How far would you travel for a job?” said they’d at least stay somewhere overnight. But traveling, even for business, can make it tough to keep up with work. This article by Inc., written by Delta Air Lines, offered some tips on how to turn all that downtime at the airport into productive time.

Instagram

Instagram is NCRA’s newest endeavor on social media, and we’re still learning what our members want to see most. (Got some suggestions? Let us know!) But members loved this mini profile of Sarah Gadd. Maybe it’s because she looks ready to take on the (steno) world! Followers had plenty of encouragement for Sarah, such as Instagrammer vesnacsr, who said: “I knew you’d be a star when I first met you.” This profile came from a longer new professional spotlight on TheJCR.com.

Cross platform

Sometime social media itself provides a little inspiration, such as the trending hashtag #ReadABookDay. This post was popular on multiple NCRA channels (I spy one of the Bryan Garner books mentioned earlier in this article!), and members shared a few of the books they’re currently reading, including:

  • Our Iceburg is Melting: Changing and Succeeding Under Any Conditions by John Kotter (shared by @tjkaiser23 on Twitter)
  • Everything I never told you by Celeste Ng (shared by Judy Walsh on Facebook)
  • Court Reporting: Bad Grammar/Good Punctuation by Margie Wakeman Wells (shared by Ruth Haskins on Facebook)
  • A Time to Kill by John Grisham (shared by Deborah Forbeck on LinkedIn)

Best share


Social media is at its best when it gives people an opportunity to connect and share. Micheal Johnson, RDR, CRR, posted about a compliment he’d received on the job, Doris O. Wong Associates, Inc., shared it to their Facebook timeline, and we found it and shared it with ours, asking members to “‘Like’ if you’ve gotten a compliment for the service you provide” … and dozens of you did!

Follow the NCRA Convention & Expo online

Photo by Jason Howie

Photo by Jason Howie

Whether you are on-site or holding down the home front during the 2017 NCRA Convention & Expo, Aug. 10-13 in Las Vegas, Nev., be sure to follow along with all that’s happening at special sessions, networking events, the Expo floor, and more by checking in with the JCR.com, Facebook, Twitter, and – new this year – Instagram.

For those attending the Convention, the official app will also keep them up-to-date on the latest happenings. The app is available in the Apple app store and on Google Play. NCRA is also making its Snapchat debut with a special Convention filter, available on-site in the Convention hall from the Opening Reception through Sunday sessions.

Throughout the Convention, NCRA will be posting updates on the JCR.com as well as on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram using #NCRA17. Follow along for important information for attendees as well as breaking news for members who are keeping up with the action from home. Everyone is encouraged to join the conversation and share this year’s convention magic.

ETHICS: Social media and the court reporter

social media and the court reporterBy Robin Cooksey

Technology has no doubt created a world where information can be accessed at incredible speeds, and opinions and thoughts are disseminated to others simply by the click of a mouse or a keyboard. Whether you are providing remote CART services or broadcast captioning or you are working as an official or freelance reporter, chances are you have used some form of technology to do your job.

Since the advent of the Internet, technology has continued to evolve, and social media has become its cornerstone. Merriam-Webster defines social media as “a collective of online communications channels dedicated to community-based input, interaction, content-sharing and collaboration.” It is so commonplace now and its use is so widespread that businesses set up websites and Facebook pages to promote their business. Government officials use Twitter so that constituents may be informed on current issues.

Social media has become such an integral part of our society now that state and federal governments have actually promulgated rules and policies to address the concerns that social media potentially bring to the court system. Jurors are now instructed that they are not to use any form of social media to research the cases on which they’re serving or communicate about them. Jurors are further cautioned about the consequences if these rules are not followed.

While court reporters serve a different function in the legal setting, the rules that apply to the jurors are equally important to follow as a court reporter. Our Code of Professional Conduct does not specifically address the dos and don’ts of social media. It does, however, state that we are to “guard against not only the fact but the appearance of impropriety”; we must “preserve the confidentiality and ensure the security of information, oral or written, entrusted to the reporter by any of the parties in a proceeding”; and we must “maintain the integrity of the reporting profession.” If a reporter were to engage in discussions on social media regarding any matter that they were reporter for, not only would he or she be guilty of misconduct, they, too, could potentially cause irreparable harm to the parties.

