Sign of the times

Mayleen Ahmed, RMR, CRR, CRC

By Mayleen Ahmed

When the photos came in from Mayleen Ahmed, RMR, CRR, CRC, the person profiled for the November/December JCR, the JCR had to ask more questions about her backdrop with her name and credentials in one of the photos she submitted. We thought it was a great idea with all the remote work that is being done; all your information is right there with you in your picture if you want it to be. Here’s what Ahmed told us about it.

As to your question about my background, I had a smaller background initially. When the pandemic hit, my first thought was about recreating a “business as usual” scenario to assuage any concerns of working remotely from both the agencies I cover for and their clients. I immediately purchased cables — Xfinity was not providing home service — and I wired my own home, including hiding the cables under the rugs. I tested many different remote platforms and realtime service providers and ensured I had the tools in place to provide whatever remote services were requested. I spent hours searching the right image and creating a virtual background with my name. Our world had suddenly changed. I wanted to show them what the new world would look like.

While testing all the new devices and my new virtual background, I learned it decreased bandwidth, it was not recommended for legal settings, and it ate all my body parts if I moved. I then went online and downloaded an image of a conference room that fit my image and matched my desk perfectly. Staples.com has two-hour printing services. I had a background printed and available curbside by the end of the afternoon and before my first remote assignment in the last week of March.

My first background was the perfect size, but it soon became too small as I found it limited my range of motion. Once it became apparent that remote work was our new future, I decided to upgrade my background, just as I upgraded to dedicated desktops and all the new gadgets that allow me to do my work easier and provide better services. I spent hours looking for high-quality images of conference rooms that represented my image and the type of work I covered. Once I found an adequate image, I purchased the rights to the image at high resolution. I did an online search and found a customized backdrop provider that promised to have my backdrop to me in less than a week. I ordered a full 12 x 8 backdrop that is held up with a tripod I ordered from Amazon. This new “remote” office allowed me a greater range of motion, more space, and provided a sense of “home” to the attorneys. Since my background is not virtual, I have no issues with being eaten alive digitally, loss of bandwidth, and I have a background even with the platforms that do not support a VC.

My selected “conference room” image has two whiteboards. One board has my name and credentials preprinted thereon. I use the other side of the board to place the logo and information of the agency. I printed signs of the agency with their logo and information that is attached via Velcro to the white “board” in my “conference” room. It’s almost like a customized remote office. This allows me to change my office at a moment’s notice for last-minute coverage. I wanted the attorneys to feel confident that I just did not wake up and turn on my computer.

While small, these details make a great impact. It separates us from the larger crowd. The agencies I work with take great pride in the quality of work they provide — and it starts with me. Videographers, attorneys, paralegals, and clients have mistaken my background for a real office. To me, it is business as usual — remotely.

Mayleen Ahmed, RMR, CRR, CRC, is a freelance court reporter based in Seattle, Wash.

Roberts has prize-winning photo for NCRA contest

Maxine Roberts, RDR

Maxine Roberts, RDR, an official in Akron, Ohio, is the winner of the NCRA Marketing Photo Contest. She told the JCR Weekly a little about the photo and how she feels about winning.

JCR | What gave you the idea to have pictures taken with your steno machine? 

MR | I’ve been a court reporter for more than 30 years and have never captured or seen a photo of myself while on the job. Of course, I’ve seen very brief snippets of myself from coverage of different cases on the local news stations, but I wanted to do something fun with it to create a memory for myself as I near retirement.

JCR | Do you have plans on how you want to use the photos?

MR | I will probably print and frame it for myself.

JCR | Why did you decide to enter this profession?

MR | I knew nothing about the court reporting profession when I decided to embark upon it. At the time I was working at a local hospital on a part-time basis while attending the university. Knowing neither was what I wanted to do, I took to the ads in the local paper and ran across an advertisement for the Academy of Court Reporting and decided to try my hand, or hands should I say. I’ve now been at it 35 years, and here I am today.

JCR | What did you think when you heard you won our contest? 

MR | I was completely surprised. Who knew a last-minute decision would produce a winning photo?

JCR | Anything else you would like to add?  

MR | I want to thank NCRA for choosing my photo and thank my photographer, Lonnie Griffin Photography, for taking care of me at the last minute.

