Schools ready for court reporting & captioning week

It’s almost time to celebrate! NCRA has designated Feb 9-16 as 2019 National Court Reporting & Captioning Week. This is a chance for court reporting schools to reach out to the community and share the exciting opportunities offered by stenography. Up-to-Speed shares what court reporting programs are doing to mark this year’s event.

NCRA encourages all schools to get involved in Court Reporting & Captioning Week by highlighting the contributions of stenographic court reporters and captioners to society. Court Reporting & Captioning Week is a perfect opportunity for students to share with friends, family, and members of the community what their careers will involve and why they chose this field. Events held this week promote the profession and showcase the career opportunities in the court reporting and captioning fields.

Updated resources are available to assist with planning and promoting activities during the week such as press release templates, posters, brochures, presentations, and more. Resources are available at NCRA.org and include materials tailored to members, schools, and state associations. Be sure to let NCRA know how you plan to celebrate by sharing your stories and photos via email at pr@ncra.org.

Here’s a list of how some of the nation’s court reporting schools are planning to mark the event:

Cuyahoga Community College, Parma, Ohio

The Captioning and Court Reporting (CCR) Program at Cuyahoga Community College in Parma, Ohio, is planning a variety of events to celebrate 2019 Court Reporting & Captioning Week. On Feb. 13, the student CCR Club will be holding its annual Write-a-Thon Fundraiser. Students in the program will gather in the Western Campus Galleria, a prominent interior plaza area on campus, to work together on their machines as a visible display of the court reporting profession (in training!). Students plan to seek sponsors ahead of time who will contribute funds to support student members attending professional development activities such as state and national court reporting association conferences.

The following day, on Feb. 14, the CCR program and club will host an interactive career event called “Professional Pop-Up.” This event will feature professional reporters from a variety of court reporting and captioning sectors who will be displaying their skills through demonstrations of live reporting and live captioning, followed by Q&A sessions. This will provide a terrific opportunity for both current and prospective students to see the profession “in action.”

Madison Area Technical College, Madison, Wis.

The Court Reporting Associate Degree program at Madison Area Technical College in Madison, Wis., will set up an information table in the Cafeteria Mall at its Truax campus. Court reporting students will participate by practicing their writing at the table and talking with people who visit the table.

Visitors can:

  • See state-of-the-art realtime technology.
  • Watch demonstrations of stenography in action and give it a try themselves.
  • Learn the “secret” language of court reporting and how to “text” at over 225 words per minute.
  • Informally talk with faculty and students about the program at Madison Area Technical College.
  • Schedule a free “hands-on” Bootcamp to explore the field.

Students receive grant for NCRA memberships

Kudos to Mary Beth Johnson, CRI, Court Reporting Program Coordinator at Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC) in Pittsburgh, Pa., for supporting her students and NCRA at the same time! Last spring, Johnson applied for a grant through the Continuous Quality Improvement fund at CCAC. This fund “exists to provide immediate financial assistance to faculty members striving to improve student learning outcomes, program objectives and/or general education,” per the college’s policies. 

“At the Community College of Allegheny County, we are continuously looking for ways to engage students outside of the classroom,” Johnson told Up-to-Speed. “To that end, I proposed funding NCRA membership. As you know, I have been a lifelong member, serving on the student community of interest for many years. I am a strong believer in the benefits of student membership in professional organizations. All of our students are also members of the Pennsylvania Court Reporters Association.”

In her application for the fund, Johnson outlined a learning gap she believes her students are facing. “Students are not acquainted with tools to overcome the challenge of becoming relevant and updated in the court reporting profession. Students do not subscribe to professional journals or attend networking sessions where they can interact with working court reporters.” This gap, she believes, could be closed by offering subsidized NCRA memberships to all her students.

Membership in NCRA is not just a way for students to succeed while they are in school; it is a way for them to lay the foundation of a lifelong career. “Student membership in professional organizations is considered a pathway to success,” Johnson also wrote in her application. “By supporting student membership in professional organizations, we are breaking new ground and encouraging engagement with colleagues in the court reporting profession.”

Johnson was awarded the grant last spring, but the amount fell just short of covering the cost of NCRA student memberships for all 33 of her students at CCAC. Johnson worked with Susan Simmons, Membership & Events Specialist at NCRA, to solicit donations from anonymous members to cover the cost needed for the final two memberships.

“We are proud to be part of such a committed, passionate, and dedicated community of professionals!” said Johnson.

Mary Beth Johnson, CRI, is Court Reporting Program Coordinator at CCAC in Pittsburgh, Pa. She can be reached at mjohnson@ccac.edu.

