Court reporters, captioners, CART providers, firms, court reporting schools, and vendors nationwide are gearing up to celebrate the second annual Court Reporting & Captioning Week scheduled for Feb. 16 – 22. The week-long event, sponsored by NCRA, is dedicated to recognizing efforts of its court reporter, captioner, and CART provider members by increasing the public’s awareness of this centuries-old profession.
“Court reporters work hard every day to help people access the U.S. legal system, while CART providers and captioners provide access to conferences, calls, education, and television broadcasts to people who are deaf or hard of hearing. It is in their honor that NCRA has declared this nationwide week to champion their ongoing efforts,” said Jim Cudahy, NCRA’s executive director and CEO.
“Last year’s event proved to be very successful in raising awareness of what our members do and the vital services they provide, as well as the many career opportunities available in this profession. We look forward to this year’s event being even more successful,” he added.
Some of the activities that marked last year’s Court Reporting & Captioning Week included the posting to social media of themed messages and fun facts about the reporting profession, media interviews that profiled NCRA members, and visits to high schools by professionals working in the field to introduce potential new students to the profession and provide insight about its many career options.
To mark last year’s celebration, Prince Institute, for example, offered a mix of campus activities and live seminars geared toward prospective and current students, alumni, faculty, and staff, which highlighted the knowledge and skills required to be successful in the profession at each of its locations in Alabama, Colorado, and Illinois. Activities included ice cream socials, a school spirit “Wear Your Swag” Day, and machine decorating contests. In addition, professional court reporters, captioners, CART providers, and legal videographers shared their experiences, stories, and advice with students about working in the profession.
In Chicago, MacCormac College partnered with a local college to provide free captioning of a keynote address given during the school’s Black History Month celebration, and in Merrillville, Ind., firm owner Kathy Cortopassi hosted a free open house and demonstration of realtime court reporting and captioning technology at the Purdue Technology Center of Northwest Indiana.
In honor of this year’s week-long event, NCRA will support a public relations campaign designed to highlight the career options available to those who graduate from a court reporting program. Plans also include an official legislative recognition of National Court Reporting & Captioning Week. As part of the campaign, NCRA will rely on its social media outlets such as Facebook, Twitter, and blogs to reach thousands of people, as well as promote Captioning Matters, a newly launched web-based initiative that offers resources and information to consumers about captioning and CART services that are available.
Other efforts will include heightened marketing about the court reporting and captioning profession and the benefits of joining NCRA. A variety of resources are also available at NCRA.org to help celebrate the week including tips on presenting the benefits of the profession to potential new students, press release templates, social media-appropriate logos and banners, and tips for hosting special activities such as a Veterans History Project Day. Several new YouTube videos will also be available to members on the resource site, created by the National Court Reporters Foundation, that address what CART and broadcast captioning is, the benefits of a court reporting career, how a steno machine works, and more.
“National Court Reporting & Captioning Week lets us celebrate what makes our field unique. Stenographic court reporters have been around for a hundred years, and we’ve embraced technology which has allowed us to expand into captioning for television and for the deaf and hard-of-hearing,” says Nancy Varallo, RDR, CRR, NCRA’s current president. “Our profession is a great example of traditional skills employing the latest in high-tech to provide cutting-edge services in the litigation arena and in captioning. Our profession is a great career choice because skilled court reporters and captioners are in high demand.”
Captioning Matters promotes importance of broadcast captioning and provides resources
NCRA’s Captioning Matters initiative was developed to promote the importance of broadcast captioning and CART captioning to consumer groups. The website, which centers on NCRA’s Best Practices for Broadcast Captioning, allows consumers to learn more about these important services that are offered by the Association’s members and resources to help find a CART captioner or to file a complaint when a television station provides poor captions. A 2010 study by the FCC actually showed that 70 percent of the time, captioning errors are not the fault of the actual captioner but instead are due to a variety of technical issues that can occur during the transmission of the broadcast.
Captioning Matters also includes an outreach component whereby television stations, networks, cable companies, content creators, and others can sign on as supporters of the program. Court Reporting & Captioning Week is the ideal time to share information about the Captioning Matters program with individuals who are consumers of captioning and CART services. For more information, visit www.captioningmatters.org.