Guest speaker opportunity at a community college

NCRA member Penny Wile, RMR, CRR, owner of Penny Wile Court Reporting in Norfolk, Va., has been a court reporter for more than 30 years. Recently she showcased the court reporting and captioning profession to students in a paralegal course taught at her local community college.

By Penny Wile

Penny Wile talks to paralegal students

Approximately three months ago I took the deposition of a risk management specialist for a national chain of stores. It was a run-of-the-mill 30(b)(6) document production deposition stemming from an accident that resulted in a personal injury claim being filed. Plaintiff and defense appeared via video-teleconference, and the witness and I were together at the deposition site.

The deposition took most of the day, and during breaks the witness asked me questions about court reporting. We chatted about my profession and hers. Not only is she a risk management specialist, but she teaches a paralegal course locally, at Tidewater Community College on Thursday evenings.

At the conclusion of the deposition she asked if I would be interested in speaking to her class about court reporting. I eagerly agreed! Anytime I can attempt to recruit others to join the profession, I am happy to help.

We set several dates for me to appear, but there were delays. (Note to self: Don’t plan speaking engagements during hurricane season!)

I reached out to NCRA and asked if they could provide tools for me to use in my talk. I quickly received literature to download and print. The next day I received a box of print media and goodies for the class. I purchased some clear bags with handles and filled them with important information about court reporting:  History, training, career rewards and challenges, in addition to the goodies.

On Nov. 29, I spoke to the classroom of paralegal students. The students were eager to learn about the reporting profession. I started with a once upon a time story of how I entered the profession. It’s not a glamorous story but one that should be told. They appeared to appreciate how I entered the profession. These students work during the day, have family obligations, and attend college at night. They are real people with busy lives trying to receive an education. They asked me many questions and seemed to be engaged. I spoke to them about my work abroad, some of the more rewarding assignments I have covered in my career, some of the unusual assignments I have covered, and gave them court reporting 101 in two hours .

Penny Wile sets up her machine for paralegal students

Two students in particular were very interested in training with the NCRA A to ZTM Program.  They were excited they could “try out” reporting and see if it would be a good fit for them. I provided my contact information and told them I would be happy to help them if they pursued training in the profession.

When my talk wrapped up, I couldn’t believe I had spoken for two hours! I have been invited back to be a guest speaker for the upcoming semester, and I look forward to the opportunity to inform and encourage others to enter the field of court reporting.

You can also read Career Days are great ways to promote the profession.

For more information about career day resources that are available from NCRA, contact pr@ncra.org, or visit the 2019 Court Reporting & Captioning Resource page.

Career Days are great ways to promote the profession

With 2019 Court Reporting & Captioning Week on the horizon, many NCRA members are planning to mark the event by participating in a career day at a local middle or high school where they can show off their steno skills and introduce students to the benefits of a career in court reporting or captioning.

The JCR Weekly reached out to NCRA members Ann Hall, RPR, an official court reporter from Monterey, Calif., and Jason Meadors, FAPR, RPR, CRR, CRC, a freelance court reporter from Fort Collins, Colo., who each recently participated in local school career days to find out more about their experiences.

Anne Hall

In early November, Hall participated in a college/employment fair day at Seaside High School in Seaside, Calif., where she introduced the court reporting profession to students from all four of the grades. Hall said she was asked to participate by a counselor from the school, and she noted that the last time she had attended a career event was some 12 years ago.

“It was great to work with young people and hopefully get some interested in court reporting,” she said, adding that she would definitely do it again if asked. “Thanks to the package I received from NCRA, I had many NCRA magazines available, some “swag” from various vendors, and information about court reporting in general.”

Among the many questions students asked her included: How does the machine work? What’s it like to be in court?  What do you do when people talk over one another? And among the responses, Hall heard: “Cool!  I’ve never seen a machine like that before.”

Hall added that she learned about the court reporting profession from a family friend who worked as one, and it was him who encouraged her to pursue the career.

Jason Meadors

Meanwhile, in Colorado, Meaders said he showcased the court reporting and captioning professions to sixth, seventh, and eighth graders at the Broomfield Heights Middle School in Broomfield, Colo., upon the request of an associate.

Meadors said the students’ questions were great, and the experience gave him hope for the generation to come, because they were bright, inquisitive, and polite. The experience also gave him an appreciation for the need for NCRA members to get their story out to the younger people.

“They wanted to know what type of training was involved, how much education, how much work per week, if travel was involved, what kind of people I ran across, what was my most and least favorite aspects of the job, if I got perks for airline miles – I don’t remember them all, but the questions were very perceptive,” he said.

“They thought the machine and realtime display was pretty cool. They thought the traveling I do was pretty cool,” added Meadors who noted that he has done other career day events which, unlike this one that rotated students through one classroom, were set up similar to a vendor hall.

Meadors, who said he would certainly participate in a career event again, advises others who decide to attend one to go prepared with a presentation they want to give, but be agile, because the format they choose might not be the format that’s best for the setting.

