Court reporters seek regulation 

The Virginia Lawyers Weekly reported on Oct. 16, that Virginia court reporters plan to seek state regulation in the 2019 General Assembly, according to materials submitted to a panel that recommends changes in the law for civil practice

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Giving back to the community: An interview with Penny Wile

 

Penny Wile and Cora, her therapy dog

Penny Wile, RMR, CRR, owner of Penny Wile Court Reporting in Norfolk, Va., has been a court reporter for more than 30 years. She gives back to the community by volunteering for the Sentara Norfolk General Hospital therapy dog program and her local SPCA. She has also been featured with her therapy dog on her local news station. In January, she hosted her second Woofstock fundraiser event, which collected donations to support the Norfolk SPCA.

What prompted you to become involved with the local SPCA?

My enormous love of animals. There are so many animals in need of loving homes and families in need of affordable veterinary care. The Norfolk SPCA provides education to the community and a trap/release program for spay/neuter, just to name a few of their valuable services.

How long have you been involved in this work?

Woofstock II, held Jan. 13, 2018, was my second Norfolk SPCA fundraiser. We held Woofstock I on April 15, 2016, and raised $2,600 in donations. Woofstock II donations amounted to $4,000. I hire a band for the event, and we have a fun time while collecting donations for the SPCA. It’s a win-win for everyone involved.

Advertisement for Woofstock II

What other community service activities do you support?

I am also involved in the Sentara Norfolk General Hospital therapy dog program. My English golden retriever, Cora, and I visit staff and patients at the hospital. We both enjoy bringing happiness to others. When I put Cora’s red scarf on, it’s time to “go to work,” and she is eager to go to the hospital and make her rounds. We have been part of the therapy dog program going on two years now. I have also recently been appointed as a member of the City of Norfolk Animal Welfare Board of Review.

What are the greatest benefits personally and professionally to being involved in community service activities?

The greatest benefit to my therapy dog program activities is that I am able to bring happiness to patients and family members at the hospital in a variety of settings. Some families receive comfort from Cora while a family member is gravely ill. Staff working in an extremely stressful environment can relax for a moment while visiting with Cora. It makes me happy to see smiles on the faces of staff, patients, and family members when we come through the hospital.

The greatest benefit to my Woofstock events is that through my business I am able to help the animals and the programs of the Norfolk SPCA by creating a fun evening, filled with great music and friends, all the while collecting much-needed funds for this worthy cause.

Penny Wile and Rob Blizard, executive director of the Norfolk SPCA, on 13News Now – WVEC

Why is giving back to the community important?

Giving back to my community is important to me. I am fortunate that through my success in my court reporting endeavors I am able to donate resources to programs that are important to me. Freelance reporting affords me the flexibility to be able to donate my time to participate in these programs.

What advice would you give to someone who is seeking to become involved in community service activities?

Anyone can become involved in their community. Find something that is important to you, that you are passionate about, and seek out programs in your area; start small and work toward more programs as time permits. As for me, animals are my passion, and helping people and animals through the programs I support humbles me.

 

The JCR Weekly will run a series of interviews featuring NCRA members who are giving back to their community in addition to an article in the April issue of the JCR.

NCRA member to host fundraiser

JCR: Journal of Court Reporting, TheJCR.com, JCR WeeklyWAVY TV, Portsmouth, Va., reported on Jan. 10 that NCRA member Penny Commander, RMR, CRR, of Penny Wile Court Reporting is hosting Woofstock II to benefit the local SPCA.

Read more.

NCRA members show off skills for second year at local career fair

Reston Career FairArmed with machines, flyers, and posters, NCRA members Darlene Parker, FAPR, RPR, and Steve Clark, CRC, presented for the second year in a row at a career fair held at South Lakes High School in Reston, Va., on March 23. Parker, a broadcast captioner, is the director of steno captioning and realtime relations for the National Captioning Institute in Chantilly, Va., and Clark, a CART captioner, is the manager of Home Team Captions in Washington, D.C.

Approximately 600 sophomores at the school wandered through the career fair held in the cafeteria, visiting tables that included representatives from an array of professions, including law enforcement, health, education, and veterinary care. Students who stopped by the court reporting and captioning table often were three deep, captivated by Clark’s realtime demonstration.

“I was happy to have Steve Clark join me again this year to provide realtime for the event at South Lakes High School. The kids were fascinated watching his realtime,” said Parker. “There was one kid who tested Steve by mentioning every fruit he could think of. We were waiting for the standard test of supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, but it never came.”

The duo first participated in the school’s career day in 2016. Parker, whose son was a junior at the time there, read about the event and contacted the faculty who were organizing it. Both Parker and Clark said participating in the event again this year was just as rewarding as the last time.