NOTE: Roberts will also be featured as the NCRA member profiled in the October JCR.

Last chance for early access savings for NCRA Connect 2020!

Last chance to catch the early access savings on full and half registration package fees for the NCRA Connect Virtual 2020 conference happening Aug. 7-9. These savings end tonight at midnight.

Full registration to the NCRA Connect Virtual 2020 includes access to all three days of activities, including all non-CEU activities and 16 CEU sessions of the registrant’s choice for a total of 1.6 CEU credits. The early access member cost for full registration is $300. The regular price is $325 for regular registration. A half registration package is also available that includes access to all three days for all non-CEU activities and seven CEU sessions of the registrant’s choice. The member cost for half registration is $180 for early access and $200 for regular registration. The special rates for students are $60 for members and $75 for nonmembers.

“In a field where we are constantly learning, continuing education is essential. Whether I’m presenting the seminar or attending the seminar, my hope is always that every attendant will take away at least one relevant concept when the seminar is finished,” said Allison Hall, RMR, CRR, an official court reporter from Tulsa, Okla., who is presenting a session called “Work Smarter, Not Harder,” at the NCRA Connect event.

“Continuing education isn’t about a requirement; it’s about learning and molding yourself into the professional you want to be, one seminar at a time,” Hall added. Her session will offer attendees ways to up their efficiency, increase their profitability, and reduce the amount of stress they often experience in this high-stress field.

Over the course of three days, attendees will have the opportunity to choose from sessions that address being audited by the Internal Revenue Service, teach best practices for marking exhibits electronically during remote proceedings, and more. In addition, there are sessions geared toward students, such as the one on understanding the profession after they graduate. There are even two yoga sessions being held on Saturday and Sunday to help attendees get their day off to a great start.

Attendees also will have the opportunity to participate in a number of fun networking parties, including specialty ones geared toward officials, freelancers, captioners, firm owners, new professionals, and students and teachers.

“Networking is essential in our profession. Attending an NCRA convention will put you in the right place at the right time to meet the right people that can help you advance in your career,” said Teresa Russ, CRI, a captioner and freelance court reporter from Bellflower, Calif.

“Oftentimes you never know what to expect when you accept a job, whether it’s captioning or covering a depo. The seminars are designed to meet the needs of the challenges court reporters, CART and broadcast captioners, and students will possibly encounter,”  she added.

Other learning session highlights include a presentation by Matthew Moss, RPR, an official court reporter from Denver, Colo., who will present “Motivation, Beating Obstacles, Achieving Goals, and Growth Mindset,” and “What Every Court Reporter Should Know About Punctuation to Transcribe Correctly,” being led by the renowned Dr. Santo “Joe” Aurelio, FAPR, RDR, (Ret.) from Arlington, Mass.

NCRA member Karen Peckham, RMR, CRR, an official court reporter from Westminster, Calif., said she is looking forward to NCRA Connect Virtual 2020 because the last time she was able to attend an NCRA Conference was when it was held in San Francisco, Calif., in 2014. She signed up for the virtual event, she said, because she wants to earn her CEUs.

See the complete schedule of sessions, including networking opportunities, exhibitor showcases, and the virtual vendor hall, at NCRA.org. For more information about registration and nonmember registration pricing, visit the NCRA website. Remember, sessions will be available to view through midnight, Aug. 25, after the event, so you won’t have to worry about missing a minute of this virtual experience.

Register now.

Let the warmth and beauty of 2020 NCRA Business Summit venue inspire you

The NCRA 2020 Business Summit offers more than just networking and learning. Located on more than 400 acres along the banks of the Colorado River, the beautiful Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort & Spa in Austin, Texas, offers a variety of amenities and activities for attendees and their guests to enjoy during their stay.

Among the recreation amenities attendees can enjoy include: A full-service spa, salon, and fitness center, two tennis courts, an 18-hole golf course, hiking, biking and jogging paths, horseback riding, a video arcade, a water park, a meet-and-greet with the facility’s mascots, and more. Plus, if attendees book at the special NCRA room rate before Jan. 8, the activity fee of $35 is waived. And don’t forget, register for the event by Nov. 30 and save an additional $100.

Besides the beauty of the Austin countryside and warm temperatures typical of Texas, attendees at the 2020 NCRA Business Summit can also expect to enjoy a schedule that offers informative, inspiring, and insightful sessions led by leaders in the business industry.

