2019 Realtime Contest results

OVERALL COMBINED SCORES

Place %
1Doug Zweizig, RDR, CRR  98.4%
2Mark Kislingbury, FAPR, RDR, CRR 97.45%
3Jeffrey Weigl, RMR, CRR, CRC 97.3%
4Traci Mertens, RDR, CRR, CRC 96.5%
5Linda Riffle, RDR, CRR, CRC 95.45%

LITERARY

Place Errors %
1Dee Boenau, FAPR, RDR, CRR, CRC 899.2%
2Jeffrey Weigl1498.6%
3Doug Zweizig1598.5%
4Mark Kislingbury1898.2%
5Patrick Mahon, RMR, CRR2897.2%
6Karla Ray, RMR, CRR, CRC, CRI3097%
6Traci Walker, RMR, CRR, CRC3097%
7Kathy Cortopassi, RMR, CRR, CRC3796.3%
7Traci Mertens3796.3%
7Patricia Nilsen, RMR, CRR, CRC, CRI3796.3%
8Ron Cook, FAPR, RDR, CRR, CRC3996.1%
9Linda Riffle4195.9%
10Sheri Smargon, RDR, CRR, CRC4595.5%

Q&A

PlaceErrorsPercentage
1Doug Zweizig1998.31%
2Mark Kislingbury3796.71%
2Traci Mertens3796.71%
3Jeffrey Weigl4596%
4John Wissenbach, RDR, CRR, CRC4995.64%
5Linda Riffle5795%

* Contest results are preliminary.

Fox 31 interviews NCRA members at Convention

Fox 31 interviewed Melanie Humphrey-Sonntag, FAPR, RDR, CRR, CRC, Aug. 15 about the speed contests at Convention.

See the video.

Rich Germosen, RDR, CRR, and Isaiah Roberts, RPR, were interviewed Aug. 15 at the 2019 NCRA Convention & Expo about the speed competitions.

See the video.

Brockovich interview at Convention

Fox 31 interviewed Erin Brockovich Aug. 16 at Convention about a local cancer investigation.

Read more.

Bruce A. Matthews Honored with NCRA 2019 Distinguished Service Award

Bruce Matthews, FAPR, RDR, CRR, and Sue Terry, FAPR, RPR, CRR, CRC

The National Court Reporters Association announced Bruce A. Matthews, FAPR, RDR, CRR, a retired court reporter from Lakewood, Ohio, as its 2019 Distinguished Service Award winner. Matthews was honored at a special awards ceremony held at NCRA’s annual Convention & Expo taking place in Denver, Colo.

The NCRA DSA recognizes the distinguished work and service by an individual member for the benefit of the court reporting profession, including service to NCRA as a member, a committee member, a director, or an officer of the association. Other displays of distinguished work include contributing to the JCR, service at the state or local court reporters association, or in the field of public relations or public affairs. Award winners are nominated by their peers and are recognized at NCRA’s Convention & Expo.

Matthews began is career in 1973 after graduating from Clark State College. Among Matthew’s most notable reporting assignments have been covering  Kent State Grand Jury hearing, the bankruptcy trial of American businessman Daniel H. Overmyer, numerous toxic shock syndrome cases, a lower Lake Erie Antitrust case, and patent depositions. He also took the deposition of Art Modell, former owner of the NFL Cleveland Browns on why the NFL Oakland Raiders should not move to Los Angeles, Calif.

Matthews has also presented numerous seminars about technology, ethics, and realtime.

Active at the national level, Matthews is a past president of NCRA and has served on a number of the Association’s committees as a member or as chair including the Legislative, Resolutions, Finance, Nominating, Realtime, Contests, Convention and Constitution & Bylaws committees. He has also served on numerous advisory and task forces, and is a past NCRA Secretary-Treasurer, and past chair of the National Court Reporters Foundation Board of Trustees.

At the state level, Matthews is a past president of the Ohio Court Reporters Association (OCRA) where he has served on numerous of its committees. He is also involved in the state’s A to Z(TM) Intro to Machine Shorthand program.  

He is the recipient of numerous awards including the past president’s awards from OCRA and NCRA, and the Past Chair Award given by NCRF. He is the only member of OCRA to have received the Glenn Stiles Distinguished Service Award and the Martin Fincum Award in the same year.

Matthews and his wife, Deborah, have three daughters and one son.

There’s No Substitute for a Real Live Court Reporter

Law.com posted an op-ed piece on Aug. 12 authored by a court reporter that sets out the reasons there is no substitute for a real live court reporter.

Read more.

Ask the Techie: Transcript Formatting

The NCRA Technology Committee is taking your questions on topics surrounding realtime and technology. Send the questions you want the Technology Committee members to tackle to jcrfeedback@ncra.org.

