NCRF announces 2020 New Professional Reporter Grant recipients

Two awardees named for the first time in grant’s 16-year history

By Jill Parker Landsman

The National Court Reporters Foundation announced two recipients for the 2020 New Professional Reporters grant.

“Since our former Frank Sarli and Robert Johnson scholarships ended in 2019, we decided to award a first- and second-place recipient for this grant this year,” said NCRF Chair Cathy Phillips, FAPR, RMR, CMRS, an official court reporter from Collierville, Tenn. “Each winner was selected after displaying remarkable focus on academics as well as dedication to the court reporting industries. Their letters of recommendation played a strong role in their selections.”

First-place winner Erin Johnson of Carthage, Ill., was awarded $2,000. She is grateful about the day in high school when she had her epiphany about becoming a court reporter.

“My interest in court reporting came when I was fortunate enough to job shadow another court reporter while I was in high school,” Johnson said. “From that day forward, I knew this was the career for me. I entered court reporting for many reasons, but one of the primary reasons was my love for the English language as well as my desire to work in the judicial system. One reason that I am passionate about court reporting is that I can contribute to the judicial system firsthand by taking down an accurate, verbatim record,” she added.

“I have always been excited about my career, and I know how important it is for
the judicial system to have qualified stenographic reporters,” John said. “We are responsible for the recordkeeping of very serious matters. Additionally, I enjoy learning about the law and how it applies to each case. Court reporting offers such a variety of subject matter that it makes the job so interesting. The friendships I have developed with the judges, attorneys, and staff are outstanding. I have been so blessed with the people that I have met and the support that I have had.  I can’t wait to see what the career of court reporting holds for me.”

For the first time since 2005, NCRF selected a second winner, Laura Tello of Houston, Texas, who was awarded $1,000.

Tello passed her court reporting state test in Dallas, Texas, on June 22, 2019. Her mother died just three days before, but she mustered up tenacity and focus to complete her credentials. Due to adverse audio during testing, only 13 out of 50 examinees passed: she was one.

Tello’s training had starts and stops. “I can’t tell you the amount of times I just wanted to throw that machine out of my moving car every time I left school without passing Alvin Community College’s [Alvin, Texas] hard test,” she said. “That machine was like a third child, always stuck to me wherever I went. During my studies, things in my life got harder to deal with, be it money, ailing parents, the kids, and other stuff that interfered with taking classes. So, my court reporter training was an off- and on-again relationship for the rest of the years that followed,” Tello added. 

“I think, if anything, my court reporter education shows that although I may not be a spring chicken anymore, I fought long and hard for this career to define me as a person interested in bettering myself. I appreciate feeling needed to this profession, and I enjoy it tremendously. The scholarship means that I have been validated for my long hard fight to get to where I am at today and for that, I am truly grateful! Thank you for this scholarship. I love my job! Love what you do and do what you love is a quote I read from a veteran court reporter whom I shadowed. She is truly an inspiration to me with her 0.25 percent writing ability. A writer like that is what I continue to aspire to become one day,” Tello said.

For information about this NCRF New Professional Reporter grant, click here.

Jill Parker Landsman, is manager of the National Court Reporters Foundation. She can be reached at jlandsman@ncra.org.

It’s a wrap for students at Connect

Tygerr Recchia

This year, NCRA’s Virtual Connect event attracted the highest number of students we’ve seen in years: 124! Without the cost of travel, hotel, and food, the conference was more affordable than ever. The unique virtual format gave students the chance to not only attend every educational session but to pop into several different networking meet ups as well. “I was exposed to the most wonderful group of ladies and gentlemen I have had the privilege to Zoom with,” said Tygerr Recchia, of Green River College in Auburn, Wash.

Up-to-Speed asked the student attendees to give us feedback on their Virtual Connect experience.

UTS | What were some of your favorite sessions?

