By Miriam Meneely
One fateful day a few years back, a lady approached me at church and began telling me all about court reporting. She told me about her experiences as a court reporter and how much she loved the work. I had never heard of court reporting, so I was certainly intrigued. She told me she thought I would make a good court reporter. While it was an interesting idea, at the time I had just completed my bachelor’s degree and was determined to land a job using my degree. The conversation fell to the back of my mind.
Fast forward a year, I hadn’t found my career yet, and was unhappy at the dead-end job I where was working. Remembering my conversation with the court reporter and not knowing anything else about the career, I Googled “court reporting jobs.”
That’s when I discovered steno. I was fascinated by the machine and the concept behind it, and I was thrilled at the idea of being able to make a transcript on the job. I signed up to take an introductory steno class.
From that very first day of class, I was in love. Steno captivated me! It felt like all the talents and skills, passions, and experiences that God had given me throughout my life had all culminated in this thing called steno. I couldn’t wait to learn more. In March 2022 I was introduced to Mark Kislingbury and enrolled at his academy. Since then, I have dedicated most of the waking hours of my life to practicing steno and it has brought me immense joy. The support I’ve received on this journey from my husband, my family, my teachers and classmates, and the amazing company I work for has been nothing short of transformative.
One day as I was scrolling through Facebook (and procrastinating finishing my homework), I came across the posting for Court Reporter Holiday Karaoke. I looked at the time and saw that it was about to start. On a whim, I decided to click on the Zoom link. I didn’t know what “steno karaoke” was, but it was a Friday night, and my husband was stuck at work, so I thought, Why not?
As the first song started to play, the moderator (Margary Rogers, RPR, CRI) shared her computer screen and we were all looking at her software program. Then the lyrics began, and we watched her write the song in steno. I was blown away. I’d never thought to write steno to music before — what a novel idea! As I watched each participant write, one after the other, I was enthralled. It was so exciting! I couldn’t wait to try it myself. In fact, I did just that as soon as the event was over and then I stayed up until two in the morning writing steno karaoke because I was having so much fun. Since then, I have spent countless hours writing to music. I really love it! It’s especially helpful after a hard day of class dictation. The moment I begin writing steno karaoke, I am immediately brought back to my love for steno. My favorite group to write to is the acapella group, Pentatonix!
What I loved most about attending the steno karaoke nights, aside from gaining a thrilling new way of practicing, was getting to see all the different ways people write. I remember one stenographer didn’t use the asterisk key and another didn’t use inflected endings, and I was so surprised to see how varied everyone’s theory was! It was exciting, eye-opening, and inspiring to me.
I realized through this event how individualized stenography is and how creative we can be with it. It taught me that we can make our writing our own. We learn a theory from an instructor but at the end of the day, all our brains work differently, and we have to figure out what works for us and our brains. If my teacher shows me one way to write something but my mind is constantly trying to write it another way then, barring conflicts, I can just change it to the other way. In fact, during that first night of steno karaoke, I distinctly remember someone saying that it doesn’t matter how you get the words out, it just matters that they come out. Steno is so individualized yet collaborative; we all learn from each other, yet we make our own way that works for us.
The December Court Reporter Holiday Karaoke ignited my passion and love for steno even more. These nights certainly left an impression on me. It was especially enjoyable to meet the wonderful community of professionals that I will be joining. A truly warmhearted and friendly group; I felt so welcomed. It is nice to know that I will be joining such an intelligent, hardworking, and FUN group of people that I already love! And I’m definitely looking forward to the next steno karaoke night!
Miriam Meneely is a theory student at Mark Kislingbury’s Academy of Court Reporting
I Love Steno Karaoke #CRCW2023
Join us for “I Love Steno” Karaoke (Stenographers writing to their favorite love songs) in celebration of 2023 Court Reporting & Captioning Week (Feb. 4-11, 2023).
Participants must register in advance for this free karaoke event. After registering, they will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.