Dear Techie:

I’m always trying to learn new, faster, and shorter ways to get my transcripts out the door. Embracing realtime is a priority for me, as I know that will be one of the biggest timesavers, and I’m doing great with utilizing lots of brief forms. Writing short!

Anyway, the next hurdle to conquer is getting as much formatting incorporated into my writing at the time of the job; for example, the setup of the examinations and so forth.

Can you give me a boost to get my dictionary jump-started with those type of brief forms?

Jumping Into Realtime

Dear Jumping,

Congratulations on your journey with realtime!

Kevin Hunt, a member of the Tech Committee, has the following advice and brief forms to get you jump-started to a more perfect transcript at the time of your job.

Single Strokes for designations:

/STPHAO-BGS for EXAMINATION blurb and the Q., similarly:

/SKWRAO-BGS

/KP-EUFPLT

KP-EURBGS

Also for Court/Hearing/Arbitrations:

/TKREBGT (Direct)

/TKR*EBGT(Redirect)

/TPR*EBGT (FurtherRedirect)

/KROS (Cross)

/KRO*S (Recross)

/TPRO*S (FurtherRecross)

And then paired with a speaker designation:

/TKREBGT/STPHAO generates the DIRECT EXAMINATION BY SPEAKER 01: AND the following Q.

Finally, when more than four speakers, the base designation plus alliteration of speaker’s name.

Mr. McCarthy = /STPHAO-PL

Mr. Peterson = SKWRAO-P, etc., on both sides …

Why I love court reporting: Isaiah Roberts

Isaiah Roberts, RPR, Magnolia, Ill., recently posted this in the Facebook group “Encouraging Court Reporting Students.”

Students,
So many times I see you guys asking the question, “Is this worth it?” “Is there truly a demand?!” “Am I going to make enough!?” They’re VALID questions. I had the same exact ones when I was in school!!

Isaiah Roberts and Stanley Sakai ready to caption Lollapalooza

All I want to say is this: IT. IS. WORTH. IT. I can PROMISE you. I’m in Chicago and there are SO many opportunities and jobs available for you. Opportunities to travel? You name it. Last week I flew to Louisiana for deps, yesterday I got to work at my dream location (the federal courthouse downtown Chicago 😍), next week I got asked to fly out to Laguna Hills for a deposition, and if not for previously scheduled depositions, I got asked to go to Hong Kong this week for depositions. On top of everything, I scored some free tickets to Lollapalooza in Chicago this weekend from a connection I made at a past captioning gig, Coachella.

Isaiah Roberts

I don’t say ANY of this to brag. I say this because THESE are the awesome opportunities we have in this job, and I wish someone would’ve told me as a student that they’re out there. I’m nothing special — I didn’t fly through school, nor have I won (ha, or let alone am eligible to compete 😂) in a speed competition. I’m just an average stenographer. If you work hard, the opportunities are LIMITLESS.

School is hard. Theory is hard. Speed building is super hard. But seriously, guys, I PROMISE you it is so much more worth it than you can even imagine … whether that be measured by income potential, travel opportunities, or most of all, how much you’re going to LOVE this profession. Keep up the hard work! 💪💪

NCRA to pilot virtual live sessions at the 2019 NCRA Convention & Expo

As online registration for the 2019 NCRA Convention & Expo in Denver, Colo. draws to a close on Aug. 7, NCRA is launching a new program: Select sessions will be broadcast live from the Convention on Friday, Aug. 16, 2019, for people who are unable to attend. Participants in this pilot effort will be able to watch the speakers as they present, pose questions to the moderator, receive all support materials, and earn continuing education credits (CEUs).

Three sessions from the Friday line-up will be streamed live accessible to either NCRA members or non-members who have purchased access to this pilot program. The sessions are available only as a package of all three; however, participants will be able to access recordings of any of the three sessions for up to 30 days. Those who watch the sessions, whether live or as a recording, can earn up to 0.325 CEU. The sessions are:

  • Taking depositions internationally with Ian Hardy
  • Building your dictionary with Anissa Nierenberger, RPR, CRR, CRC, CRI
  • How to promote steno reporting by the NCRA STRONG Task Force

“We are very excited to launch this pilot effort and make our education sessions available to people who can’t attend the Convention in person. This also gives us the opportunity to test an online platform to reach a wider audience,” says Cynthia Bruce Andrews, NCRA Senior Director of Education and Certification.

The three-session package is available for purchase for $150 for NCRA members and $225 for non-members and only for a limited time.

To ensure that the quality of the live-streaming sessions will be seamless for online participants, purchases must be made by Friday, Aug. 9, by 11:59 p.m. (ET) to participate.   