Ron Comers, a former FBI agent and currently an advisor on corporate security risks through Charted Risk, LLC., will present “Protecting Your Firm from Scams & Data Breaches,” and offer tips on how firms can keep their files and other information safe in today’s cyber-savvy world.

Comers earned a bachelor’s degree in criminology from the University of South Florida and a master’s degree in business continuity, security, and risk management from Boston University. Prior to working for the FBI, Comers was a police officer with the Stratford Police Department in Connecticut. He entered duty as a special agent of the FBI in 1995 and was assigned to the Boston, Mass., division, where he worked bank fraud and drug investigations and also served as a member of the division’s SWAT team.

Over the course of his career, Comers has served in a variety of divisions as an FBI agent, overseeing a number of stateside and international investigations.

In 2010, he served as an acting ALAT in Afghanistan in 2010 and as a member of the Major Crimes Task Force charged with developing the investigative capabilities of Afghan law enforcement. For his service, he received the Attorney General’s Award for Excellence in Furthering the Interests of U.S. National Security.

Other speakers include Cathy O’Neal, communications director for Levitt Pavilion Arlington, who will lead a session about successful social media strategies to help build business; a financial planning session led by Chris Moyseos, a financial planner who will discuss succession and financial planning; and NCRA Interim Executive Director Dave Wenhold, CPE, who will present the findings of NCRA’s 2020 Firm Owners Economic Outlook Survey.

Make plans to mosey on over to the 2020 NCRA Business Summit

The Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort & Spa in Austin, Texas, is the setting for the 2020 NCRA Business Summit taking place Feb. 9-11. No matter what size firm you own, operate, or manage, this event is NCRA’s premier gathering for anyone looking to grow their business, expand their markets, and boost their overall success. Register by Nov. 30, 2019 to take advantage of discounted pricing.

“Intense, energizing, inspiring, educational, and fun, that’s what the 2020 NCRA Business Summit promises attendees no matter what size their firm is. Plan to expand your sphere of colleagues while networking in beautiful Austin, as well as hear from a variety of experts in the areas of successful customer base building, honing effective leadership skills, and more,” said NCRA President Max Curry, RPR, CRI, a freelance court reporter and firm owner from Franklin, Tenn. “If building your business in 2020 and beyond is important to you, then attending the 2020 should be a priority.”

Karim R. Ellis, Keynote Speaker

In the lineup this year is keynote speaker Karim R. Ellis, founder of Empowered Education, a company devoted to developing both organizations and individuals. Ellis is a dynamic motivational speaker with 10 years of experience in the arena of speaking, training, and coaching, He takes great pride in cultivating leaders and champions, and his sole desire is to unlock an atmosphere of greatness in the lives of the people he connects with on a daily basis. Ellis will share with attendees his insights into successful leadership creation and development.

Also on the program is Chris Williams, co-founder of Wide Awake Business, established in 2004 to help companies grow. She is also the co-author, along with Martha Hanlon, also co-founder of Wide Awake Business, Customers Are the Answer to Everything, and most recently of Customertopia. Williams and Hanlon have been called one of the foremost authorities on in how to get and keep customers.

Chris Williams, Speaker

Williams will provide a two-part presentation, which will focus on how to create an easier, simpler, more profitable business. The sessions will cover how to:

  • Spend less time second-guessing yourself and seize the right opportunities
  • Ooze authority and confidence when you speak with prospects
  • Feel fulfilled because your “Big Why” engages more people
  • Enjoy your bank account statements
  • Lead more, build team, and personally do less of the “do”
  • Head out on your vacation without taking calls and putting out fires every day

The 2020 NCRA Business Summit program also offers a number of networking opportunities throughout the three-day event to provide attendees with the chance to expand their networks, engage with old friends, and build relationships with new ones. The event kicks off with a fun and exciting team-building activity followed by an opening reception and dinner.