“The Career Day at South Lakes High School was an excellent opportunity to showcase court reporting, broadcast captioning, and CART captioning. The fast-paced event kept students moving from table to table, almost like career speed dating,” said Clark.

“This year we had a steady flow of students who listened to Darlene Parker’s explanation of what a court reporter and captioner does while I wrote what she said. Students were amazed to see their words appearing on tablets within a second of being spoken,” he added.

Students were also excited to learn that Clark is the official stadium captioner for the Washington Redskins football team, the Nationals baseball team, the Capitals hockey team, and teams from several area colleges.

Annemarie Roketenetz, NCRA’s Assistant Director of Communications, also attended the event. Roketenetz would “snag” the kids, especially those wearing sports-related clothing, and ask them if they liked sports.

“Then I would explain how terrific of a profession court reporting and captioning is and how the machine worked. I enumerated that it can be done with just an associate’s degree, the many different types of venues one can work in, the flexibility, and the potential for an excellent income,” Parker explained.

Parker reached out to NCRA again this year for materials. She also consulted the Association’s website for helpful handouts, including fun facts. She said it’s important to point out to students how the machine works and the many different venues court reporters and captioners can work in. She also suggests highlighting the need for people to enter the field, as some professionals are reaching retirement age. She also shares with students what CART captioners do, mentioning that most positions offer a flexible schedule and the ability to work from home. She tells students that it is a great profession for those who like words and technology, and that it’s two to three years of schooling for an excellent salary and a rewarding career.

Parker is currently making plans to highlight the profession next month at the middle school located next to South Lakes High School where she and other volunteers will present for 35 minutes to two separate classes.

“I urge everyone to reach out to your local high schools and school districts. It is fun to participate in these events to promote our great profession to these young people, who are our future,” she said.

“These career day events are incredibly important and rewarding. Every NCRA member should get out into the community and share his or her talents in order to draw more students into this field,” added Clark.

NCRA members who are interested in presenting at career fairs have a variety of resources available from the Association. The Resource Center at DiscoverSteno.com has fliers, posters, a PowerPoint presentation, and a promotional video (both generic and customizable for a specific program, etc.).

Members may also find value in the resources at NCRA.org/Awareness.These materials are focused on Court Reporting & Captioning Week, but members can adapt them for other promotional purposes or to use them to find ideas for highlighting court reporting and captioning.

Members who do participate in career fairs or any other promotional activities are encouraged to contact Roketenetz at aroketenetz@ncra.org for possible inclusion in the JCR or JCR Weekly. Keep in mind that any photos will likely need to hide any identifying features of minors, especially faces.

VCRA marks 50th anniversary with scholarship

Photo by Regent Language Training

To mark its 50th anniversary, the Virginia Court Reporters Association (VCRA) is seeking applicants for a $1,000 scholarship to be awarded during its annual convention being held March 24-26 in Williamsburg, Va. The deadline for applying has been extended to Jan. 31. Applicants can be from any state.

The scholarship will be awarded to a student or students, who are in a current accredited court reporting program, either online or bricks and mortar, and have passed their 160 wpm testing requirement. The scholarship is being funded by the Carolyn M. O’Connor Education Fund, which celebrates the life of Carolyn Morris O’Connor.

“Carolyn loved the court reporting profession, and she was highly respected by clients and colleagues alike. This Fund was set up to honor her memory and the great contributions she made to the field of court reporting,” said VCRA President Carol Naughton, RPR.

Eligible students must also submit an essay and possibly be interviewed via telephone by a member of VCRA’s Education Fund Committee.

For more information, contact VCRA at VCRAexecutivedirector@gmail.com, or download an application here.

Certification discussed at VCRA Education Day

NCRA’s Director of Government Relations, Adam Finkel, joined Philip C. Coulter, Esq., in a panel discussion on what mandatory certification would mean for court reporters practicing in Virginia. The panel was part of the Virginia Court Reporters Association Education Day held March 5 at the University of Richmond in Richmond, Va. The state is currently considering implementing requirements that would call for certification of court reporters working in Virginia.

During the panel discussion, Finkel provided an overview of the court reporting profession, as well as information about certification and licensure requirements in general. Currently, 26 states require mandatory certification or licensure for court reporters. Court reporters practicing in those states are typically required to pass the Registered Professional Reporter (RPR) Exam, which is administered by NCRA, or a state-issued certified verbatim reporter test.

The discussion also addressed such myths about what is and isn’t required should certification in Virginia become a reality, including: certification does not require membership in NCRA or VCRA; court reporters who are not certified if the requirement takes effect will likely have a grace period to comply; and that the Board of Court Reporting that would be established under the change would be administered by the Commonwealth of Virginia, not NCRA or VCRA.

Finkel and Coulter also noted that some states have grandfathered in working reporters under newly implemented certification requirements and that many states offer reciprocity with certified reporters in neighboring states.

