Go for the gold in NCRA’s Olympic student speed contest!

In celebration of Court Reporting & Captioning Week, the NCRA Student/Teacher Committee is sponsoring an Olympic-themed speed test offered to all students at varying test speeds. The tests consist of five minutes of dictation at a speed level that each individual student is either currently working on or has just passed. In order to be eligible to win, students must pass the test with 96 percent accuracy. (After all, it is the Olympics!) One Literary and one Q&A test will be offered, and the faculty at each school will be responsible for dictating and grading the material.*

How to win: All students who pass a test are eligible for prizes; winners will be drawn at random for first (gold), second (silver), and third (bronze) prizes.

  • Gold medal prize: NCRA’s RPR Study Guide ($125 value)
  • Silver medal prize: Choice of a one-year NCRA student membership ($46 value) or one leg of the RPR Skills Test ($72.50 value)
  • Bronze medal prize: $25 Starbucks gift card

All students who participate in the contest, even if they don’t pass a test, will have their names and schools published in the student newsletter and the JCR. NCRA wants to showcase the hard work that students and schools are doing to promote the court reporting and captioning professions.

*Full details and rules for the contest will be sent to your teachers, so please make sure they know you would like to participate. The contest will run from Feb. 10 through Feb. 17.

For more information, please contact Debbie Kriegshauser at deborah0841@att.net or Ellen Goff at egoff@ncra.org.

Schools gear up to celebrate Court Reporting & Captioning Week

By Ellen Goff

February is the month to celebrate! NCRA has declared Feb. 10-17 the sixth annual National Court Reporting & Captioning Week, an event designed to encourage members and students in the court reporting and captioning professions to celebrate by hosting special events within the community and more. Up-to-Speed shares what court reporting programs are doing to mark this year’s event.

NCRA encourages all schools to get involved in Court Reporting & Captioning Week by highlighting the contributions of stenographic court reporters and captioners to society. Court Reporting & Captioning Week is a perfect opportunity for students to share with friends, family, and members of the community what their careers will involve and why they chose this field. Events held this week promote the profession and showcase the career opportunities in the court reporting and captioning fields.

Updated resources are available to assist with planning and promoting activities during the week such as press release templates, posters, brochures, presentations, and more. Resources are available at NCRA.org and include materials tailored to members, schools, and state associations. Be sure to let NCRA know how you plan to celebrate by sharing your stories and photos via email at pr@ncra.org.

Here’s a list of what some of the nation’s court reporting schools are planning to mark the event:

Cuyahoga Community College, Parma, Ohio

Court Reporting & Captioning Week will be widely celebrated at Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C). The students and faculty of the captioning and court reporting program will be hosting a panel of industry professionals for a discussion and Q&A session focused on encouraging students to “Envision Your Career!” Professionals will share their stories and advice about entering the field and building a career in court reporting and captioning.

Also during the week, Tri-C’s court reporting and captioning club will be conducting their annual Write-a-Thon fundraiser. Students will recruit sponsors who will pledge funds for every hour that the students practice their writing during the day. The Write-a-Thon will be held as a large group event in the main galleria on campus, so students will be able to show off their skills.

“We’re excited to hold our Write-a-Thon during Court Reporting & Captioning Week 2018,” says Todd Robie, president of the court reporting and captioning club. “This event is the cornerstone of our club’s efforts throughout the year to raise funding for our student members to attend professional events such as the NCRA Convention & Expo or the Ohio Court Reporters Association Annual Conference.”

Brown College of Court Reporting, Atlanta, Ga.

Brown College of Court Reporting is marking Court Reporting & Captioning Week with a week of games and prizes, guest speakers, and alumni to celebrate the profession and encourage students.

Monday: Grammar jam — Students will pick teams and go head to head in a Jeopardy!-style game show for prizes.

Tuesday: Financial literacy — A financial planner will be on campus to show students how to set themselves up for success.

