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STUDENT REPORTING: Preparing for your first reporting job


By Melissa Lee

You can “live and learn,” as they say, each of life’s lessons on your own; or you can learn from the successes and failures of others before you. Keeping the latter in mind, along with the preparedness training you have received from your educational career firmly imprinted in your mind (equipment maintenance/preparation, supplies, professional dress, etc.), the following would be some lessons learned from a working reporter to you, a student reporter, to add to your future check-off list until you build your own routine for success:

  • Always get a good night’s sleep. This may be obvious, but it’s often understated. Days can be long, but focus and stamina are key.
  • Always eat breakfast. You never know if or when a break will be taken.
  • Be sure you have snacks packed in your bag. When you begin to “drag,” this can make a big difference in your energy level.
  • Always carry cash. Sometimes lunch will be ordered in, and you should never assume that someone else will pay for the reporter‘s meal.
  • Dress professionally but comfortably. While you may think your beautiful heels look great with the outfit you have chosen, they could cause for back pain later in the day … or one day down the road.
  • Leave early so you arrive early. This will allow time if you run into heavy traffic, get lost, or have to find parking. Occasionally it has happened that two reporters were called for the same job. Food for thought: As the first of two reporters to arrive for the same job, I have never been asked to pack up and leave.
  • This could be the most difficult one to achieve when you’re stumbling through those “firsts,” but it’s just as important as anything else. As you know, when you are tense, you can see it in your writing, but others can see it on your face. Being relaxed lends confidence to your abilities and skills.

Above all, remember that while we strive to be perfect, we will never achieve perfection; that it is not the obstacles in our path that will define us but, rather, how we choose to overcome them. Always be courteous, kind, and respectful to others, and at all times remain neutral.

Remember: Always offer to provide the same services to all parties involved; the attorney that declines a copy of your transcript today may become your biggest client tomorrow. You are building a reputation that one day will precede you, so make it one that even your grandmother could be proud of.

We, as your future court reporting community, welcome you! We look forward to seeing what you can bring to our profession and wish you all the successes life can offer. Like those before us, we have continued to build a profession that we know you can be proud of, knowing that our behavior and product represent not only us individually, our employers, and our community as a whole, but also those still to come — you, the future graduates. We hope you continue to “pay it forward” and enjoy all that reporting has to offer for a career to come.

Melissa S. Lee, A.S., CCR, CRI, is a teacher at the College of Court Reporting. She can be reached at