“For instance, I had a PowerPoint prepared, but I ditched it. I was prepared to scatter realtime screens throughout the classroom, but that wouldn’t have worked as well either. Instead, I answered their scads of questions, told the most entertaining but honest stories I could, and they gathered around while I did a realtime display,” he said.

“We really do have a fascinating profession. I gave my presentation in tandem with a lady who had the title of “project manager,” and she kept complaining privately to me that she just sounded boring compared to the work we do,” he noted.

Meadors said he first learned about the court reporting career while serving in the U.S. Marine Corps, where he was assigned to legal services clerk class right out of boot camp.

“The highest graduates of that class went to the court reporter class. It was stenomask training. I placed high there, found out I loved the work, and went to steno school upon my honorable discharge from the Marines,” he added.

NCRA member Penny Wile, RMR, CRR, owner of Penny Wile Court Reporting in Norfolk, Va., has been a court reporter for more than 30 years. Recently she also showcased the court reporting and captioning profession but this time to students in a paralegal course taught at her local community college. Read Penny Wile’s story.

For more information about career day resources that are available from NCRA, contact pr@ncra.org, or visit the 2019 Court Reporting & Captioning Resource page.

 

 

Don’t miss the savings: Early registration rates end Dec. 10

Early registration rates end Dec. 10 for NCRA’s 2019 Business Summit being held Feb. 1-3 at the Manchester Grand Hyatt in beautiful San Diego, Calif. Don’t miss this opportunity to take your business and yourself to a whole new level.

Freelancers, firm owners, and managers all will find something in the expanded program, which will feature business-focused education and access to high-end speakers. The schedule also includes experts who will not only inspire your business development but will also become a part of your network to help bolster your company into the future, as well as 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.

Highlights of this resource-packed event include:

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.

Past NCRA Director Mike Miller, FAPR, RDR, CRR, is a freelance court reporter from Houston, Texas, who is known for his popular Depoman.com forum, which provided court reporters with a medium to share insights and address common issues from 1997 to 2015. Also recognized for his Tough Love session, Miller will lead a seminar called “Tough Love Part 2,” that will challenge 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.

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 and take advantage of the early registration rates for NCRA’s 2019 Business Summit before they end on Dec. 10. Attendees can save even more money by booking their hotel now before the guaranteed room block ends Jan. 8, 2019. Online registration for the 2019 Business Summit closes Jan. 20, 2019, and onsite registration and pricing starts Jan. 21, 2019.

Don’t forget, February is the perfect time to book early and stay late to enjoy the beauty, sunshine, and numerous attractions San Diego has to offer.

NCRA member aids in animal rescues during California wildfires

Sherri Kuebler and her horse Taylor

When the Woolsey fire northwest of Los Angeles, Calif., burned nearly 97,000 acres before it was finally contained, it left in its wake not only a trail of devastation and heartbreaking loss of life but also stories of courageous volunteerism. NCRA member Sherri  L. Kuebler, RPR, a retired freelance court reporter from Chino Hills, Calif., was one such volunteer.

According to Kuebler, the ranch manager where she, her husband, and several of their friends board their horses, was contacted by a rescue group asking for volunteers with horse trailers to pick up various livestock in the Calabasas area where the Woolsey fire was headed.

“We had four horse trailers and approximately 12 volunteers who drove approximately 70 miles to a staging area where we coordinated with the Lost Hills Sheriff Department who escorted us into the danger zone and to one particular address where the owner was not able to get his animals out,” said Kuebler, a court reporter for 19 years who recently retired from her assignment to a felony trial courtroom at the North Justice Center in Fullerton.

“At this particular address, we rescued pigs, horses, peacocks, roosters, hens, guinea pigs and huge 400-pound turtles. We picked up two sheep who were running loose on the streets, and another homeowner just handed her horse to my ranch owner and said: ‘Please take her’,” she added.

Loading the scared animals into their slant-load horse trailers was pretty difficult, said Kuebler. “There were no cages to take from the property and these huge pigs were not cooperating. We finally got them into modified cages and trash cans on wheels and loaded them that way.

Kuebler said the volunteers were only able to make one trip due to the emerging fire and heavy smoke, but all the animals they did save were brought back to the ranch where they keep their horses. There, she said, some of the boarders bought cages and food for the rescues to help make them as comfortable as possible because they were very scared.

“Our ranch owners were kind enough to allow these rescues to stay as long as needed until they were reunited with their owners. Thank goodness all of them survived and have all been delivered back to their owners,” she said.

Kuebler, who can be contacted at sherrikuebler@verizon.net, said that donations to help support rescues such as the Woolsey fire one can be made directly to the El Rodeo Equestrian Center at 4449 Carbon Canyon Road, Brea, CA 92823.

Independent theater introduces captioning

The Daily Iowan reported on Dec. 2 that Iowa City’s independent theater, Film Scene, has introduced captioning in screenings to create a more equitable movie-going experience.

Read more.

A court reporter shortage: Critical field faces lack of new recruits

NCRA member Melissa Grimes, RPR, an official court reporter from Calhoun City, Miss., is quoted in an article posted by The Dispatch on Dec. 1 about the current shortage of court reporters. The article also mentions NCRA’s A to ZTM program.