“Certification should not be viewed as a burden to working in the state but rather as a mark of higher professionalism for the person who holds it,” said Finkel. “Certification equates to someone having greater experience in their professional field in terms of skill, ethics, and the commitment to provide the highest-quality services possible for their employer.”

Coulter, who joined Finkel in the panel discussion, is an attorney with more than 37 years of experience. He serves as a member of the Boyd-Graves Conference, an invitation-only group of experienced civil trial lawyers and judges. Acting by consensus of its membership, the conference recommends needed changes to the Code of Virginia and the Rules of Court relating to state court civil litigation. The conference is supported administratively and legislatively by the Virginia Bar Association.

2016 Court Reporting & Captioning Week gains traction in media coverage

Court Reporting & Captioning Week has put a number of NCRA members in the media spotlight, sharing information with viewers and readers about the vast number of opportunities available in the field.

Kicking off the week, Christine Phipps, RPR, owner of Phipps Reporting in West Palm Beach, Fla., was featured in a story aired by CBS affiliate channel 12, while NCRA Past President Nancy Varallo, RDR, CRR, owner of The Varallo Group in Worcester, Mass., joined NCRA member Kathy Silva, RPR, CRR, a freelancer from Andover, Mass., in a story that aired on Mass Appeal.

Appearing in print on behalf of NCRA and the court reporting and captioning professions were NCRA members Donna Cascio, RDR, CMRS, an official court reporter from Somerset, Pa., who was interviewed by the Somerset Daily American, and Melanie Oldham, an official court reporter from Athens, Texas, who was interviewed by the Athens Daily Review. Additional coverage is expected to be generated throughout the week.

NCRA President Steve Zinone, RPR, an official court reporter from Pittsfield, N.Y., joined Tonya Kaiser, RPR, CMRS, a freelance reporter from Fort Wayne and president of the Indiana Court Reporters Association; Susan Gee, RMR, CRR, a freelance reporter from Cincinnati and president-elect of the Ohio Court Reporters Association; and Kathy McHugh, RPR, CRR, a freelance reporter from Philadelphia and president of the Pennsylvania Court Reporters Association in a panel discussion at the College of Court Reporting, in Hobart, Ind., on Feb. 15. The discussion, which took place online via the college’s Blackboard Collaborate, was hosted by CCR President Jeff Moody. More than 30 participants joined the discussion to hear what the panelists had to say about the greatest challenges they faced in court reporting school and how they overcame them, as well as how they were motivated to become leaders within their associations, the benefits of membership at the state and local levels, and the importance of certification. The hour-long session was recorded and can be heard here.

On Feb. 17, Zinone will visit Cuyahoga Community College in Cleveland, Ohio, where he will address students and faculty at the court reporting program. He is scheduled to deliver a keynote address at 2:30 p.m. ET which can be accessed via the college’s Smart TV channel online.

Official proclamations recognizing 2016 Court Reporting & Captioning Week from state and local lawmakers continue to be reported. To date, the following states have reported official proclamations: California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Texas, Virginia, and Washington. Local proclamations have also been issued in Miami-Date County, Fla.; Johnson County, Kan.; Louisville, Ky.; Eugene, Ore.; and San Antonio, Texas.

Below are some of the latest activities happening during the week around the nation:

  • The New York State Court Reporters Association will host a variety of events during the week including meet and greets throughout the state.
  • Members of the Texas Court Reporters Association are will host a number of Veterans History Project events throughout the state.
  • The Hawaii Court Reporters and Captioners Association has encouraged members to display the official 2016 Court Reporting & Captioning Week logo on their social media sites, hang posters at courthouses showcasing the event, and reach out to state and local lawmakers to remind them of the week.
  • Members of the Oregon Court Reporters Association will participate in a number of meetings with lawmakers and advocacy groups to bring awareness to the court reporting and captioning professions.

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.

 

2016 Court Reporting & Captioning Week kicks off Feb. 14

CRCW_Week-Map_final

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.

Hampton, Va., theaters expands accessibility in performances

NCRA member Lois Boyle, RMR, Newport News, Va., was quoted in an article posted by the Daily Press on Nov. 8 about area theaters providing open access to patrons who are deaf or blind. Boyle is president and executive director of Access Virginia, the group providing theaters with audio description and open caption services.

Read more (may require a subscription).

VCRA seeks applicants for Carolyn M. O’Connor Education Fund

The Virginia Court Reporters Association is currently accepting applications from students enrolled in a court reporting program for its Carolyn M. O’Connor Education Fund. The deadline to submit applications is Jan. 15, 2015. Recipients will be notified by Feb. 1. Students interested in applying for an award must be actively engaged in the study of court reporting, either enrolled in a traditional school setting or attending an online program, and have completed at least one semester of school.

Read more.