Savannah Jordan

Motivation, Beating Obstacles, Achieving Goals, and Growth Mindset presented by Matthew Moss, RPR. “Matt Moss’ way of explaining our brain workings was my most favorite thing. I loved the science behind it and all of the resources he added.” – Savannah Jordan, Mark Kislingbury Academy of Court Reporting

Controlling Your Subconscious presented by Teresa Russ, CRI. “I really enjoyed the session with Teresa Russ on controlling your subconscious. I am a firm believer of speaking great things over your life. I also enjoy Teresa’s message on not giving up despite the struggle.” –  Shaunise Day, Oakland, Calif., Simply Steno

Build a Million Dollar Court Reporting Business presented by Cassandra Caldarella. “I absolutely loved Cassandra’s energy and passion for court reporting. Her presentation was fabulous and insightful. It was informative, and it inspired me so much to help me persevere on those days when testing seems insurmountable! She showed me anything is possible, and the sky is the limit! I loved it!” – Tygerr Recchia

Motivation, Beating Obstacles, Achieving Goals, and Growth Mindset presented by Matthew Moss, RPR and Success as an Online Student presented by Jensen Wohlgemuth, RPR and Kelly Moranz, CRI. “Having been in school for three years, sometimes I feel like I’ve heard all the tips for being a student, but these two offered good strategies that I can employ in my next speed and beyond.” –  Rachel Helm, Green River College in Auburn, Wash.

UTS | What did you think of the social events?

“The captioning meetup was the best event of my life! They were very honest about the state of the business and how they needed captioners, so it was very encouraging for students knowing they are wanted! They were fun and insightful. They answered all the students’ questions, and all really love what they do. Every single one of them said this was the best decision they ever made, and I have no doubts, never have had, but this just cemented it in, that I too have made the best decision I ever made no matter how long it takes to get there!” – Tygerr Recchia

“It was honestly a little easier to socialize in the virtual events than it was last year in Denver, Colo. As a student, I was overwhelmed, and often the presenters had too many people to really keep up with in real life. The virtual social events were fantastic.” – Rachel Helm

UTS | What was the best thing about the conference?

“Getting to meet everyone who want nothing but the best for you. Everyone was willing to share contact info, go into depth about more questions, and being overall welcoming.” – Savannah Jordan

“Strategies on getting through school and knowing I’m not alone in sometimes feeling frustrated or not fast enough or like it’s taking me forever to get through school. Also I really, really appreciated being able to watch the videos after the original dates, because I work, I’m a parent, and I am in school, so I’m busy and I would have had to not get something done if I had attended all weekend.” – Anonymous

“Actually, seeing that people want you to succeed in this profession and there is indeed a need for reporters, etc.” – Mayone Brown, Court Reporting and Captioning at Home

“The friendliness. Several court reporters reached out to me to say hello.” – Lisa Tunzi, College of Court Reporting, Valparaiso, Ind.

Virtual lunch: students edition

By Shaunise Day

On Saturday, Aug. 29, I decided to host a Lunch On Your Own with students. During NCRA’S annual Conventions, all attendees are given a lunch break for an hour and a half and during this time, most attendees have planned lunch dates to catch up with old colleagues or meet up with a new connection.

When I attended my first convention, I didn’t have plans to lunch with anyone. I was shy, quiet, nervous, and overwhelmed with my first convention. I had plans to grab lunch and spend the lunch break in my car until the next session was set to start. Right when I was trying to figure out my exact plans, a few veteran reporters invited me to have lunch. I felt so relieved and happy that I didn’t have to lunch alone.

In New Orleans, La., for NCRA’s annual Convention, I was in charge in leading the welcome session for the students. I shared my story with the students about lunching on my own at my first convention and said if there were any students that did not have a lunch buddy, I would be more than happy to lunch with them. During the lunch hour, it turned out to be close to 12 students that wanted to lunch together. I was not expecting this large number. I thought it would be two or three students that may have wanted to eat lunch together. Since we were a large group with no reservations, we split into two groups, and it worked out just fine. I realized that there were students that felt how I was feeling during my first convention. I decided from that moment that I would continue to pay it forward and do what a few veterans did for me.

For the annual Conference in Denver, Colo., last year, I made reservations at a nearby restaurant. I did the same exact thing during the students’ welcome session and advised that I had reservations made for anyone that did not have a lunch buddy. The turnout was larger than in New Orleans, and this time around I was able to invite a few reporters to lunch with the students. I can remember a student whispering that she was so happy about this lunch because she had no idea what she was going to do. That was my confirmation that this a great idea and to keep organizing a lunch for the students during the annual convention.