Registration is now open and those who register by Nov. 30, 2019, can take advantage of discounted pricing:

  • Early Access Registration: Oct. 15 – Nov. 30, 2019
    Member: $975; Nonmember: $1,150; Additional Firm Employee: $850; Spouse/Guest: $200
  • Regular Registration: Dec. 1, 2019 – Jan. 31, 2020
    Member: $1,075; Nonmember: $1,250; Additional Firm Employee: $950; Spouse/Guest: $250
  • Last Minute Registration: Feb. 1 – 9, 2020
    Member: $1,125; Nonmember: $1,300; Additional Firm Employee: $1,000; Spouse/Guest: $300

A special hotel room rate for single/double occupancy for attendees is $209 per night plus tax ($237.73) and the resort fee is waived. Hurry, these special hotel rates end on Jan. 8, 2020. Deadline to register to attend is Jan. 31, 2020.

For more information and to register for the 2020 NCRA Business Summit, visit NCRA.org/BusinessSummit.

Put your business in the spotlight with the 2019-2020 NCRA Sourcebook

The May 1 deadline is approaching fast for submitting business directory listings or display advertisements for inclusion in the printed 2019-2020 NCRA Sourcebook. The NCRA Sourcebook is the premier directory of court reporting, captioning, legal videography, and other related service sources, making it the perfect resource to easily connect with the right provider for the job. It’s distributed at legal industry events and at conferences held for people who are deaf or hard of hearing and is mailed to NCRA members and advertisers at the end of the summer.

Members are listed in this printed directory for free and can add their listing in additional cities for only $99 each. To really spotlight your business, however, exclusive to NCRA members is the opportunity to advertise in the business directory section of the Sourcebook.

“When we need to find a reporting firm in a city outside of California where we don’t have a contact to rely on, we go to the NCRA Sourcebook to find a firm,” said NCRA member Antonia Pulone, owner of Pulone Reporting Services in San Jose, Calif. “We advertise there because we assume other firms do likewise, and so they will find our firm for referrals in Northern California.”

There are two options to choose from when considering promoting your company in the business directory. Advertisers who opt for a premium listing in the Sourcebook will be listed alphabetically by state and city. In addition, premium business ads also include the company’s name, address, email address, website, and a description about the services they offer. Premium listings are available in black ink only for a cost of $250. For an additional cost, firms can also be listed under additional cities and states.

NCRA members also have the opportunity to upgrade their business listing to a box listing.The box listing includes everything in a premium listing but with the addition of a logo or photo, the option to list under multiple cities, and the option to use an original designed or JCR court reporting listing advertisement. In addition, box listings are available in full color ink. This option is only $395.

Other options include display advertising ranging from one-sixth of a page to an advertorial and a full-page display advertisement. Additionally, there is advertising space offered on the inside front, inside back, and back cover of the Sourcebook.

For more information about placing your ad and showcasing your business, download the NCRA 2019 Media Kit or email Mary Petto at mpetto@ncra.org.


Don’t Miss Out: Register for the Business Summit Today

Register for NCRA’s 2019 Business Summit being held Feb. 1-3 at the Manchester Grand Hyatt in beautiful San Diego, Calif. The hotel room block closes on Jan. 9, so you can still save money by booking your hotel now.

The schedule is filled with insightful, informative, and cutting-edge sessions designed to provide the freelancers, firm owners, and managers attending with the latest tools and techniques for growing their business.

Community engagement and how it helps your business

A session titled “Civic Best Practice: Corporate Community Engagement” will explore why corporate community engagement is considered one of the best practices in today’s business environment and how to be successful at it. Find out more about the benefits businesses gain by integrating community engagement into their business plans, such as boosting employee commitment and recruitment. Gains also include raising awareness of the services and products the companies provide and securing reputations as leaders in the community. The session will culminate with a special Veterans History Project, as an example of just one of many wonderful ways to showcase the services and skills your business provides while giving back to those in the community who have served their country. The live oral history will capture the story of Rear Admiral Ronne Froman, USN (Ret.). In addition to serving 31 years in the U.S. Navy, Froman was the first woman to serve as commander of the U.S. Navy Region Southwest. In her last Navy job, she also served as the director of ashore readiness for the chief of naval operations, responsible for nearly 90 Navy stations and bases around the world with a $7 billion budget. As a change agent, Froman’s careers have spanned the military, public, private, and nonprofit businesses. Rear Admiral Froman will be interviewed by Jan Ballman, FAPR, RPR, CMRS, of Minneapolis, Minn.

