By Connie Psaros
What started out as a simple request for a Zoom public hearing turned out to be a memorable assignment that markedly few reporters around the country would dare take on. Thank goodness Alex Loos, RDR, a freelance reporter in Melrose, Mass., got the call. Not only is he a gifted reporter, he also embraces technology at every turn and does not shy away from a challenge. And he makes it look easy.
Shortly after the hearing was scheduled, a request was made about the possibility of expanding the meeting to include more than the allowed 100 active participants, basically turning the meeting into a webinar platform. Alex did his research and reported back that various options are available, including a license upgrade that would allow 1,000 active participants and 10,000 passive participants. Armed with the information, it was up to the client to make their informed decision on what platform was best for them. Ultimately, it was a no-go; but had that option been chosen, Alex was ready to upgrade his license and make it work.
Multiple issues were ironed out over several days. Due to security issues regarding holding a public hearing, concerns such as hosting duties, granting passive participants the opportunity to speak, muting/unmuting microphones, sharing documents, holding people in virtual waiting rooms, recording options, how to conduct sidebar conversations, etc., needed to be clarified. Once the parties agreed upon the public hearing protocols, everyone was poised to start what could be a contentious hearing.
The three-day hearing went forward. As you can imagine, the logistics of this hearing went well beyond the expected reporting duties of writing and marking the virtual exhibits. Technical assistance by Alex was needed regarding every aspect of the hearing. Meeting management was his responsibility too. They relied on Alex to handle just about everything, and he did not once let them down.
As the hearing progressed, rush delivery was ordered. When the hearing was concluded, a request was made to have access to the video files as soon as possible for review. The files were quite large since they were all-day hearings and could not be securely delivered using conventional software. The files had to be compressed, and a cloud storage solution was found to deliver them to counsel. In the end, the transcripts and video/audio links were all delivered within one week’s time.
Kudos and congratulations to Alex Loos, reporter extraordinaire, who went above, beyond, and then some to get the job done, never faltering, never complaining, never becoming unhinged. Throughout this process he patiently and promptly answered every question no matter the time of day. Everything he did epitomized superior customer service. In the days of COVID-19, it is worth noting that he took on and completed this assignment without ever leaving his home! He received sincere thanks and accolades from all involved. “Thank you for your stellar work in managing the reporting and technology of the proceedings. I’m sure I speak for everyone when I say we have appreciated your skill, professionalism, and good humor.”
We would like to thank the exceptional court reporters out there who understand the importance of making an impeccable record, using technology to do so, and providing personalized customer service no matter the obstacles. Alex, it is with awe and gratitude that we present you as an example of our profession’s very finest.
Connie Psaros, RPR, CMRS, is a freelance reporter in Boston, Mass. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.