Due to COVID-19 and NCRA having its annual Conference online, I did not want to schedule a virtual lunch during the Association’s Connect Virtual 2020. I thought it would be best to wait until after the meeting and plan something. I thought it would be a great idea to invite past lunch buddies and friends to this virtual lunch with the students.  

Pushing through the process and finishing school. You can say this was the theme for our lunch, because the new professionals told the students about crossing the finish line and not giving up. Each new professional shared experiences.

Carmen Saavedra, RPR, a freelance reporter in San Tan Valley, Ariz., and I connected in Denver during our lunch. Carmen was able to share her experience and her journey with completing school. Callie Sajdera, an official in Denver, Colo., was another new professional who attended. Not only did Callie attend the lunch in New Orleans, but we also served on the Student/Teacher Committee that year in New Orleans. Jeaninn Alexis from Laurel, Md., and Shacara Mapp, a freelance reporter in Detroit, Mich., were also some of the new professionals who gave encouraging words to the students. They also shared how they overcame obstacles. From test anxiety to relocating to another state. Pushing through the process and not giving up no matter what will be well worth it. Denee Vadell, an official reporter in Edison, N.J., shared her testimony and what she had to go through to complete school. It all paid off because she is now in her winning season during this pandemic. Matt Moss, RPR, an official reporter in Thornton, Colo., was a surprise guest. Matt popped in and he spoke on how he pushed through school, and he also spoke on changing your mindset. I shared my story with the students and advised that if there is anything that they need as far as reliable resources and encouragement, I can help. If I don’t have the answer, I can put them in touch with someone that can help. I am just a phone call, text, or email away. Right now is the time to stay as close to our students as possible. This year has been extremely discouraging for all of us. Now is the time to focus on becoming one team with the same goal for stenography. One way is motivating each other to keep pushing through the process with whatever you’re dealing with. If it’s school, Zoom depos, or homeschooling, now is the time that we stand together during these trying times.

I was happy with the feedback I heard from some of the students who attended:

Kim Coltrain: “This was a wonderful opportunity to give back to the vocation. Great insight, encouragement, and a free raffle to top it off. I felt like I was sitting at the ‘cool kids’ table in the cafeteria … but I got to stay in my bunny slippers.”

Christina Cranford: “It was very inspiring and motivating, and I’m looking forward to Vegas 2021.”

Rachel Helm: “I left the luncheon feeling more prepared and supported than ever to finally finish up my last speed and get out of school. At a time when everyone feels lost and isolated, the luncheon was a great way to connect with my fellow students as well as working reporters. Winning the raffle for a complete set of Monette Benoit’s purple books was the cherry on top; it’s an enormous blessing to know there are people out there who value our success so much that they’re willing to donate so generously, both with their energy (looking at you, Shaunise!) and their resources.”

 Raffles and giving back

I also wanted to add a little fun to the lunch and gift a few students. I believe in sowing seeds in good soil. If it’s in your personal life or professional life, it’s always good to give back and that is part of my purpose in life. I wanted to gift a student who was in exit speeds with the purple books so that they can prep for the RPR written exam. I reached out to Monette Benoit, CRI, CPE, from San Antonio, Texas, and I told her what I was doing and I would like to purchase a set, and instead, she offered to donate the books. As I read her email I just cried because that is what you call teamwork.

I knew that I would have students from different speeds, and I wanted to make sure that I grouped them correctly. For the students that were not in exit speeds, I decided to maybe purchase a few drill books from Margie Wakeman Wells, CRI, from Los Angeles, Calif. I reached out to her and told her about the event that I had planned, and yes, another generous donation was made. I was not expecting any of this, and it just made my heart happy to have two amazing leaders in this profession donate grand prizes to the luncheon.

I personally wanted to sponsor a student a free NCRA student membership. I had close to seven non-members attend the luncheon, and one lucky winner was gifted a free membership. For the students that were just starting out within the profession and lower speeds, I held another raffle and gave out steno swag. I will continue to make this an annual event for the students that would like to have a lunch buddy during our annual conference.

The next luncheon will be held at NCRA’s 2021 Expo & Conference in Las Vegas, Nev. For any students that are planning to attend,, you can contact me at thestenoconnect@gmail.com if you would like to lunch together.