How storytelling can boost your business

Ann marie Houghtailing, entrepreneur, storyteller, and business coach, will present her Storytelling & Business Development session. Houghtailing, who launched her practice as a business development expert in 2009 with only $5 in her pocket, a MacBook, and a truckload of tenacity in the worst economic climate of her life, developed the Corporate Alliance Partner for the Institute for Sales and Business Development at the University of San Diego, Calif., just one year later. Today, she holds the reputation as one of the most sought-after business development and storytelling experts in the country and speaks regularly on narrative leadership and how to use storytelling as a tool of influence in business with her trademarked Narrative Imprinting process.

Court reporting in the 21st century

Speaker and past NCRA Director Mike Miller, FAPR, RDR, CRR, is a freelance court reporter from Houston, Texas. As a follow-up to his Tough Love sessions, which have been held at national and state conferences throughout the United States, Miller will lead a seminar called “Tough Love Part 2,” which will challenge the most sacred beliefs about the business of court reporting with a focus on why being stuck in 1985 isn’t going to alleviate any of the issues faced by agencies and reporters in the 21st century.

Simple shifts can lead to extraordinary outcomes

Also on the schedule is Eunice Carpitella, a professor at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, who will serve as keynote speaker. She will address the practical idea that simple shifts in our routine patterns of interaction and mindset make it possible for business leaders to include, engage, and unleash everyone in solving problems, driving innovation, and achieving extraordinary outcomes.

Don’t wait.

Register now for NCRA’s 2019 Business Summit. Remember, online registration for the 2019 Business Summit closes Jan. 20, 2019, and onsite registration and pricing starts Jan. 21, 2019.

The 2019 Business Summit schedule features additional experts who will not only inspire your business development but also will become a part of your network to help bolster your company into the future. The event will also include compelling panel discussions on topics critical to the growth of the profession and even more networking opportunities than in previous years.

Also making a comeback is the Super Bowl Party to close out the event – another great reason to stay overnight Sunday for an extra few days to really get to know this one-of-a-kind city. And remember, February is the perfect time to enjoy the beauty, sunshine, and numerous attractions San Diego has to offer.








Actor Tom Hanks ‘hearts’ captioning

Photo by David Kindler

NCRA member Jo Gayle, RPR, CRR, CRC, a freelance captioner from Chicago, Ill., recently earned a shout-out from actor Tom Hanks for her captioning skills during an event held by the Chicago Humanities Festival. The JCR Weekly reached out to Gayle to find out more about being recognized by an international celebrity for her skills. The JCR Weekly also reached out to Brittany Pyle, director of production and audience experience for the Chicago Humanities Festival, to learn more about the benefits captioning brings to audiences.

NCRA member Jo Gayle, RPR, CRR, CRC

JCR | How did you connect with the Chicago Humanities organization?
JG | I was asked by a captioning company to caption some of their events.

JCR | How long have you been captioning for them?
JG | Three years, since fall of 2015.

JCR | What types of events do you caption for them and how often?
JG | I started out just captioning a few events, but this fall I did 15 events as well as a day-long marathon of interviews that I split with a remote captioner. The events are either interviews or lectures, and the Humanities Festival chooses which ones will be captioned based on audience interest and accessibility requests.

JCR | What do you enjoy most about working with this organization?
JG | They are extremely accommodating when it comes to making sure I have a comfortable and accessible work space. Also I’ve enjoyed the diversity of events and the famous people I’ve been able to caption: Alan Alda, Gloria Steinem, Al Gore, and James Comey, just to name a few.

JCR | What were you captioning when Tom Hanks gave you a shout-out?
JG | He was doing an interview with Peter Sagal of NPR to discuss his love of writing and his collection of short stories, Uncommon Type.

JCR | Did you know he was going to do that?
JG | What happened was they did not know the event was being captioned and only discovered it when they looked at the screen behind them that was going to display audience questions.

Here’s the back and forth from the transcript:

PETER SAGAL: We have a couple of questions from members of the audience who submitted them earlier. We selected a few. We’ll put them up on the screen.
TOM HANKS: Oh, really?
PETER SAGAL: Yes.
TOM HANKS: I thought this was a temporary graphic.
I just realized that. Has that gone on? So you get to say I read the best interview with Tom Hanks. Anybody deaf that is actually doing it? Anybody hearing-impaired?
PETER SAGAL: Hello, I am the person typing the captions.
THE CAPTIONER: That’s me.
(Laughter and applause.)
TOM HANKS: Let’s hear it — are they up here or back there?
THE CAPTIONER: I’m up here.
(Laughter and applause.)
PETER SAGAL: That’s great.
We actually do have some questions for you so we can put them up.
TOM HANKS: That is hilarious. I’m sorry. That is just fantastic. I’m sorry, that is truly fantastic.
“Which character in your book do you love the most and why,” says Jill. There you go. We want Jill’s name up there twice. I think that’s fabulous.
(Applause.)