Wednesday: Alumni event — Networking with fellow grads

Thursday: Guest speaker — Court reporter and mentor Debbie Kriegshauser, FAPR, RMR, CRR, CLVS, will be sharing advice on what it takes to be a successful reporter.

Des Moines Area Community College, Newton, Iowa

Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC) is planning a field trip with current students to the Polk County Courthouse in Des Moines. They hope to visit a number of courtrooms, speak with reporters and judges, and visit with the court administrator about official positions in Iowa.

On Feb. 17, DMACC will host an open house and information session at the Newton campus. The event will include realtime demonstrations, a panel discussion with court reporters, and a tour of campus for prospective students.

Atlantic Technical College, Coconut Creek, Fla.

The Atlantic Technical College (ATC) court reporting program will be celebrating Court Reporting & Captioning Week with the following activities:

  • ATC court reporting students will tour the Broward County Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale.
  • Members of the Broward County Schools Court Reporting Advisory Committee will visit court reporting classes as guest speakers. They will share information with students about court reporting careers and South Florida court reporting agencies.
  • Students from various programs throughout the campus will be invited to tour the court reporting program to learn more about the program and court reporting careers available upon graduation.
  • NCRA’s Court Reporting & Captioning Week will be featured on ATC’s Facebook page.
  • ATC court reporting students will be participating in NCRA student activities.

Key College, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Key College’s court reporting program announces a weeklong celebration of Court Reporting & Captioning Week.

  • Three $1,000 scholarships will be given to new students. Winners will be selected by Florida employers within the court reporting industry.
  • High school students will be offered free, four-week introductory classes.
  • Guest speakers from the industry will be captioned and streamed to online students.
  • Alumni guests will provide real-world experiences and insight into the different opportunities available for graduates.
  • A banquet will be held honoring graduates who achieved the National Honor Society distinction.

All activities, as well as a tribute to Court Reporting & Captioning Week, will be featured on the school website and advertising.

The College of Court Reporting in Valparaiso, Ind.

The College of Court Reporting (CCR) is planning to initiate and participate in several informative activities throughout Court Reporting & Captioning Week. First, CCR will focus on spreading the word about the court reporting profession to the community through fun competitions and seminars that will be held in local high school classrooms. CCR will also be posting to various social media platforms (including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram) all week in order to share information about the field of court reporting and captioning. Finally, CCR will again participate in the Veteran’s History Project, which is a favorite of administrators and students alike.

“We believe that court reporting and captioning is worthy of national recognition and we are proud to take part in this national initiative,” said Nicky Rodriquez, admissions director at CCR.

Midstate College in Peoria, Ill.

Midstate College will be promoting a weeklong historical display about machine shorthand, starting with the Miles Bartholomew machine and ending with information about current machines and career options. Several machines and artifacts from a private collection will be part of the exhibit in the school’s library. In addition, a virtual display will be available at midstate.edu.

Plaza College, Forest Hills, N.Y.

During Court Reporting & Captioning Week, Plaza College will be celebrating with some exciting on-campus events:

Admissions open house: Students interested in a career in court reporting will have the opportunity to tour campus, see a realtime demonstration on a steno machine, and speak to court reporters currently working in the field. Program Director Oscar Garzon will also provide an overview of the program and career opportunities for graduates.

Mock trial: The paralegal and court reporting students will be conducting a mock trial during College Hour for all interested students to experience.

Visits from agencies: Throughout the week, various agencies from the area will be visiting classrooms to speak to graduating students about career opportunities and provide some encouraging words to students in their early semesters.


Students, instructors, staff, and alumni of court reporting programs are encouraged to share their Court Reporting & Captioning Week activities on social media using the hashtag #DiscoverSteno. And please share any scheduled events and programs with NCRA by sending them to pr@ncra.org.

Ellen Goff is NCRA’s Professional Development Manager. She can be reached at egoff@ncra.org.

