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NCRA sends message to news outlets in response to MSNBC

The following letter was sent to national news outlets in response to recent comments made on MSNBC.

Dear MSNBC Executives and other national news outlets:

Recently, in an MSNBC broadcast covering the Senate impeachment trial, the question was asked: Why in the electronic age, the Senate relies on a roving stenographer to record history in the making in the chamber? The inference was clear that the speakers felt this to be an archaic means of keeping the record, when, in fact, it is the fastest and most accurate way to make a record.

Rather than technology overtaking our stenographic profession, we stenographers have embraced it and enhanced our service to the public and the consumer experience. Our computer integration enables legislators and court systems to review quick and accurate transcripts of their speeches and proceedings. In the Senate and House, the realtime transcripts created by those stenographers, who have been working nearly nonstop since October, constitute the daily Congressional Record printed by the Government Publishing Office. In judicial reporting, we are capable of providing instant access of transcripts to judges and attorneys in court and depositions, with the stenographer’s realtime feed being delivered wirelessly to iPads in a rough draft format.  

We give access to millions of consumers who are deaf or hard of hearing by providing captioning so that those consumers can understand the spoken words in the media.  Ironically enough, in this instance, the critical verbiage about stenographers was being made visible via closed captions by a realtime stenographer captioning the speech live.

Stenographers have a centuries-old honored legacy of keeping the record of the spoken word so that the public can rely on and be protected by the transcripts of important proceedings. The stenographer sews the fabric of freedom via the record. And now, by keeping pace with and incorporating all available technology, the modern stenographer brings an impartial, reliable, and formidable presence as the keepers of history in these spoken proceedings. 

The National Court Reporters Association, speaking on behalf of stenographers across the nation, requests a time to rebut the casual and inaccurate criticism aired by MSNBC in a time slot comparable to when the inaccuracy occurred. We would also request and welcome an opportunity to engage with other news outlets to address these inaccuracies as well as to expound on the remarkable job the Senate and House reporters do every day in representing our nation, as well as the jobs performed by the thousands of judicial realtime reporters and captioners nationwide and worldwide.

Thank you for your consideration of our request.

Max Curry, B.C.R., RPR, LCR, CRI, CCR

NCRA President 2019-2020