2015 Court Reporting & Captioning Week celebrated across the nation

NCRA members, state associations, and court reporting schools across the nation stepped up their game to support the third National Court Reporting & Captioning Week sponsored by NCRA. The week-long event, celebrated Feb. 15-21, was successful in generating more official proclamations by state lawmakers, a greater number of high-value media hits, and involvement by more supporters than ever before, placing the brightest spotlight to date on the court reporting and captioning profession.

This year, participants were armed with a wide array of resources tailored to help support the event including press releases, social media posts, logos, and more, as well as resources made available through NCRA’s Take Note campaign, which launched in September 2014. A key addition to the arsenal of resources was a 30-second video funded by the National Court Reporters Foundation. The video was made available on NCRA’s Court Reporting & Captioning Week resource page and the crTakeNote.com website.

Two versions of the trendy and edgy animated video were made available: a generic version and a second version that allowed users to customize the last frame by inserting their name and location. The video was shared with hundreds of potential new court reporting students throughout the nation during the week and both versions are still available at the sites for downloading.

Kicking off the national event was an official proclamation read by U.S. Rep. Frank Guinta of New Hampshire on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives. Rep. Guinta noted in his remarks that his own parents were court reporters and thanked the many court reporters in his home state, as well as across the nation, for the vital role they play daily in recording history. Citing the scribes who were involved in the continental Congress and the drafting of the nation’s Declaration of Independence, capturing the record has been a pillar of America’s Democracy, he said.

This year’s event also generated the most official proclamations ever at both the state and local levels. Proclamations recognizing the 2015 National Court Reporting & Captioning week were declared in 15 states including: Alabama, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. Proclamations at the local level included those in Los Angeles County, Calif., and in Beaverton, Eugene, and Portland, Ore.

“Court Reporting & Captioning Week just keeps expanding and building on itself,” said NCRA President Sarah E. Nageotte, RDR, CRR, CBC, an official court reporter from Jefferson, Ohio.

“It’s fabulous to see all the social media posts and to see the reports and emails of states, cities, and even individual courts all over the country recognizing the week.  It was a week that we touted the hard work and determination that goes into the profession and we took credit for our personal efforts that we give 100 percent each and every day.  I’m proud that what was started as a simple, passing idea just three years ago has grown into success on every level to showcase the court reporting and captioning profession.”

Activities marking this year’s celebration also ranged from open houses to demonstrations, as well as presentations, participation in contests and interviews to benefit the Veterans History Project. The following is a glimpse of how 2015 National Court Reporting & Captioning Week was celebrated across the nation.

NCRA MEMBERS

NCRA members celebrated their profession in a number of ways including by helping their colleagues expand their skills through TRAIN training sessions. In Arizona, Pam Mayer, RMR, CRR, a court reporter with Griffin & Associates in Scottsdale, Ariz., lead a TRAIN session, while in New York, Debra Levinsion, RMR, CRR, CMRS, owner of DALCO Reporting in New York City, also lead two TRAIN sessions in honor of the week.

“We scheduled two TRAIN sessions hoping to reach as many reporters as possible while keeping it to small groups. We filled to capacity very quickly and had many wait-listed, so we actually planned a third for the near future,” Levinson said.

NCRA member Sheri Piontek, RPR, CRR, a court reporter from Green Bay, Wis., celebrated the week by speaking to first-year court reporting students at the Lakeshore Technical College in Cleveland, Wis. Piontek, a 34-year veteran of the profession is an official reporter at a the Brown County Courthouse and Eighth District, shared with the students her experiences working in the profession and distributed several pamphlets that detailed job requirements and opportunities in the field.

“I believe that court reporting and captioning is a profession worthy of national recognition and I was proud to take part in this national initiative,” Piontek said.

Jana B. Colter, RMR, CRR, CPP, CBC, a CART provider from Louisville, Ky., and co-chair of NCRA’s Broadcast and CART Captioning Committee worked with fellow captioners to issue a press release highlighting the many benefits CART and captioning provide to those who are deaf or hard of hearing. The press release quoted both Colter and Colin Cantile, a retired businessman from Calgary, Canada, who is hard of hearing. Cantile, who serves as a member of the CART and Captioning Committee, said the service “reawakened me to daily living opportunities by allowing me full participation in the community through the technology of text communication.”

A group of official court reporters from Polk County, Iowa, employed the Legal Ed Program supported by NCRF to present the important role court reporters play in the legal system. Attendees included members of the court, attorneys, and other individuals who work in the legal arena.

Finally, NCRA President Nageotte helped court reporters in Hawaii kick off the week with a presentation about NCRA’s Take Note campaign at the state association’s annual convention.

STATE COURT REPORTING ASSOCIATIONS

Like so many other state court reporting associations, the Arizona Court Reporters Association celebrated the week by sending mail blasts to its members and social media postings throughout the week about activities happening within the state.  In addition, the association invited members, court reporting students and potential court reporting students to a happy hour at a local venue for an evening of networking.

The Ohio Court Reporters Association supported its members by providing an array of resources to members who exhibited at a variety of business-related events including the Business Professionals of America Ohio annual event.

The Iowa Court Reporters Association created a career day outline on its student recruitment Web page for members to use when presenting to local schools. Resources include a court reporting program brochure from Des Moines Area Community College, a hand-out of a keyboard layout, a sample career day presentation, and a hand-out of court reporting facts.