Grand prize

Rachel Helm: The purple books for the RPR Written Knowledge Test by Monette Benoit

Amanda Anderle: Bad Grammar/Good Punctuation and All Things English textbooks

Jessica Shines: Bad Grammar/Good Punctuation and Word Pares, Pears, Pairs textbooks

Justin Choi: NCRA Student Membership

Additional raffles

Roderic Walter: Steno Swag T-Shirt

Shakurra Amatulla: Steno Swag- T-Shirt

Misty Miranda: Steno Swag- T-Shirt

Shaunise Day is a student from Oakland, Calif.

Zooming in about student internships

Over the summer, the Student Court Reporter Association at Des Moines Area Community College in Newton, Iowa, met over Zoom to connect, catch up, and celebrate successes. “Several second-year students took the internship class in the summer,” said Patricia Ziegler, CRI, CPE, Court Reporting Department Chair, “and we all wanted to hear their stories of interning during the pandemic. Our internship students chatted about their experiences (most of which took place remotely). It’s always a good motivator to hear from students who are nearing the end of the program!”

After the meeting, Ziegler asked her internship students to write about their internships for Up-to-Speed.

Emma L. Rosky

The sudden shift of seeing other students each day and having the nice, structured classrooms being taken away was difficult for many of us. Internship was an added stress as our mentors were just as in the dark as we were. There were many days that were promised to be when things would return to normal, and they kept getting pushed back. When preparing my bag for the first day of in-person depositions, I never thought I’d be packing extra face masks for those who forgot theirs. I was so excited to tour the courthouse and maybe even meet a few judges, but we met through a webcam instead. However, I now feel that I am already a pro in videoconference hearings! I am so thankful for the reporters who went above and beyond to make my internship experience as normal as possible, but this will definitely be something to remember for the rest of my career.

Abbey Kahler

Abbey Kahler

I was blessed to intern during a global pandemic over the summer. I say “blessed” because it was such a unique experience and shaped me as a reporter. I was able to sit in on several cases each day in the comfort of my own home. I didn’t have to worry about parking, navigating my way around a courthouse, or hauling my machine around with me all day. This fall, I plan to start my job as a reporter in juvenile court. This one-of-a-kind internship has shaped me into the flexible, hardworking, and focused reporter that I’ve always wanted to be. I’m so excited to have this opportunity under my belt, and I cannot wait to see what other twists and turns are ahead for me as a new working reporter.

Sidney Frey

Going into my internship week, I was quite nervous. I was curious as to how my experience would go, considering the courthouses were closed to the public, along with freelance firms being online depositions only. Although I was unable to be in person, I still got plenty of experience and advice from fellow reporters who I worked with throughout the two weeks. Everyone I met was more than willing to answer any questions I had, along with providing me with all of the necessary tools I needed to have a successful internship experience. Going into the situation, I was unsure of how it would go, but it ended up being one of the best experiences by far in the court reporting program!

What is the best advice you have ever received?

Jonea Cassin

“I have been given lots of great advice,” says Jonea Cassin, a student at Cuyahoga Community College in Parma, Ohio. “Never give up, and don’t get down on yourself because tomorrow is a new day with more time to practice. Also, no matter how frustrated you get don’t throw your machine at the wall, you will regret it later.”

Up-to-Speed finds out how Cassin handles working full time and working toward her dream job.

UTS | How did you first get the idea of being a court reporter? 

JC | I have my bachelor’s degree in paralegal studies, so I have always enjoyed the legal field. I have worked at my county’s courthouse for almost 10 years now. In the summer of 2017, I was working as the jury manager. During one of the jury trials, the judge decided to take a break from voir dire, and the judge’s court reporter turned to me and said that she thought I would be really good at court reporting. I let that sink into my head for a little bit and tried to do as much research on it that I could. A few days later when the trial was over, we discussed it a little more.

UTS | What kinds of challenges have you faced during your court reporting program, and how have you overcome them? 

JC | That there is just not enough time in the day or the week. Working a full-time job, going to school, and having a life is a big challenge. I try to do some of my homework on my lunch break, and I also schedule practice time throughout my week to ensure that my homework gets done but that I also don’t get drained. 

UTS | Do you have a mentor? What impact has she had on you? 

JC | I do have a mentor. She is the court reporter that initially told me that I would be great at court reporting. She just retired, but she had worked at the courthouse for 41 years. She has been the best thing that has ever happened to me. She shares every excitement with me and encourages me not get down on myself if I am frustrated. It’s nice to even have a conversation with her just because she has been through it and understands. I think the impact that she has had on me is to keep pushing through school no matter what issues I face, because I know that she is here to support me. 