Bonus: Extra Savings     

For those who plan to watch the recordings of NCRA Convention sessions after the event, taking advantage of the pilot package of virtual sessions offers the added benefit of significant savings. These three sessions will be among those offered for post-convention viewing, but only at individual rates. The pilot package offers access to these three sessions both live and for up to 30 days after the event.

                Click here to purchase the Pilot Package of Virtual Sessions.

The sessions:

1:30 – 2:45 p.m. MT /3:30 – 4:45 p.m. ET

Ian Hardy

International Depositions 101 – Presenter: Ian Hardy

Designed for court reporters and legal videographers, this session addresses covering depos abroad, including: 1) a survey of the market for international depositions; 2) what clients want from reporters and videographers who cover their depos abroad; 3) the legalities of covering U.S. depos in foreign countries; 4) important visa and travel information; and 5) special tips on how to keep things from going wrong. This session is open to beginners as well as those experienced in international depos and includes fun, interactive exercises to facilitate learning.

3 – 4 p.m. MT / 4 – 5 p.m. ET

Anissa Nierenberger

Your Most Valuable Realtime Tool – Presenter: Anissa Nierenberger
Your dictionary is the most valuable tool you own. This session will address how to:

  • build it,
  • maintain it,
  • set up dictionaries,
  • and continually enhance it

so that you have the confidence to cover almost any curve ball that is thrown your way.

4:15 – 5:15 p.m. MT/ 6:15 – 7:15 p.m. ET

NCRA Strong on the Facts and Risks of Digital Recording – Presenters: Phyllis Craver-Lykken and Liz Harvey

Members of the NCRA Strong Task Force will share the tools that have been created to educate your clients about the facts and risks of digital recording and why a stenographic reporter remains the gold standard of preserving the record. You will leave with PowerPoints, handouts, and tips on how to present the material to your local bar associations and clients. By the end of the session, you’ll feel confident and ready to take on the role of steno advocate!

What you need to know:

  • The virtual sessions MUST be purchased by Friday, Aug. 9, at 11:59 p.m. ET.
  • The virtual sessions will be live streamed via Moodle; the preferred browser to use is Chrome.
  • These sessions will be included among the sessions offered for purchase after the Convention that will be available at the standard rate. Purchasing the pilot package before the Aug. 9 deadline offers a significant discount from standard pricing.
  • All those registered by the deadline will be invited to a test trial of the technology on Wednesday, Aug. 14, to ensure smooth execution of the event.
  • Details, along with a unique individual log-in information, will be emailed after purchase.
  • For more information, email schools@ncra.org or call 800-272-6272.

Click here to purchase the Pilot Package of Virtual Sessions.
You will be taken to a login page to enter or create your NCRA account.

A Helter Skelter Trial Memoir

By Early Langley

Nov. 19, 2017, marked the death of one of the most vile cult leaders and murderers in California history: Charles Manson. Much has been written about him, his loyal worshippers, the murders, and the trial. One of those books was Helter Skelter by Vincent Bugliosi, the chief prosecutor, and writer Curt Gentry.

By the time I became a court reporting student, the evil of Charles Manson had become legend. Chapter after chapter of Helter Skelter flew by, dictated at high speeds. My teacher was right: Better to hear the worst of the worst now. Any reaction to testimony that inflames the mind might influence a jury.

Perhaps that is why, again as a student, I was able to sit quietly and listen, without emotion, to the gut-wrenching and brutal testimony of the four defendant “Zebra murders” that terrorized San Francisco in the 1970s. Police named the case “Zebra” after the special police radio band they assigned for the investigation. Years later, I met the dispatcher who sent out that radio call and named it “Zebra.” She is now a San Francisco Superior Court Clerk. She described how terrifying it was to walk to work. She once alarmed fellow coworkers by thumbing a ride at night. The car was filled with plainclothes officers in an unmarked car. She knew that, but her coworkers didn’t. In total, 16 people had been murdered, although some authorities thought the defendants might have killed as many as 73 people or more.

The trial started on March 3, 1975, and lasted close to a year-and-a-half, the longest criminal trial in California history at that time. I was only there towards the end. One juror conceived and delivered during the trial. After 18 hours of jury deliberation, based on testimony filling 8,000 pages of transcripts and of 108 witnesses, all four defendants were convicted of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit first-degree murder. They were sentenced to life imprisonment, and all convictions were affirmed on appeal. Judge Joseph Karesh, who presided over the trial, was an exceedingly patient jurist. In spite of the heinous crimes and the helter-skelter nature of the trial, not one defendant was placed in shackles. There were no glass bulletproof barriers and no metal detectors. Clinton W. White, the defense attorney who led the team, was elevated to the California Court of Appeal.