Read more.

Take your German depositions to Amsterdam

A blog posted on Nov. 26 by JD Supra addresses the benefits of taking German depositions to The Netherlands.

Read more.

Griffin & Associates announces name change to Griffin Group International

Griffin & Associates, Arizona’s largest court reporting firm, announced in a press release issued Nov. 1 that the firm has changed its name to Griffin Group International and has introduced a new captioning service.

Read more.

The importance of reading back shorthand notes

By Kay Moody

Kay Moody

One of the key elements in developing speed and accuracy in machine shorthand is reading from your shorthand notes. Too often students think it’s unimportant, that it takes too much time, and that it doesn’t benefit them. Reading your shorthand notes is extremely important!

When I was in court reporting school many years ago, I, too, did not know the value of reading and correcting my shorthand notes. In those days, our steno machines produced paper notes in shorthand, and we could pull them up and correct our misstrokes. I’d been in school for three years and hadn’t passed a test in over a year. Unfortunately, I was attending a school that didn’t emphasize readback. We wrote and wrote and wrote on our machines in class. After class, I worked on speedbuilding tapes and wrote and wrote and wrote more on my machine. But it seemed that the more I wrote, the more I practiced, the less I progressed. I felt I was losing, not gaining speed. I was sure I would never get past 140 words a minute; but before giving up, I transferred and commuted more than an hour a day to another school with a fellow court reporting student.

The first day at the new school, the teacher admonished us for reusing our paper and not reading our shorthand notes. During break, we each bought a pad of steno paper, loaded the fresh paper into our machines, and went back to class. Unable to read the steno we had just written, we passed when it was our turn to read. Instead, we diligently corrected our notes when other students in class read back. Later we read our corrected notes to each other on the train ride home. Instead of practicing on my machine, I read my corrected notes two more times at home, and we read them again the next day on the train. After a few weeks of reading and rereading our notes, we both began to pass tests; and within a year, we went from 140 wpm to 225! We both learned the hard way that reading, correcting, and evaluating shorthand notes are essential in developing machine shorthand speed.

Use the following technique when you read your shorthand notes

1. Read the raw steno from your vertical notes, not from the realtime translation screen. Your vertical notes resemble the paper notes we used to use before CAT software. When working on speedbuilding, you should not watch the translation of what you are writing, nor should you watch your computer screen when building speed.

2. Check with your teacher or CAT manual and print out a set of raw vertical steno notes at least once a day so you can read, correct, and evaluate your writing. Use a red pen to correct your notes when reading them. Just reading your notes is fairly effective, but for maximum productivity that programs your subconscious brain, quickly correct a set of paper notes with a red pen. When reading and correcting your shorthand notes, you should have the following objectives:

  • Identify your drops. Each time you drop a word, put a slash (/) with the red pen on the paper notes. At the end of the selection, count the slashes and write how many words you dropped. Circle the number of dropped words. Don’t count dropped outlines, but count dropped words. If you dropped a three-word phrase, count that as three dropped words (/ / /). Repeat writing the selection, and force yourself to get more words on each take. In other words, if you dropped 15 words on the first take of a selection, your goal is to get five more words each time you write it until you can write the entire selection without dropping an outline.
  • Indicate misstrokes with a red pen. You may put a check (ü) exactly where a misstroke occurred or you may write the correct letter. To save time and quickly correct your notes, write the English letter, not the machine shorthand keys. For example, if you wrote an initial S- when you wanted an initial D-, write D not TK.
  • Read your notes out loud whenever possible. A fundamental learning principle is that students learn twice as fast when they hear and see something at the same time; therefore, always try to read your notes out loud. When practicing from recorded dictation, replay the selection and read from your notes along with the tape.

The importance of readback is not just my opinion based on my experience in court reporting school; it is based on many studies of how learning takes place and how psychomotor skills are developed. Reading your notes and correcting them with a red pen conditions or programs your subconscious brain to write the correct shorthand. If you repeatedly make the same correction on a steno outline, you will eventually write the correct outline. It’s based on Pavlov’s theory known as “classical conditioning.” Learned psychologists have applied Pavlov’s theory to developing psychomotor skills in humans. For example, do certain songs remind you of something in your past? Does the scent of a perfume or soap have a pleasant or unpleasant memory? Do you salivate when you smell chocolate or freshly baked bread? If so, these are forms of classical conditioning. Building speed and skill are developed by applying Pavlov’s theory using stimulus and response when you read your steno and repeatedly mark incorrect outlines; and it directly results in developing skill and speed.

Learning is accomplished faster when you employ more than one learning principle. You learn, store, and process information when you see something, when you hear something, when you read something, when you write something, or when you repeat and say something. You learn best when you incorporate many senses together: writing shorthand outlines; reading, visualizing, and correcting steno outlines with your red pen; and hearing them one more time when you read out loud from your shorthand.

In conclusion, reading back and correcting your shorthand notes are probably the most important elements in developing speed and accuracy in writing machine shorthand.

 Kay Moody, MCRI, CPE, an instructor at College of Court Reporting in Valparaiso, Ind.

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