 UTS | If you were to go to a high school career fair to recruit students, what would you say to them about a career in court reporting and captioning? 

JC | I would tell them that it is not for everyone but to try either the NCRA A to Z® Intro to Steno Machine Shorthand Program or the Basic Training course to see if it would be something that would interest them. It is a degree that takes a lot of time to commit to but in the end it has so many rewards. There are so many different things that you can with the degree. It is a degree that what you get out is determined by the effort you put in. 

UTS | Where do you see yourself in five years? 

JC | I currently operate the digital recording system for a common pleas judge. I am hoping to graduate and be his stenographer court reporter. 

UTS | What do you do when you aren’t working? 

JC | Homework. But if I have spare time from homework, I enjoy spending time with my family or doing things outdoors like kayaking, walking in the park, sitting outside at a local winery with friends, or even sitting by a bon fire at night. 

Invest in your mental health with free webinars

For NCRA Mental Health Awareness Week, being held Oct. 5-9, members can learn more about how to take care of themselves through a series of free sessions that range from a discussion of the ramifications of working in the legal industry to strategies to create more resilience in your everyday life with better self-care.

 “With the deadlines and pressures in the legal field, it’s no wonder that taking care of ourselves can fall off our to-do lists,” says NCRA President Christine Phipps, RPR, a firm owner from North Palm Beach, Fla. “With this series of sessions, I hope that you can put yourself and your mental health back on that list.”

Although no CEUs are being offered for these sessions, the National Court Reporters Foundation (NCRF), which is sponsoring these sessions, feels that these are important topics that should be made available to all NCRA members. The sessions planned for the week include:

An Honest Discussion on Mental Health Issues in the Legal Field from All Stakeholders 

Oct. 5 — 8 p.m. Eastern 

Dori Foster-Morales, Esq.

Christine Phipps, RPR


Back to Basics: Mental Health Essentials during the Pandemic 

Oct. 6 — 3 p.m. Eastern 

Raymond J. Kotwicki, MD, MPH, DFAPA


Balance and Self-care in a World of COVID-19, Deadlines, and Virtuality   

Oct. 7 — 3 p.m. Eastern 

Vicki Akenhead Ruiz, FAPR, RPR, CMRS (Ret.)


*Special for students*

Self-Care: Managing Life with School, Family, Work – and a Pandemic

Oct. 7 — 7 p.m. Eastern

Dr. Sherry Cooper, LMFT


Practicing Mindfulness 

Oct. 8 — 1 p.m. Eastern  

Debi Galler


Self-Care 101 

Oct. 9 — 12 noon Eastern  

Aigner Fells, MS


“I’m looking forward to leading this discussion with Christine Phipps,” says Dori Foster-Morales, Esq., who will lead the Monday session with Phipps. “It’s important to acknowledge that working in the legal field can leave us open to stresses and pressures that are unique, and we need to protect the mental health of all members of our legal community. It is important to acknowledge and openly discuss these issues to address the support we all need. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated these stresses.”

Funded by the National Court Reporters Foundation, these six sessions are being offered free for NCRA members; however, no CEUs will be awarded to attendees. All sessions are being offered on Zoom, and times are all Eastern times. Registration is open now.

StreamText and Zoom

By Teresa Russ

Since the pandemic, Zoom and StreamText are as popular as peanut butter and jelly.

End users to first-time users are asking questions or offering suggestions on how to best use these two platforms. The developers of StreamText have listed on their website many frequently asked questions, such as, “Can screen readers read my realtime text in the player?” to “This is a long event and another realtime writer is going to help me. Can we switch writers without interruption?” And the answer is, “Yes! You can seamlessly change writers during a live event. For events that span long periods of time, you can easily pass control to a new writer. Just click on the event control and select the new writer for the event.”

Here is one discussion that appeared on Facebook. I myself had a question on how to prevent losing captioning while using Zoom. The question was asked on June 7, 2020, and Nicole Terlizzi Kochy, RPR, CRR, CRC, a CART captioner in Edison, N.J., said, “Did you try just straight into the box without StreamText? It’s a little more of a pain for the captioner, but it looks nice for the consumer with no delay. I find with StreamText only one line pops on at a time, and then it disappears, or if they are sending the Zoom to Facebook Live, the captions seem to disappear regardless. My personal preference is to give them a separate StreamText link, but I find consumers like it best directly into the box.”