Robert L. Dondero, then deputy district attorney, was also elevated to the California Court of Appeal. Tensions mounted during that trial, as they do in all trials. One defense attorney got palsy from the stress. Joe Ament was both my teacher and the official court reporter for the entire trial. His relief court reporter came close to a nervous breakdown at the end. Both retired soon afterwards.

I guess it wasn’t enough of a deterrent to keep me away from reporting trials, though I haven’t done a criminal trial since I was an official many years ago. My trials are civil now. I hear stories of great love and great despair, deep pain and deep gratitude.

I have a front row seat to courtroom drama. Good trial lawyers have a sixth sense of anticipating the next move. Their eyes circulate the landscape: the judge, the jury, the witness, the audience, and the staff — including you!

The tension for me is just as nerve-racking. Everyone’s looking at my iPads. Everyone’s getting the rough pretty close to immediately after the day ends, the final in the evening, and sometimes late into the evening. Here’s my list of to-do items: indexes, exhibits, witnesses’ testimony, and even sometimes keeping track of time.

Now I have students come in and sit. There’s nothing like the real thing. They marvel at it all. Through my UC Berkeley Alumni Externship Program, I even take college students to court. They go behind the scenes and meet the judge. We discuss the importance of law, public policy, and a court reporter’s record.

I love it when court reporting students can sit in for as long as possible. It teaches them endurance and speed, procedure and decorum, and the anatomy of a trial. If I were to pin down one of the most important assets to have, it’s speed. Trials move fast and furious. Once the judge announces the jury’s deliberation date, it’s a race to the finish line. Rates of speed get high and sustained.

Trials have a helter-skelter nature of their own. And you just gotta love it. Yes, it can be exhausting. Yes, you need to anticipate the unexpected and have backup plans. Yes, you need to do your homework on the technological terms that you’ll hear. Yes, you need to get your realtime and all of your files running. Once that’s set up, you can manage any helter-skelter moment!

Early Langley, RMR, B.A., is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of California at Berkeley. She is a member of the NCRA Education Content Committee. She is past president of the California Court Reporters Association and a senior staff reporter with Aiken Welch Court Reporters.

Why I love court reporting: Aimee Edwards-Altadonna

Aimee Edwards-Altadonna is a freelance reporter in California and a CCRA board member. She recently posted this in the Facebook group “Encouraging Court Reporting Students.”

Students, I want to talk to you about how quickly your life can flip into an amazing place once you are certified and out there busting your butt as a court reporter. There is so much work out there, and it’s just crazy. I could work every single day, multiple jobs a day if I chose to. Instead I choose to work about 8-10 jobs a month and am comfortably making six figures by my fourth year reporting in California’s Bay Area and Central Valley. It’s a true story, and I promise you it’s there for the taking if you work hard.

I am about 4 1/2 years into working now, and in that short period of time, my family’s lifestyle has been able to change dramatically for the better. We went from living paycheck to paycheck as a family of four as I struggled through the end game of certification, finally passing all three legs of the Califonia CSR after winning my appeal on the skills portion and overcoming a pretty horrific ankle injury on the night I qualified for the CSR. We were so strapped, my dad had to help sign for the loan for the $2,000 upgrade to professional software. He even paid for my $1,000 local CSR prep class since I could no longer travel for school with my busted ankle — we were financially spent and had nothing else to give to school — but I didn’t give up. Thanks, Dad. I tell you this to give you perspective. We have been the family living on $26 for over a week until the next check came in and just hoping nobody got sick or broken or any other unforeseen event that can happen with a young family with no safety net.

And yet today I am writing you from the Airbnb in Venice on leg two of an epic 25-day trip to Italy! Worry-free because I just worked extra hard last month and billed out twice as much, so I was set to not work this month. We did a long layover in London and are going all over Italy and Sicily and Cagliari for Intersteno so I’m writing off a portion of this awesome adventure.

This career allowed us to plan and pay for this amazing trip. My kids had never been on a plane, let alone a plane to Europe, and my husband and I have waited 21 years to take this trip. At 9 and 12 they will have such a broad world view, and it will change them at their core for the better for having been explorers in another country. This is a profession that can give you the freedom you’ve dreamed of and can take you places you can’t imagine and didn’t even know you wanted.

When you’re feeling stressed or wondering how long it will take before it’s your turn, just remember that the other side is a magical place of freedom and release and all the amazing things. Even on the ickiest day, this is still the best job ever, and we can’t wait to help you get to the other side. On the dark days, I hope this message will inspire you to keep going. I promise the other side is so worth all of the struggle.

Keep going. Just keep going!