JG | I felt I had to insert myself in there so they would know it was an actual person doing the captioning and not voice recognition or artificial intelligence.

JCR | What was your reaction?
JG | I got a big kick out of it, but I was overwhelmed when I received this email from him through the Humanities Festival:

You tell Jo Gayle that she made our night! A personality to go with those magic words! It was an honor to share the stage with her! Tell her that, or better yet, send her a text one word at a time … It was a grand night,
Tom Hanks

JCR | Did you get to meet him?
JG | No, unfortunately.

JCR | Have you met any other celebrities through this work?
JG | Alan Alda is the only celebrity I’ve met.

JCR | How long have you been a captioner?
JG | I’ve been a court reporter since 1980, and I transitioned into CART in 2004. I don’t do broadcast captioning, only CART captioning. Transitioning into CART was the best career move I ever made!

JCR | How did you learn about the court reporting/captioning profession?
JG | After four years of college and two years of grad school, I couldn’t find a job in what I majored in (mass communications), so my father, who was an attorney, told me about the court reporters he worked with and actually found a reporting school for me. I looked into it and found my niche.

This whole experience has been unreal. From getting the shout-out from Tom Hanks to having the event posted on both the NCRA and Illinois Court Reporters Association Facebook pages and in an email from the Chicago Humanities Festival to their subscribers has been beyond my wildest dreams! And the recognition from my colleagues is the topping on the cake!

 


Captioning provides accessibility

Here is what Brittany Pyle, director of production and audience experience for the Chicago Humanities Festival, said about the benefits that captioning brings to audiences.

JCR | How long have you offered captioning services to your audiences?
BP | We implemented open captions at our events in fall 2015.

JCR | What prompted your organization to begin providing captioning of your events?
BP | The Chicago Humanities Festival is committed to accessibility for all audience members. Back in 2015, I was learning a lot from my involvement with the Chicago Cultural Accessibility Consortium (CCAC). Based on audience feedback, I sensed that many people in our audience identified as being hard of hearing, and some audience members were deaf but ASL interpretation was not their preference. Being able to understand what a person is saying on stage is the primary value of our events. It became clear to me that making realtime captions available and visible to everyone in the room was going to be a clear benefit to our audience’s experience.

JCR | How long have you used the services of Jo Gayle?
BP | We’ve worked with Jo Gayle since the beginning of utilizing live event captions in 2015. We also work with a few other talented captioners in Chicago. We have so many events running at one time that we often need more than one captioner on a given day!

JCR | You mentioned that she is your go-to person for captioning services. Why is that?
BP | Jo has amazing accuracy. I’m very impressed by how she can listen to a fast talker rattle off complicated terminology and get it perfectly right on the screen. She works very hard to prepare for our events. She and I work together in advance to make sure she has everything we know about a particular speaker, words they might use, the correct spelling of names. Jo does a lot of prep work on her own, looking up videos of that person, learning their speech cadence, things they often talk about when they’re giving a presentation. If our audience members can spot her in a theater, they will flock to her after an event to thank her for how much her captioning helped them get more out of the event.

JCR | What would you say to other organizations considering offering captioning services to their audiences?
BP | It is so worth budgeting for this accessible service. I find captions to be beneficial to a wide audience. It makes our events inclusive of people who are deaf or hard of hearing but also elevates an experience that could be less than ideal, say, in an acoustically challenging church or helps aid understanding if a speaker has a heavy accent. I would also urge other organizations to aim for open captions (as opposed to closed captions on a device) so that they are integrated into the entire experience, and someone can see them from any seat in the house without having to self-identify. I would also urge organizations to make it easy and transparent for a person to request the service of open captions from your organization.