In New York, members of the New York State Court Reporters Association hosted several meet and greet events including at the Nassau County Bar Association, and in locations in Buffalo, Long Island, Rochester, and Syracuse.

“The meet and greets brought students, freelancers, captioners and CART providers, officials and Supreme and County Court Judges, as well as members of the Bar, together to celebrate and honor our timeless profession during our special week,” said NCRA President-Elect, Steven A. Zinone, RPR, an official court reporter from Pittsford, N.Y.

“As everyone is aware this winter has been brutal, but the sub-zero temperatures could not stop the great turn out from Buffalo, to Rochester, to Syracuse, to Manhattan to Long Island,” he added.  Thanks to the New York State Court Reporters Association for organizing all these fabulous events where all segments of our profession came together, evincing the evolution of our timeless profession.

Both the Texas Court Reporters Association and the Wisconsin Court Reporters Association were represented at the conventions of their state school guidance counselors where members provided information about the court reporting profession and its many benefits and job opportunities.

COURT REPORTING SCHOOLS

Students and faculty at Anoka Technical Institute in Anoka, Minn., joined with the Minnesota Association of Verbatim Reporters and Captioners to host a Court Reporting Spring Fling event to celebrate the week. The event was open to the public and included food, demonstrations, prizes, and a tour of a realtime courtroom.

In Portland, Ore., Jacqueline Butler, court reporting program director, reported that the faculty invited working court reporters and captioners to the school to share their experiences with students and provide encouragement and remind them of the many benefits the profession offers.

To mark the event, the College of Court Reporting in Hobart, Ind., hosted a number of activities throughout a Spirit Week including inviting to the school a realtime broadcast captioner as a guest speaker. Other activities included recording and transcribing the story of Noah Galloway, an Operation Iraq Freedom veteran and the first amputee to ever appear on the cover of Men’s Health Magazine, for the Veterans History Project. Faculty also took to Twitter to for an hour-long session to answer questions about the profession. Other activities included an open house for the families of students and friends to learn more about the profession, a realtime competition, and dress themes through the week that included red, white, and blue, sports, professional dress, and movie and television characters. CCR also engaged its online students throughout the week using social media to help them be involved in the celebrations.

MEDIA

Media exposure of the 2015 National Court Reporting & Captioning Week was captured from outlets around the country. In addition to a number of printed articles showcasing members and the profession, several television stories also aired highlighting the benefits of a career in court reporting and captioning profession and the bright job outlook in the next five years. Many of the stories appearing also noted NCRA’s Take Note campaign and the industry study released in August 2014 by Ducker Worldwide that identified the future need to fill 5,000 jobs in the profession in the next five years.

Among the most notable stories included:

  • A news story about Midwest Litigation Services hosting court reporting students from South Technical High School and their parents at its headquarters in downtown St. Louis, Mo., appeared in the Feb 13 edition of St. Louis Today. After a tour of various departments and a presentation by Nancy Hopp, RDR, CRR, CMRS, the chief operating officer for Midwest Litigation Services and a former court reporter, one of the attendees related that, “As a parent of a student in the court reporting program, it’s refreshing to hear that so many of the working professionals love their career and can earn a good living at the same time.”
  • NCRA Vice President Nativa Wood, RDR, CMRS, a retired official court reporter from Harrisburg, Pa., was featured in an article posted on com on Feb. 15. Wood discusses her career as a court reporter as well as the future of the profession.
  • WAVY TV in Portsmouth, Va., aired a piece on Feb. 17 that showcased the court reporting and captioning profession, noted that Feb. 15-21 was National Court Reporting & Captioning Week, and referred to NCRA’s Take Note website, crTakeNote.com. Additional NCRA members who were interviewed in the piece were Tony Sprately, Lois Boyle, RMR, and Carol Naughton, RPR.
  • A two-part story that aired on Feb. 17, on WJXT’s First Coast Living show in Florida, included interviews with Melissa Meisterhans, co-director of education for Stenotype Institute, Holly Kapacinskas, RPR, CRR, president of the Florida Court Reporters Association, and several students. Both segments included information about how to enter the profession, the Ducker Worldwide study job outlook, salary information, and the various areas court reporters and captioners can work in.
  • Another two-part segment aired on Feb. 20 on the CBS local program Good Day Sacramento in California. News reporter Cody Stark showcased the profession by touring the Argonaut Court Reporting Program at the Jones Skills & Business Center in Sacramento. In addition, Karly Greenshields, chair of the Career Day and School Outreach Committee for the California Court Reporters Association, was also on hand at the school and was interviewed about the profession, why it’s not just in the courtroom, and the future job outlook. In the second segment, Stark tries his own hand on the steno machine to record a segment from the movie, A Few Good Men.
  • Official court reporters Melanie Morel, RPR, and Cindy Zelinka were featured in an article posted on Feb. 24, by The Dispatch, Columbus, Miss. The article offers a glimpse of what it’s like to serve as official court reporters for the Clay County Circuit Court and offers insight from the women about what made them chose the career.

Finally, among the thousands of tweets and other social media postings throughout the week that stood out, perhaps the one that provided members the most pleasant surprise was from U.S. Rep. Ron Kind on his Facebook page on Feb. 18 that recognized National Court Reporting & Captioning Week and noted that he is excited that the Wisconsin Court Reporters Association had  partnered with the Library of Congress to record the oral histories of American war veterans as part of the Veterans History Project.

NCRA has designated Feb. 21 – 27 as the 2016 National Court Reporting & Captioning Week.