Plan ahead for learning opportunities through NCRA


Photo by Dafne Cholet

Mark your calendars and plan your learning path with NCRA through 2018. NCRA offers opportunities to earn CEUs in a variety of ways, from certification to webinars to live events. NCRA is your one-stop shop for your educational needs, whether you are working toward your next certification, your cycle ending date, or another goal.

Keep in mind that NCRA members can earn CEUs by passing the skills or written portion of certain tests, such as the RMR, RDR, CRR, or CLVS Exams.

Here is a short selection of dates and events (dates are subject to change):

Court Reporting & Captioning Week (Feb. 10-17), Memorial Day (May 30), and Veterans Day (Nov. 11) are also all good opportunities to schedule Veterans History Project Days to earn PDCs, although members and students are invited to participate throughout the year. And don’t forget that online skills testing is available year round.

In addition, NCRA is planning webinars throughout the year, which will be announced in the JCR Weekly and on the NCRA Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn pages as they are available.

Watch for more information in the JCR, in the JCR Weekly, and on TheJCR.com for registration, deadlines, and other ideas to earn continuing education.

2018 Court Reporting & Captioning Week resource center open

Celebrating the court reporting and captioning professions: 2018 Court Reporting & Captioning Week, Feb. 10-17

It’s never too early to start planning how to celebrate the 2018 Court Reporting & Captioning Week, set for Feb. 10-17. NCRA has recently updated the event’s resource center on NCRA.org/Awareness and will continue to add new items designed to help members spotlight the profession.

Resources available include:

  • press release templates that state associations, schools, and individuals can use to help promote the week and the profession
  • media advisories to announce specific events
  • talking points
  • social media messages
  • a guide to making the record
  • information on NCRF’s Oral Histories Project, including the Library of Congress Veterans History Project
  • downloadable artwork, including the 2018 Court Reporting & Captioning Week and DiscoverSteno logos
  • brochures about careers in court reporting and captioning
  • and more

In addition, the 2018 resource center will include an updated, customizable PowerPoint presentation. The presentation is geared toward potential court reporting students and the public in general to help increase awareness about the ample opportunities available in the profession.

There are also quick links to NCRA’s DiscoverSteno site, which houses additional recruiting resources, and to information and submission forms for the fourth annual National Committee of State Associations (NCSA) challenge. The challenge is designed 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. The challenge will culminate during the 2018 Court Reporting & Captioning Week, and all entries will be eligible for prizes ranging from free webinars to event registrations.

“Since 2013, Court Reporting & Captioning Week has successfully encouraged and inspired NCRA members to come together and celebrate our profession. If you have participated in the past, make plans now to outdo yourself. If you have not participated in the past, you won’t want to miss the opportunity this year,” said NCRA President Christine J. Willette, RDR, CRR, CRC, a freelance court reporter and firm owner from Wausau, Wis. “Get creative and get involved! NCRA has developed numerous resources aimed to help anyone who wants to be involved. Let’s join together and show our pride. Let everyone know how great our profession is in an even bigger way in 2018.”

Members, states, and schools are encouraged to check the 2018 Court Reporting & Captioning Week resource center periodically, as additional updated and new items will be posted as they become available.

The ways to celebrate 2018 Court Reporting & Captioning Week are unlimited. To learn more about how you can celebrate the week or to find the latest in resources, and see how others celebrated in 2017, visit the Resource Center on NCRA.org or contact the NCRA communications team at pr@ncra.org. And don’t forget to share with NCRA what you plan to do to celebrate.

Take the NCSA Challenge to promote the profession and earn prizes

NCRA’s National Committee of State Associations (NCSA) has kicked off its fourth annual challenge among members and state associations to promote the court reporting and captioning professions to the public.

The aim of the 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. The challenge will culminate during NCRA’s 2018 Court Reporting & Captioning Week, Feb. 10-17. NCSA will review and tally all submissions by members and state associations, and all entries will be eligible for prizes ranging from free webinars to event registrations.

