By Chris DeGrazio
Amanda Sati Doherty is the latest addition to the New Professional Profile series, an ongoing record dedicated to highlighting the most recent additions to the court reporting and captioning career fields.
JCR | How did you get interested in court reporting?
ASD | My mom, Jennifer Sati, RMR, CRR, CRC, CRI, is also a court reporter. I started learning theory when I was about 19, but I didn’t decide to seriously pursue court reporting until I was 30. After college I taught high school biology for eight years. When I decided to quit teaching, my mom asked if I wanted to try court reporting again. I responded with an emphatic “Yes!” It just felt right. I wish I had started years ago. I finally feel like I belong somewhere.
JCR | Who or what inspires you?
ASD | My mom inspires me more than anyone in the world. She is the kind of person I admire and look up to in every area of life, not just in the court reporting world.
Myrina Kleinschmidt has been another huge source of inspiration for me. She is extremely kind, patient, and generous with me and has helped me transition into the freelancing world in so many ways that I’m sure I don’t even fully understand yet. There is so much that goes into helping someone start a court reporting career, and I feel incredibly blessed to have these amazing women helping me out.
JCR | What do you enjoy most about court reporting?
ASD | I absolutely love writing. I love the days when I can sit at my writer and practice. I also love the fact that every job is different. I love learning new things and not having a strict schedule, which is something I really disliked about being a high school teacher.
JCR | Where do you see yourself and your career in five years?
ASD | I see myself crushing it as a freelancer, taking jobs every day, and providing realtime on all of them.
JCR | How did you feel both going into your first assignment as a reporter and coming out of it?
ASD | My first assignment was a divorce case on Zoom. I remember sitting in my office an hour before it started in a complete daze. I was terrified of having to do readbacks. I couldn’t believe someone was actually letting me do this. When it was over, I jumped up and down and ran all around my house because I was so excited. I did the same thing after I got paid the first time.
JCR | What is your next goal?
ASD | My next goal is to get my RPR.
JCR | Where’s your favorite place to proofread jobs and why?
ASD | In my office with my mom hooked up to RealTeam so I can ask her questions!
JCR | What is the ultimate goal in your career?
ASD | I want to get my RMR and to pay all the support I’ve been given forward to others as they start their careers.
JCR | If you could sum up your first year in one word, what would it be and why?
ASD | I’m still in the midst of my first year, and so far it has been everything I’ve ever dreamed of in a career and more. It’s challenging and exciting, and it pushes me out of my comfort zone. So I suppose my one word would be “exciting.”
JCR | What do you know now that you wish you’d known when you first started out?
ASD | This is the kind of field you have to jump into with a big leap of faith. You’re never going to know everything about a job, no matter how much you prepare (but you should certainly try). I think it’s important to be flexible and humble and willing to learn every single day.
JCR | Do you have any advice for reporting students?
ASD | Keep a journal of words you create briefs for and words that need extra practice. Record yourself reading each list out loud on a voice memo on your phone and listen and write those lists every single day, multiple times a day. Read your steno notes back. I don’t know why, but it does help a lot. Build your own dictionary, because then you’ll know it inside and out. Finally, focus on writing short and clean.
JCR | What was life like as a student?
ASD | For me, life as a student was nuts. I met my husband, got married, bought a house, and had a baby! Throughout all of that, though, I practiced. And practiced. And practiced some more. I was a competitive gymnast for many years, and I think I fell back into that training mentality. I still graduated in two and a half years.
JCR | What did you do to remain positive and motivated?
ASD | I didn’t really mind when I didn’t pass a test. I remember wanting to be able to write at certain speeds, and if I didn’t pass my tests, I just knew that meant I had more work to do. I knew I would make it if I put in the work.
JCR | What is your biggest challenge as a new reporter?
ASD | I can never remember to ask for spellings, so then I spend a lot of time doing internet research.
JCR | What are some of your favorite time-saving practices, techniques, or gadgets?
ASD | Finding help from scopists, using RealTeam, figuring out briefing systems that apply to more than one word, and listening to what veteran reporters have to say.
Chris DeGrazio is a freelance reporter in Fort Pierce, Fla. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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