Cleaning up messy notes and misstrokes

By Kay Moody

Kay Moody

Many students and educators think that developing speed and skill in machine shorthand is accomplished by working on dictation material 20 to 40 words a minute over their goal speed. (Goal speed is 10 or 20 words a minute over the highest five-minute speed test you’ve passed with 95 percent accuracy or higher. In other words, if you passed a five-minute test at 80 words a minute, your goal speed is 100 to 120 words a minute.) It is true that this is how students increase their speed; but many times when students are limited to taking super-fast dictation, they lose control and develop sloppy notes that cannot be read or correctly translated. There are a couple of ways students can eliminate this problem and clean up their messy notes.

Gaining control and cleaning up messy notes from straight-copy material:

Research has proven that this is the most effective way to develop clean notes. Straight-copy practice, writing from printed material as opposed to writing from live or audio dictation, is also for students who want to prevent losing control. It is recommended that all students spend at least 10 to 15 minutes a day working on straight-copy material. 

Select an article or script that you want to practice. This can be from the newspaper or a magazine, a textbook, a printed transcript, or something positive or inspirational. The daily editorial, the sports page, or gossip columns are good sources in that they contain proper names, numbers, and great material for captioning. Straight-copy practice can also be a good way to study material for an academic class. You can also select lyrics from a song, your favorite poem, or a Bible passage.  Pick something that’s positive and makes you feel good.

In addition to the straight-copy material, have a red pen and a highlighter pen. If you get the material off the internet or your computer, format it so it is double spaced, and print the material in a font that is easily read.

Preview the material. Quickly read through and highlight the preview words with the highlighter pen. As you read through the selection, add additional words that may cause you to hesitate when you write. Look up difficult shorthand outlines you are not sure of in a shorthand dictionary.

Practice selected preview words. Practice the entire list of words five times. Print your shorthand notes, read the preview words from your shorthand notes, and make corrections with the red pen. (Read “The importance of reading back shorthand notes.”) Continue practicing the list until you can write it with perfect steno outlines.

If you are tired or tense, take a few deep breaths during your practice session. Learn to inhale deeply and exhale slowly when practicing from straight copy. Keep your eyes on the printed material. Do not look at your shorthand notes, your fingers, or your steno machine when writing on your shorthand machine. Instead of using your translation software, read back from your shorthand notes from time to time.

Practice the entire selection. If it is long, practice one paragraph or eight to 10 lines at a time. Focus on correctly writing every outline. If you misstroke an outline, use the asterisk (*) key, and write the correct outline.

Again, print your shorthand notes and read back from them. With your red pen, correct each incorrect outline every time you misstroke a word.

Make a list of words that are misstroked. Practice the entire list five or six times until you can write all the steno outlines perfectly. Don’t forget to read back this list. Continue to practice the entire list from the first word to the last one until you can write the list error free.

Practice the section again. Continue to practice and read back the selection until you can write the entire selection with 100 percent accuracy.

NOTE:  When working on straight-copy material, don’t time yourself — focus on accuracy, not speed.

Gaining control and cleaning up messy notes from dictation material:

There is an abundance of dictated material available at your school, on the internet, and other sources. To get perfect notes from audio dictation, take a selection that is at least 20 words a minute below your goal speed. If you can vary the speed, use a selection that you have worked on for speedbuilding; otherwise, select material that is considerable slower than what you use for speedbuilding. Follow the same directions that are listed for straight-copy practice:  Preview words, write the selection, print your shorthand notes, read and correct the notes, and repeat until your steno outlines are perfect.

In conclusion, ideally students should balance their practice schedule with fast material that is 20 to 40 words a minute over their goal speed and straight-copy material or dictation 20 words a minute under their goal speed with the goal of writing 100 percent perfect notes! Think of speed and skill development as being like the pendulum on a clock:  Go back and forth — back for accuracy and forth for speed.

Kay Moody, MCRI, CPE, is an instructor at College of Court Reporting in Valparaiso, Ind. She can be reached at kay.moody@ccr.edu.

Get your beads during NCRA’s Mardi Gras Student Speed Contest!

In celebration of Court Reporting & Captioning Week, the NCRA Student/Teacher Committee is sponsoring a Mardi Gras-themed speed test that will be offered to all students at varying test speeds. The tests consist of five minutes of dictation at a speed level that each individual student is either currently working on or has just passed. In order to be eligible to win, students must pass the test with 96 percent accuracy. One literary and one Q&A test will be offered, and the faculty at each school will be responsible for dictating and grading the material.*

How to win: All students who pass a test are eligible for prizes; winners will be drawn at random for first, second, and third prizes.

  • First prize (gold): NCRA’s RPR Study Guide ($125 value)
  • Second prize (purple): Choice of a one-year NCRA student membership ($46 value) or one leg of the RPR Skills Test ($72.50 value)
  • Third prize (green): $25 Starbucks gift card

All students who participate in the contest, even if they don’t pass a test, will have their names and schools published in the student newsletter and the JCR. NCRA wants to showcase the hard work that students and schools are doing to promote the court reporting and captioning professions.