“The NCSA Challenge is open and waiting on you,” said 2018 NCSA Chair Huey L. Bang, RMR, CRR, an official court reporter from Pass Christian, Miss. “How can you take part and compete? By sharing what we do and getting the word out about our wonderful profession. Grab your machine, your laptop, and a fellow reporter, and compete to make a difference in the future of court reporting,” he added.

Bang suggests participants consider showcasing the profession by giving high school and career day demonstrations, participating in Veterans History Project events, hosting special events within the community, and more.

“My motivating factor has been the threat of court reporting school closings. So many court reporting schools have been closing as of late,” said Erminia Uviedo, RDR, CRR, CRC, a freelance court reporter from San Antonio, Texas, and winner of the last two NCSA Challenges. To earn the top honors, Uviedo organized a team of volunteers to participate in dozens of high school career fairs throughout the state.

Today, she continues her quest and reports that through these and other efforts (including media outreach), enrollment in area court reporting schools has started to rise.

“San Antonio College had that threat a few years ago. We had 37 students enrolled at the time, and I made it my personal goal to see if we could attain 100 student enrollments. With 67 currently enrolled, we are well on our way,” she added.

NCRA members and state associations can learn more about the NCSA Challenge by visiting NCRA.org/government.

“The profession needs your help to grow the number of people entering court reporting and captioning. Participating is easy to do and the difference you make in our profession will benefit us all,” Bang said. “And who knows — you might even win!”

NCRA Student Committee contest winners featured

JCR logoeNews Park Forest posted an article on April 21 announcing the winners of a contest sponsored by NCRA’s Student Committee in honor of the 2017 Court Reporting & Captioning Week.

Read more.

Wisconsin court reporters receive proclamation

The River News reported on March 4 that NCRA member Lynn Penfield, RPR, CRR, was presented with a proclamation signed by Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker during Court Reporting & Captioning Week. Penfield is an official court reporter at the Oneida County Courthouse.

Read more.

2017 Court Reporting & Captioning Week participation exceeds previous year

080_resized2017 Court Reporting & Captioning Week participation by states and court reporting schools exceeded the involvement reported during the 2016 event.

In addition to the national proclamation issued by U.S. Rep. Ron Kind of Wisconsin, a total of 17 states reported official proclamations compared to 11 the previous year. In addition, six court reporting programs reported holding one or more activities throughout the official week compared to five during the 2016 celebration.

“It was heartening to hear and read about all the ways our great profession was celebrated across the country,” said NCRA President Tiva Wood, RDR, CMRS, a freelance court reporter from Mechanicsburg, Pa. “This week of recognition expands each year, and I want to thank everyone who participated in this most recent celebration. I also would encourage everyone to continue to celebrate this wonderful career choice throughout the year by letting everyone know how rewarding it is,” she added.

Wood kicked off Court Reporting & Captioning Week as a guest on Stenographers World Radio where host Al Betz interviewed her about the future of the profession and the importance of the weeklong event sponsored by NCRA to raise awareness about the court reporting and captioning professions.

She also participated in a social media effort held during the 2017 NCRA Firm Owners Executive Conference, Feb. 12-14, in Tucson, Ariz. Attendees at the event were encouraged to have their photo snapped inside a specially designed frame and post it to Facebook and other social media outlets.

Wood closed out the weeklong event by participating in the first National Court Reporters Foundation Hard-of-Hearing Heroes Veterans History Project. The event used captioners to aid in interviews with several veterans who are deaf and hard of hearing, including two who served in World War II. The event was held at the Hearing Loss Association of America’s headquarters in Bethesda, Md., and drew Washington, D.C.-area media coverage.

In Ohio, students and faculty at Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C), Cuyahoga, Ohio, hosted an information table in the main areas of the campus that featured a prize wheel students from all majors could spin. Prizes ranged from a pen to a pad folio and the opportunity to hear more about a rewarding career in court reporting or captioning.