JCR | Please feel free to add any additional information you think would be helpful for the article.
BP | The Chicago Humanities Festival is a guest in over 40 venues per year, producing roughly 130 events per year. We try to make our events as accessible as possible by showcasing how to request accessible accommodations on our website when buying tickets, and our audience services representatives are trained to ask each ticket buyer if they require accessible accommodations as part of their order when speaking to people on the phone. While we haven’t been able to afford to caption all 130 events just yet, we do budget for requests, pre-schedule captioning in venues that would benefit from them, and we are always fundraising and applying for grants hoping to increase the number of events with open captions. I also think it would be a logistical challenge to get realtime captioners at 130 events, since a demand at that volume would certainly exceed the number of qualified captioners in Chicago! I would love it if more colleges and trade schools provided a pipeline into this growing field of realtime captioning for accessibility.








Celebrate 2019 Court Reporting & Captioning Week with NCSA Annual Challenge

2019 NCRA Court Reporting & Captioning Week

Support and promote the court reporting and captioning professions by taking part in NCRA’s National Committee of State Associations’ (NCSA) Fifth Annual State Challenge and earn a chance at winning the grand prize of a free registration to the 2019 NCRA Convention & Expo. The first-prize winner will receive five free NCRA webinars.

The NCSA challenge calls on all state associations and individuals to spread the word about the benefits of a career in court reporting or captioning. The challenge will culminate during NCRA’s 2019 Court Reporting & Captioning Week being held Feb. 9-16. The aim of the challenge is to encourage working professionals to reach out through career fairs and other activities to spread the word about the viable career paths of court reporting and captioning.

“You never realize just how much difference one presentation at a high school can make. There are so many people (students) who do not realize our profession even exists and the various types of reporting there are: official, freelance, and CART and broadcast captioning. You do not have to be perfect or a pro at public speaking to pull off a presentation. All you need is your machine and your laptop and the ability to do a realtime demo. Anything else is icing on the cake. The students will be in awe of what you can do — while at the same time showing them how you can kick Siri’s butt in translating the spoken word. Get out there and participate in Court Reporting & Captioning Week and the NCSA Challenge!” said NCSA Chair Huey L. Bang, RMR, CRR, an official court reporter from Pass Christian, Miss.

“With the shortage of reporters in the field, it’s more important than ever to let the public know what a reporter actually does and that you can make a good living while doing it. We need more people entering the field, and the only way to make that happen is to spread the word and do a demonstration at your local schools,” he added.

To help members and state associations celebrate the 2019 Court Reporting & Captioning Week, NCRA has available resources on NCRA.org/Awareness that includes press release templates, media advisories, activity ideas, and more. Other available resources include templates for official proclamations recognizing the week, flyers and logos, and materials for schools to use to help celebrate as well. This year’s Court Reporting & Captioning Week will mark the seventh year the Association has hosted the event.

“Court Reporting & Captioning Week is a great opportunity for us all to really take a little time to introduce our great profession to the world. Whether it’s a presentation at a local high school, a brief segment on the local news, or even discussing amongst friends what it is we do as court reporters and captioners, you could make a difference in someone’s life who would love this career path,” said NCSA Vice-Chair Carol Naughton, RPR, an official court reporter from Virginia Beach, Va.

“It’s always exciting to hear the different and unique ways states are getting involved and making a difference. I’m sure this year will be no different,” added Naughton, who is also immediate past president of the Virginia Court Reporters Association (VCRA).

“While doing an actual demonstration at a college or high school may be the quickest way to get someone into our profession, I encourage my state association and any individuals who can to get their state legislature to have a proclamation passed recognizing the week,” said Bang. “Whether it’s on the state level or your municipal level, it just gets people talking about what we do,” Bang added.

According to Naughton, VCRA is planning a social media challenge to celebrate the 2019 week. “While I’m not at liberty to share what’s up our sleeves, I can say that your state association may be called upon to meet our challenge. We may even challenge NCRA! So you better be ready!”

To learn more about NCSA’s State Challenge or to participate, visit NCRA.org/StateAssociations.








TCRA officers’ guest blog offers tips for lawyers needing a court reporter

Lexblog.com posted a guest blog on Oct. 3, written by Texas Court Reporters Association’s president Shari J. Krieger, RMR, and president-elect Lorrie A. Schnoor, RDR, CRR, offering tips to  help lawyers have a greater likelihood of having a reporter when they need one.

Read more.