REPORTING: Helping your clients understand realtime

Tari KramerBy Tari Kramer

When I do a realtime hookup job, I often wonder if the clients understand what all is involved in providing them a visually appealing view of the proceedings. I have found great success when I set a laminated document on the table and the attorneys peruse it. An example of the document is available here, which reporters can use as a template. The attorneys ask questions because they want to see what the steno machine looks like and how we output to their computer. In turn, I think they gain more respect and appreciation for what we do.

I use flags to alert me to areas in the transcript I need to look at. I also have a legend of these flags taped to the laptops I provide so clients understand what the flag means when it pops up on the feed. Each reporter’s flags may be different, or a reporter may not use them at all. A flagged area is simply something you stroke at a time when the reporter needs clarification on something. During or after the proceeding, the flags make it easy to find these things instead of trying to remember the area or finding time to jot them down quickly. Feel free to incorporate the steno definitions listed below in your writing.

An area in the transcript to fix, change, adjust: [fix] = TP*BGS
An area in the transcript to check audio: [au] = A*U
An area in the transcript to verify spelling: [sp] = S*P

This aid may not be useful for some reporters who do not use an audio backup (see the Audibility portion). However, reporters can feel free to tweak the document to fit their needs. Additionally, much of the information provided in this tool is from my own experience, and that affects how I describe a realtime experience to an end user. It may not necessarily reflect that of everyone’s experience. The goal here is twofold: 1) to provide clients with some explanation of how their realtime feed is being produced and 2) to offer suggestions to clients that will help make their realtime experience as successful as possible.

Happy realtiming!

Tari Kramer, RMR, CRR, CPE, is a freelance reporter in Duncan, S.C. She can be reached at tarireporter@gmail.comDownload a pdf of the “Keys to a successful experience.” An editable Word document is also available.