As the discussion continued, more Facebook users chimed in. Mike Rowell, RDR, CRR, CRC, a freelance captioner in Placerville, Calif., shared this when someone asked about paragraphing: “Every time you send through a new paragraph, it wipes the subtitle box for the other viewers. If you’re fairly new to captioning directly to Zoom, I recommend setting up a test session using two devices and two separate Zoom logins. Caption from one and view subtitles from the other. I’ve seen some advice that you should include a new paragraph with every period or question mark in order to avoid accidentally filling up the box, but this is very problematic for a reader relying on subtitles who has a different view of the subtitles than the captioner.”

Rowell is very comfortable with the various platforms. When I contacted him and asked about the various platforms, he said, “There’s also Blackboard Connect, which works a lot like direct to Zoom, and there’s a way to do direct into Zoom with StenoKeys while also sending a separate stream to StreamText in a standalone window. Using multiple outputs in CaseCAT translation settings, you can write StenoKeys to Zoom and ASCII to StreamText at the same time.

“Still another option is to set it up so everything from StreamText flows into Zoom. It involves telling StreamText which Zoom URL to use, using something called an API token that you can pick up in Zoom once the host uses the ‘Assign to Type’ function.”

Denise L., a CART captioner, when asked about using the two platforms said, “The tough part about breakout rooms is you have to be assigned a new API token to embed the captions on the breakout room and do it again when going back to the main room.”

Nicholas Wilkie of StreamText said he gets a variety of questions on Zoom. I asked Wilkie whether there will be any update to the API token, and he said that Zoom has not released anything as of today. He said “Zoom is not really a CART platform.” However, what he likes is its “ease of use.” It’s remarkable that we have this technology available, especially now. Wilkie shared that users can find summary tools on Facebook, YouTube, as well as on their website to learn the different functions of using Zoom and StreamText.  

It’s always nice to have options. Wilkie said that StreamCast is used a lot. StreamCast is an application designed to allow you to overlay captions onto any application that does not have native captioning support. The application is similar to Text On Top but allows a direct feed from StreamText.Net. You don’t need to do anything special to the event when you schedule it. Just start the application and set the event name to the event you want to StreamCast

You can find information on how to use StreamCast on StreamText.Net. One really nice feature about StreamCast is that it stays on top, and you never lose the text, and it “looks great.” He said he does not get a lot of questions because users can learn how to manipulate the features. Another nice feature is that the user can use StreamText along with StreamCast at the same time. This allows the client to pick what they prefer.

(Excerpts taken from StreamText.Net)

Teresa Russ, CRI, is a CART Captioner and freelance reporter in Bellflower, Calif.

Celebrating National Punctuation Day

From a JCR Weekly poll

What punctuation mark is misused the most?

Comma 52.9 percent

Semi-colon 31.6 percent

Quotation marks 3.8 percent

Hyphen 3 percent

Exclamation mark 2.7 percent

Colon 1.9 percent

Dash 1.5 percent

Parentheses 0.8 percent

Question mark 0.8 percent

In honor of National Punctuation Day on Sept. 24, we asked NCRA members for examples of punctuation errors that are the most annoying. Here are some of the responses:

Not using the Oxford comma!!!!!

Rachel Barkume, RPR, CRR, a freelance reporter and CART Captioner in Alta, Calif.


 “This“. and “that“, Hurts to even type it that way!

Heather Bradfield, RPR, CRR, CRC, a freelance reporter in North Logan, Utah


People who use apostrophes to make nouns plural!

Stephanie Koenigs, RPR, a freelance reporter in Fond du lac, Wisc.


The dash because, if I’m using it, I’m usually trying to make sense out of someone’s sloppy, broken sentences. So I guess it’s really the speaker that annoys me.

Deborah Cohen-Rojas, RDR, CRR, an official reporter in Grayslake, Ill.


‘ (apostrophe) in the wrong place’s . It’s getting worse all the time.

Diane Stanley, a broadcast captioner in Ocean Shores, Wash.


Holiday cards that say From The Smith’s. I can’t even enjoy the sentiment of the season!