Other activities sponsored by Tri-C included asking court reporting program students to provide the names of people they thought would be a good fit for the profession in exchange for being entered into a drawing. A Coffee with Court Reporters event was also held for current students featuring coffee and NCRA-decorated cookies provided by the program’s Court Reporting and Captioning Club. Among the guest speakers were NCRA member Michelle Harper, RPR, a freelance reporter from Brunswick, Ohio; a captioner; an attorney; Tri-C’s western campus president; an associate dean; and NCRA Vice President Sue Terry, RPR, CRR, a freelance reporter from Springfield, Ohio.

Brown College of Court Reporting in Atlanta, Ga., also celebrated the week by hosting a series of speakers throughout the week. Among those were Caryn Broome, a CART captioner; Maxyne Bursky, RPR, CRR, a freelance reporter; and Heidi Thomas, RDR, CRR, CRC, a CART captioner. The speakers addressed such issues as what to expect from an externship and what it takes to become a successful CART captioner.

NCRA member Candice Sanders, RPR, also led two interactive workshops that focused on transitioning from a graduate to a working reporter.

Read the complete list of events that occurred at the national, state, and local level during 2017 Court Reporting & Captioning Week here.

And the winners are…

Angela Patla photo

First-place winner Angela Patla

In honor of 2017 Court Reporting & Captioning Week, NCRA’s Student Committee challenged court reporting students to transcribe as many tests as possible during the week to qualify for a prize. First place was awarded to Angela Patla, a student at South Suburban College, Oak Forest, Ill. Robyn Broyles a student at GateWay Community College, Phoenix, Ariz., earned second place, and Evie Morris, a student at the Court Reporting Institute of St. Louis, Mo., earned third place.

Under the contest’s rules, participants did not have to pass the tests, simply transcribe them. The first place winner Patla will be awarded a copy of NCRA’s RPR Study Guide, Broyles will have one leg of the RPR Skills Test covered, and Morris will receive a $25 Starbucks gift card.

Students who participated in the challenge were also required to submit a test verification form signed by both the student and a teacher.

“When I heard of the contest, I was debating on whether or not I should go for it. Winning the RPR Study Guide book was definitely something that pushed me in doing the contest,” said Patla, who won top honors by transcribing 31 tests during the competition.

“Although court reporting and transcribing came fairly easy to me since I started the program, I think participating in this contest helped a lot with my transcribing skills. It gave me a chance to feel what it was like to have a deadline on something like I would if I was on a job out reporting.”

Patla, who is almost through with 190 Testimony, is done with Jury Charge and is working on her 180 Literary. She plans to either freelance or work as an official court reporter when she graduates. She attributes her choice of court reporting as a career to her mother.

“My mom actually helped me choose court reporting my junior year of high school. I had no idea what I wanted to do. She mentioned to me a few different ladies in the area that we know who are court reporters. Right away I was interested, and I went to South Suburban’s open house. I couldn’t wait to graduate school and get started with the program,” said Patla.

Second place winner Broyles said she decided to take the challenge because she actually enjoys typing up transcripts and because the prizes were so enticing.

“I learned to recognize a few strokes that I was missing on a regular basis,” she said about participating by taking 16 tests. “I just passed my last 180 Literary test. I’m working hard to finish up Jury charge and Q&A. My resolution for 2017 is to pass all legs of the RPR and get to work,” she added.

Broyles said she is excited about all of the opportunities that will be available to her upon graduation. She currently works as a litigation secretary and bankruptcy paralegal.

“I almost went to court reporting school in 1993, but I went to paralegal school instead because I thought I would eventually go to law school,” said Broyles. “I decided to go back to school for court reporting when I met a very talented and successful closed captioner who has the kind of flexibility and earning capacity I’m looking for.”

Guardian of records

jcr-publications_high-resIn recognition of Court Reporting & Captioning Week, the Lexington Clipper-Herald ran an article on Feb. 18 showcasing the career of a local official court reporter from Lexington, Ky.

Read more.