New reporters share tips and tricks with students

Clay Frazier, RMR, CRR, and Kensie Benoit-Monk presented a session on “What I Didn’t Learn in Court Reporting School” as part of the Student Seminar Program at the 2014 NCRA Convention & Expo. Frazier and Benoit-Monk shared some practical tips and tricks they learned in their first year as new reporters after finishing school, including some “Must Do’s” including:

  • Practice administering and affirming and oath (and be sure you’re able to do so).
  • Ask everyone present at a job for their business cards and confirm who they represent.
  • Get the case caption ahead of time (if the firm or agency doesn’t provide it, Frazier pointed out much of this material is often available online).
  • Make a list of spelling questions – and ask how people spell their names!
  • Always back up a job before leaving the location.
  • Keep track of billing – many reporters use a spreadsheet system to help with this.
  • Store files where they will be accessible even if the reporter is out of town.

Benoit-Monk recommended keeping all job materials in a binder and reminded students that it’s not always clear how long a deposition will last, so pack for an entire day.

Frazier and Benoit-Monk also suggested using a proofreader, especially right out of school, to help catch typos in transcripts. They reminded students to pay their proofreader, and scopist if they use one, to ensure a good working relationship for the future, but also to hold proofreaders to high standards since it is the reporter’s license number on the transcript. Benoit-Monk suggested giving a proofreader or a scopist a preference sheet with the reporter’s expectations. Frazier and Benoit-Monk also suggested getting liability insurance, noting that this is a requirement for many firms and agencies already.