 Amy Doman, RMR, CRR, a freelance reporter in Carmel, Ind.


Apostrophe abuse. Apostrophes used for plurals or in possessive pronouns like her’s or their’s instead of hers or theirs.

Elsa Jorgensen, a freelance reporter in Birmingham, Mich.


Omitted direct address commas.

Rich Germosen, RDR, CRR, a freelance reporter in North Brunswick, N.J.


We are the Blackburns, not the Blackburn’s.

Brenda Blackburn, RPR, a freelance reporter in Hollandale, Miss.


1. Hyphenated adverb/adjective pairs and 2. “She was 10-years-old.” Aggh! “She was a 10-year-old girl,” great.

Aimee Suhie, a freelance reporter in New Fairfield, Conn.


My number one is when the apostrophe is used with numbers.

“It happened in the 1980’s.”

“The price was in the 140’s.”

Stop the madness!

Cassy Kerr, RPR, CRR, CRC, an official reporter in The Village, Okla.


The misuse of plural possessives.

Barb Quinn, RMR, a freelance reporter in West Chester, Pa.


For me it’s not using a semicolon before “and” when joining two clauses when there is punctuation in one of the clauses.

Susan Horak, RDR, CRR, a scopist in Columbus, Ohio

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.

Coming soon, fan favorites from NCRA’s Connect Virtual 2020

If you missed NCRA’s Connect Virtual 2020 conference, don’t worry. On Oct. 1 six of the fan favorite sessions that were recorded will be available as e-sessions for purchase. The cost for each session is $55 for members and $79 for nonmembers. Each of the sessions are worth 0.1 CEU.

The e-sessions being offered include the following:

Reporters and Gadgets and Apps — Oh, My!
Presented by Lynette Mueller, RDR, CRR

Learn to be self-sufficient, productive, efficient, and courageous in your everyday professional life! Lynette Mueller will share the gadgets, apps, and other resources that assist her to meet the many challenges that may arise in the deposition or courtroom setting. She will also talk about the workflow she uses after the job — work smarter, not harder! This session will wind up with discussion from the audience and sharing other gadgets that have helped them along their “Yellow Brick Road.”

Ethics Jeopardy
Presented by Andrea Kreutz , CLVS, Mindy Sindiong, CLVS, LaJuana Pruitt, CLVS, Tim Janes, CLVS

Come join an educational game show where contestants will answer everyday videographer scenarios. Categories include Remote Depositions, The Secret World, and It’s Not That Kind of Video.

Just Okay is NOT Okay; Is YOUR Realtime Good Enough?
Presented by Anissa Nierenberger, RPR, CRR, CRC, CRI

While realtime does not mean perfection, how do you know if your realtime measures up as a sellable product? Let’s look beyond the gray and examine concrete, real-world examples of what is great, good, and just okay. Just because you can read through it doesn’t mean that your clients can. Anissa Nierenberger will debunk untranslate rate myths and other misperceptions about quality realtime. She’ll also provide solutions to common stacking and easy brief ideas, as well as explain why you should be editing in a way that school never taught you! If you’ve felt “in the dark” regarding realtime standards, you won’t want to miss this presentation!

Social Media Bootcamp
Presented by Cathy O’Neal

What social media should I use? When should I post? How often? What should I say? Do I have to answer every stupid comment? Can’t someone else just do it for me? Social media can be just one more chore, or it can help you gain visibility, reputation, and clients. Learn the who, what, when, where, and why of social media from a seasoned communications pro who finished 2019 with a 3.2 million Facebook reach! Weed out the stuff you don’t need, focus on the stuff you do need, and walk away from the session with action items you can do that day to start building the social media presence you want.

Work Smarter, Not Harder
Presented by Allison Hall, RMR, CRR

Are you running your transcript load, or is it running you? Are you dreaming about weekends to yourself and vacations where the laptop stays at home? “Work Smarter, Not Harder” will teach you ways to up your efficiency, increase your productivity, and reduce the amount of stress in a high-stress field.

Marking Exhibits Electronically for Remote Proceedings
Presented by Rene White Moarefi, RPR, CRR

This session will cover the steps for marking exhibits electronically during remote proceedings, including download and setup of electronic exhibit stamps.

For more information or to purchase any of these sessions beginning Oct. 1, click here.