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Proofreaders work under the radar

By Ellen I. Goff

April is National Volunteer Month, and throughout this month and beyond, we are highlighting the many volunteers who give so much of their time to help the Association run more effectively. This week we talk to members of the Proofreading Advisory Council, a group of volunteers whose work likely goes unnoticed, and they like it that way.

The Council is comprised of retired and working reporters who are charged with proofreading the JCR Weekly and occasionally other materials. Every Tuesday the Council is sent a draft of the Weekly by the NCRA Communications Team, and then they have a day to proof it and return their edits to the team. Not all members have the time to proofread every week, but there are enough members that the job gets done.

Janine Ferren, RMR, CRR, a freelance reporter from Fishers, Ind., has been on the Council for about six years. “There are quite a few of us on the Council, so if there is a week I’m unable to assist with proofreading, I know that it is still being proofread by several other Council members,” she says. “I want to be part of helping to ensure that NCRA’s materials are sent out without errors in them.”

Carol Yannucci, a retired scopist and proofreader from Cape Cod, Mass., says: “It’s been really exciting to work with this team of talented professionals. When I scoped and proofed on my own, I rarely got to hear or see input from others. This team is really great because everyone has different strengths and viewpoints, and as a team we are awesome.”

Working with a group of like-minded members is something Shellene Iverson, RPR, of Portland, Ore., also appreciates. “I truly like being on this Council because, as much as I think I know about grammar and punctuation, I am always learning from others where my weaknesses lie. Now I know what I need to work on in my own endeavors as an extraordinary stenographer,” she says.

“There are simply not enough words, not the right words, to ever truly express the appreciation that I have for our volunteers — that we all owe our volunteers. Their work goes on year after year, and with their efforts, NCRA becomes stronger and remains viable within our industry and for our members.

Debbie Dibble, RDR, CRR, CRC, NCRA President

The camaraderie of the group is something Kathy McHugh, RPR, CRR, a freelancer from Audubon, N.J., values as well. Since the Council works together on a weekly basis, they sometimes share when they are sick or on vacation. “My fellow members are a great group,” says McHugh. “It’s nice to check in each week with reporters from across the country, comparing weather conditions, workloads, and lending emotional support when needed.”

The other members act as a resource professionally as well. “I am constantly learning from the other Council members,” McHugh adds. “They are far more knowledgeable than I about grammar rules. Some of the rules I’m not sure I ever knew.”

Aimée Suhie, a retired freelance reporter from Fairfield, Conn., like most stenographers is drawn to the Council’s reason for existence. Why did she volunteer? “I live for punctuation,” she says. “I am happy to see perfect articles representing the only profession that is all about the accuracy of writing the spoken word.”

For Sue Horak, FAPR, RDR, CRR, a retired official reporter from Columbus, Ohio, volunteering on the Council is a way for her to be connected to the Association. She joined the Council five years ago as a “good starting point for volunteering,” to “learn more about NCRA and the profession,” and because she enjoys “reading about others’ achievements in the profession.”  

Thank you also to Council members Olivia Caucas, a student from Orange, Calif.,; Jo Ann Betler, FAPR, RDR, CRR, CLVS, CRC, CPE, a freelance reporter, CART captioner, and agency owner from Huntington, W. Va.; and Debra A. Levinson, RMR, CRR, CMRS, CRI, a freelance reporter and agency owner from White Plains, N.Y.

The JCR Weekly is not the only thing the Proofreading Advisory Council proofreads

In addition to their tireless work on the JCR Weekly, the Council, at the request of the NCRA Board, has also been asked to take on the years-long task of proofreading the NCRA website. A big thank you for this painstaking work!

Visit for a full list of Committees and Councils, and to find out how you can volunteer.

Ellen I. Goff is NCRA’s Senior Marketing Manager. She can be reached at