Court reporting students attending the Friday Student Seminar at the 2014 NCRA Convention & Expo in San Francisco were able to get valuable information and advice from working reporters and others, attending the Premier Session to hear the keynote presentation and meeting the Board of Directors.
An afternoon panel focused on “Using Steno to Impact a Life” through CART captioning. Colin Cantlie emphasized how much CART/captioning consumers like him appreciate the work that CART captioners do, even if there isn’t a face-to-face interaction between provider and user. “Without them, I don’t get included in life,” Cantlie said. Each member of the panel—which included Heidi Thomas, CRR, RDR, CBC; Tammy Milcowitz, RMR, CRR, CBC, CCP; Sandra German, RDR, CRR, CBC, CCP, CRI, CPE; and Melissa Gum, RDR, CRR, CCP—introduced themselves before giving the students a chance to answer questions. Thomas began the discussion, however, by dispelling the myth she hears most often, which is that there is that CART/broadcast captioners work to save the world and judicial reporters work to make money. All parts of the industry pay roughly the same, Thomas said, adding, “We get paid very well for the work that we do.”
One student asked about each CART providers’ background, and German explained that while starting off out of school as a reporter first is the traditional route into captioning, it’s for good reason. Judicial reporting allows a new young professional time to settle in, gain confidence, and build a dictionary. German added that captioning can be a solitary job, and judicial reporting allows a new young professional more opportunities to meet people on the job. All panelists also stressed the importance of becoming involved in local, state, and national associations.
Gum encouraged students to get as many certifications as they could as soon as they could get them so they could be prepared for whatever road they took throughout their reporting career, adding that one of the things she liked best about being a court reporting is “you can continue to reinvent yourself.”
German reminded students that their work in school, while demanding, is valuable. “You are learning a skill that is irreplaceable,” she said.