Let’s have some fun and showcase your school’s name as well as your own! We had an impressive number of students participate last year. Let’s see if we can make that number even larger in 2019! Pull out those Mardi Gras beads for good luck and give these skills tests a whirl! Whose school will have the most participants? Will it be yours? (Students, you would be remiss not to come up with brief forms for: Mardi Gras, Louisiana, and New Orleans. Don’t worry about all those “krewe” names. We’re not going to make this hard, so long as you can write carnival and festival. You’re going to get this!)

For more information, please contact Debbie Kriegshauser at deborah0841@att.net or Ellen Goff at egoff@ncra.org.

*Full details and rules for the contest will be sent to your teachers, so please make sure they know you would like to participate. The contest will run from Feb. 9 through Feb. 16.

Sharing her enthusiasm and her realtime

By Jessica Wills

Jessica Wills, a student at the College of Court Reporting in Valparaiso, Ind., volunteered to boost her school’s recruiting efforts by putting on a realtime demonstration at a local high school career fair. She was nervous at first, especially when she found out her realtime was being projected on a large screen. But she soon won over her audience with her speed and accuracy.

Jessica Wills

I attended Wheeler High School’s career fair on behalf of my school, College of Court Reporting (CCR) in Valparaiso, Ind. I wanted to help promote the profession and help students get a better understanding of what court reporters do. Upon agreeing to speak at the career fair, I thought I would set up a booth and provide information to the high schoolers about court reporting and, of course, bring my machine along to show them what it looks like. Little did I know that I would be providing realtime while Nicky Rodriquez, the Director of Admissions for CCR, did all the talking!

As a student, I have never had the need to have my CAT software enlarged on a projector to show my realtime. I don’t think I have ever been so nervous! However, Nicky assured me it would be just fine, and that translation and realtime capability is part of what interests students so much and will hopefully draw them in to wanting to learn more about the profession.

While Nicky explained the role of a court reporter, I wrote every word she said while the realtime came up on the overhead board. I found that although my notes weren’t perfect, the students hardly knew because they were so fascinated by the skill and how steno woks. I explained to them that I can typically read my misstrokes and correct them, or I can define them in my dictionary so that they will come up correct next time. 

With each round of students, I began to feel a little more comfortable. To impress them even more, we had a competition by having them pull out their cell phones and write along with me to a 120 wpm dictation. At the end, I read my notes back, which were clean and exact, while they found they dropped whole sentences! They were amazed by how accurately I recorded each word. I think I did a good job of demonstrating how accurate and efficient court reporters are in capturing verbatim dialogue.

Although I knew that writing realtime would not be easy, I managed to get over my nerves and present a clean realtime feed. I told the students that I take pride in this profession because it’s a unique career and a challenging skill.  I truly love explaining to others how shorthand works and what I will be doing for my career. I am proud to say that I’ve worked hard to be where I am today and will always look to better my writing and improve my skills as a reporter. Through court reporting school, I gained a feeling of self-accomplishment, and I look forward to achieving even more throughout this journey.   

Jessica Wills is a student at the College of Court Reporting in Valparaiso, Ind.

From intern to official

By Callie Sajdera

Callie Sajdera

In theory, I couldn’t wait to get to Realtime VI (200-225 wpm). In Realtime VI, I couldn’t wait to intern. While I interned, I couldn’t wait to work. Here I am, six months later, working my dream job in my dream city. I’m Callie Sajdera, an official reporter for the Second Judicial District of Denver, Colo.  I graduated from Anoka Technical College in Anoka, Minn., in June of 2018. I have been an official reporter since October of 2018, and all I can say is that I truly love my job. 

In March, I did part of my internship in the very courthouse where I am now currently employed. I knew after I finished my internship that Colorado, specifically the Lindsey-Flannigan Courthouse, was where I wanted and needed to be. I was going to get there some way, somehow. Everyone has experienced the transition from a student to a professional, whether it be freelance, official, CART, or captioning, and we all know how terrifying it was at the very beginning. There’s no doubt that you will make a mistake along the way, there will be questions you’ll feel silly for asking, and you will fall into a “newbie  trap.” 

The hardest part about my transition to an official was finding a job. Like I said before, I knew I wanted to be in Denver and I knew I’d get there, but I didn’t expect it to happen right away. A challenge that I came across while job hunting was the intimidating factor of holding the Registered Professional Reporter (RPR).  So many times as I was filling out the application for a job, there would be a box that you check to confirm that you held your RPR. If you didn’t check that box, your application was terminated and you couldn’t move forward. That was discouraging since I was currently working on my RPR and still am, but I was not going to let that stop me.