In order to respond to the needs of our society, we need to stay abreast of current trends in technology. Use video conferencing, Skype, live-streaming, and the like in order to provide the best product or service that you can. And then, at the end of the day, relax. Share your photos of your family and pets, your favorite recipes, and your thoughts. Let’s remember to keep the “social” in social media.

Robin Cooksey, RMR, of Houston, Texas, is a member of NCRA’s Committee on Professional Ethics.

South Suburban College’s court reporting program creates new Facebook page

The court reporting program at JCR logoSouth Suburban College, South Holland, Ill., has created an official Facebook page to share students’ success, school events, and anything else relevant to the field. Students can now share their success with their friends and families with the click of a button. South Suburban College decided to switch from a periodic newsletter to a Facebook page to celebrate students’ achievements when they happen.

Visit South Suburban College — Court Reporting Program’s Facebook page.

Testing where and when you want cited as a huge benefit of online testing

testing-tips-lightbulbThe many benefits of NCRA’s online testing program include a user-friendly and secure system, more testing opportunities annually, faster results, and greater affordability. However, users of the system continue to report that the freedom and convenience of being able to test in a location of their choosing, including at home or in the office, continues to rank as one of the biggest factors for success.

The program, which is a partnership between NCRA, Realtime Coach, and ProctorU, was launched in August 2015 and offers online skills testing platforms for candidates of the RPR, RMR, CRR, and CRC certifications. Since then, more than 2,300 tests have been taken online.

“This was my first online testing experience, and I was able to pass the last leg of the RPR that I needed to become certified, so I’d say it was a pretty great experience. I like the online testing much better than having to go to a brick-and-mortar testing site. I did not like having to wake up very early in the morning to make it to the testing site and having to bring all of my equipment. Less anxiety testing from home in that regard,” said Christina E. Sarisky, RPR, a freelance reporter from Rutherford, N.J.

Brittany Blesener, RPR, an official court reporter from Chaska, Minn., agrees that the best benefit to online testing is “taking it at your own time, one leg at a time, instead of having a set date.”

First-time online test-taker Megan Orris, RPR, an official court reporter from Middleburg, Penn., said she personally likes the online testing for the skills portion of certification because it makes things go quickly and, rather than the six to eight weeks it takes to receive official results from a brick-and-mortar site, online official results are emailed within three to seven days.

“I think people can get nervous over having to wait a period of time to know whether they passed or failed a test,” she noted.

For candidates preparing to take any of the NCRA online skills tests, veteran test-takers and Marybeth Everhart, RPR, CRI, CPE, national marketing manager for Realtime Coach, agree that practicing is also an important factor for ensuring success.

NCRA recently made available on its YouTube channel a series of nine online testing instructional videos created by Realtime Coach that cover the entire process from a basic orientation to scheduling the actual test. The short videos were designed to provide candidates with an easy-to-use resource for prepping.

“Online testing instructional videos were created, so candidates can quickly and easily refresh their recollection of a step or two of the testing process, or replay a step multiple times if needed,” said Everhart. ”With testing instructions now available in print and video formats, candidates can select the format that best suits their needs.”

Additional security measures required by the online system include candidates signing a mandatory confidentiality form that indicates that the subject and words of the test will not be disclosed to other candidates and proctors that are connected to candidates in real time, with live audio and video connections that include a view and live feed of the candidate’s monitor through screen-sharing technology. Candidates are also required to use an external webcam to show that their workspace is secure by giving a 360-degree pan of the entire room and desk or workspace.

Under the online system, NCRA allows candidates to take up to three skills test attempts in each quarter. For information visit NCRA’s online skills testing page.

Seattle court reporting firm celebrates online reputation

jcr-publications_high-resNaegeli Deposition and Trial, a court reporting firm headquartered in Portland, Ore., announced in a Nov. 15 press release that the company has received a number of high reviews on Google Plus for its Seattle location.

Read more.

Reddit thread sheds light on learning steno

JCR publications share buttonA blog post by NCRA member Todd Olivas entitled “How does a court reporter type so fast?” prompted a TIL (things I learned) thread on Reddit about court reporting in May 2016. A court reporting student with the username “lifeuh_findsaway” also joined the conversation to share an insider’s look into the world of court reporting.

Read more.