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Cents that make sense: Vote “Yes” — just 13.7¢ a day!

By Jason Meadors

Per NCRA’s Constitution and Bylaws, dues adjustments must be approved by the voting membership.

Our NCRA Board is recommending a $50 adjustment in dues for Participating and Registered Members, along with the appropriate adjustments to other membership categories according to the NCRA Constitution & Bylaws. If approved, this would be the first adjustment since 2020, four years ago. As this old cowboy of a reporter finds himself riding his steed (a/k/a steno machine) to the edge of the Board town on the way to participation sunset, let me share why this is not just optional but vital to the successful continued operation of our Association as we strive to preserve, protect, and promote our profession.

The burden on students and the necessity to encourage them was a hotbed of discussion last year, and your colleagues on the Board have listened. Therefore, this dues adjustment exempts students. NCRA has a graduated dues policy for Student Members who have moved on to successfully become full-fledged practicing members. The dues for the first two years of Participating Membership is a gradual increase to reach the Participating Member dues rate.

Now to the core of it. Why should Voting Members approve a dues adjustment?

The membership approved dues being adjusted to their current level in 2019 and became effective in 2020. That’s four years ago. Over the course of that time, through those years’ volatility that we all have seen, inflation has overall risen more than 20 percent. $300 in 2019 now needs to be $362 for the same purchasing power.

This is what your colleagues on the Board struggle with. We have an ethical, moral, and legal duty to keep our Association financially viable while providing the highest level of service possible to meet the Association’s mission goals. While realizing clearly that even a $50 adjustment does not cover inflationary levels, your Board colleagues nevertheless must propose an increase that is palatable for approval.

Is a $50 bump palatable? Let’s think of it in a couple of different ways.

1. Depending on the area, it is eight to ten pages of a non-rush O+2 transcript. (Your area, of course, may vary. Apply the correct number for your area. It is not that much.)

2. Just in the last year, NCRA has been instrumental in successfully countering challenges to our colleagues’ livelihood, for example Tennessee and Indiana. Tactical support is offered in other states as well, as part of our task. It is my observation in Colorado that had it not been for our state and national associations’ advocacy, there would not be an official reporting position in the state today. I know other states have experienced this as well.

If our car breaks down and, darn, we need engine work of $1,000 to get it to run, we cough it up. We need our car. Well, how much is it worth to us to keep our and our colleagues’ jobs? Given my observations and participation over the last 40 plus years, this is not an overly dramatic statement.

My dear colleagues, this proposed dues change is vital to the successful continued operation of NCRA. The membership places its own people — including, proudly, me — in unpaid leadership positions on the Board to collect, analyze, and oversee the data to make sound business decisions on behalf of our profession generally and our Association specifically.

This dues adjustment proposal is as basic needs as it gets. It is not “because we can.” It is not because “oh, it’s time.” It is because the prices of venues, of services, of salaries, of insurance, of travel, of everything have gone up, while NCRA’s income has not, and our Association cannot remain viable without an increase in its own revenue to meet those necessary expenses.

We do have another avenue for increasing revenue. That is by increasing membership. We are all encouraged to do our part to advance knowledge and awareness of our incredible profession, to bring in those who just might be motivated to pursue a career that is meaningful, rewarding, and well-paid, as well as to reverse our 30-year downward population trend. By doing so, we make our profession so much more vibrant, so much more engaging, so much more sustainable.

Our state associations and NCRA are doing their part in that arena as well. Appearances at career days and schools job fairs to promote reporting and captioning have ramped up dramatically. NCRA has a dedicated employee for promotion and administration of the NCRA A to Z® Intro to Steno Machine Shorthand program. She does a fantastic job, and we see more participants all the time. Our Career Launcher program enables new reporters to find sturdy footholds in their successful climb through their new profession.

So our Board and NCRA’s stellar and hardworking staff are truly applying themselves assiduously to the long-term viability of this profession that we hold so dear.

In the meantime, we have bills to pay. They keep going up, and we need to have the money to pay them. The proposed dues adjustment of $50 is essential – vital – entirely necessary – to continue NCRA’s ability to weather the financial demands that we face.

Please vote for the dues adjustment. We really do not have a viable alternative.

Jason Meadors, FAPR, RPR, CRR, CRC, is the Immediate Past President of NCRA and a firm owner based in Fort Collins, Colo. He can be reached via email at