A month later, I received an email from the Court Reporting Administrator for Denver, who is now my boss, and she informed me of a position that became open and encouraged me to apply. I was open and honest about not holding my RPR certification, and she said: “I want you to apply.” I applied; I got an interview; I got the job. I later learned the impression that I made as an intern here in March helped me land my job. My boss fought for me. She knew hiring a new grad with only internship experience could be a risk, but that was a risk she was willing to take.  

For students who are reading this, being a new professional is hard. The amount of knowledge you learn is astronomical, and at times it can be scary. As a new professional, it has been so important for me to know that it’s OK to make mistakes, just don’t hold onto them for long.  Ask every question that comes to mind, because having the correct answer is always better than trying to guess.  As for the “newbie traps,” they are unavoidable, but I have an amazing work family that picks me up and helps me through them. As I’m sure everyone has been told throughout school: “If you’re comfortable, you’re not growing.” If there’s one piece of advice through this article, it would be to push yourself to be uncomfortable, grow in this profession, and always practice to be the best professional you can be.  

Callie Sajdera is an official reporter for the Second Judicial District of Denver, Colo. She can be reached at callie.sajdera@judicial.state.co.us.

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.

Ann 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 of them 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 were: 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 a reporter, and it was he who encouraged her to pursue the career.

Jason Meadors

Meanwhile, in Colorado, Meadors 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 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 were 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, I 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.

 

 








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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Official or freelance? Internships help students decide

Internships are an opportunity for students to get out of the classroom and into the real world. During their internships – which do not start until after they have reached at least 180 wpm – students are required to complete a minimum of 40 hours of actual writing time. Working with practicing reporters in a variety of settings helps students choose the right path. These students from South Suburban College in Oak Forest, Ill., share their internship stories.

By Amy Priestly

My court reporting internship experience through South Suburban College has been wonderful. I could not have asked for a more satisfying experience. I had never shadowed or interned with a reporter before this experience and had never gone out to see the real life of a working reporter, so this was something completely new for me.

In the beginning of my internship, I didn’t know what to expect while shadowing a reporter. I didn’t know what to expect from lawyers, judges, etc. To my surprise, the reporter, and every reporter I would go out with after that, was very friendly with the lawyers and judges for the most part. Also to my surprise, the reporter, most of the time, didn’t have to clarify the spelling of a name or ask for a spelling of the attorneys’ names; they had already taken the initiative to spell it for the reporter. The depositions in the beginning of my internship were not as long as I had anticipated them to be. I had the opportunity, though, not long after, to shadow a reporter on a longer deposition. It is so intriguing to be on the job and observing activities or processes that I have learned in school, and to be seeing those processes in action.

One of the processes I observed was an interpreter in a deposition, translating questions from English to Spanish and Spanish to English. It was actually not as difficult as it had sounded to me in school; it was exciting.

My favorite part of the internship was going to the courthouse. I was able to see two bench trials and motions. As I was shadowing a reporter for one of the bench trials, it was something that I knew in my heart: not only do I want to become a court reporter, I would like to one day be sitting in her position as an official court reporter recording these trials. I couldn’t have asked for a more profound and magnificent experience during my internship.

Amy Priestley graduated from South Suburban and currently works for McCorkle Litigation Services, Inc., in Chicago, Ill.

 

Jaclyn Dluski

As a student of court reporting, I spent my summer on a court reporting internship shadowing various reporters from many different agencies and courthouses. Since I have never been to a deposition or a trial, this experience has been enlightening and enjoyable. I have been able to learn which form of reporting I would like to do in the future upon graduating school. I have decided I would like to be a freelance reporter.

After shadowing many different freelance reporters, I quickly realized that I enjoyed the flexibility of their schedules. Each reporter that I shadowed had a different number of days they worked a week, usually dependent upon their lifestyle. Some of these women were mothers, some were married, and some were single. Each was able to adapt their schedule to fit the needs of their lifestyle. Since I would like to one day be a mother, it will be extremely beneficial to be a freelance reporter with a flexible schedule.

Unlike in a courtroom, in a deposition freelance reporters have full control over the room. They conduct the entire deposition starting with swearing in the witness to asking for the lawyers or witness to repeat what they just said. The atmosphere is less hectic as there are not many people coming and going. It is a much easier atmosphere to work in and focus. Beyond the flexibility of schedule and the atmosphere, working for an agency allows me to have coverage if needed, to not go the same place every day, to sit in on depositions about all kinds of different topics, and to stay far away from criminals in custody.

Overall, this internship has been trying and exciting. I have found out what a small agency is like and what a large agency is like. I have seen the ups and downs to reporting. I have only found an even larger appreciation of the field and my ability to join this small society of intelligent individuals who can do what I do. I look forward to joining them.

Jaclyn Dluski is working on her 225 wpm.