Register now for the March NCRA Town Hall

Don’t miss out on the next virtual NCRA Town Hall, scheduled for Saturday, March 21, at 10 a.m. (Eastern). NCRA President Max Curry, RPR, CRI, will be joined by Director Cindy Isaacsen, RPR, a freelance court reporter from Shawnee, Kan., and NCRA Executive Director Dave Wenhold, CAE, PLC. Conversation will include the impact of the coronavirus on businesses, as well as the importance of advocacy and NCRA’s upcoming Leadership & Legislative Boot Camp, which is set for May 17-19 in Alexandria, Va.

The NCRA virtual Town Hall meetings also offer members the opportunity to ask questions via the Q&A feature. Questions can also be submitted in advance to lbutler@ncra.org.

 Members can also catch up on previous Town Halls by clicking here. Only NCRA Members may attend the Town Halls.  Why wait? Register now!

Register now for NCRA’s 2020 Leadership & Legislative Boot Camp

Registration is now open for NCRA’s 2020 Leadership & Legislative Boot Camp being held May 17-19 at the Embassy Suites by Hilton in beautiful Old Town Alexandria, Va. Book your hotel stay by April 24 to receive the special NCRA rate of $239 per night.

NCRA’s Leadership & Legislative Boot Camp offers an immersive, hands-on opportunity for members to advocate for court reporting and captioning. Attendees will participate in intensive educational sessions, leadership training, and mock meetings to help them hone the skills and strategies necessary to advocate in their state legislatures on behalf of the court reporting and captioning professions.

Attendees will also have the opportunity to network with other NCRA members and key influencers who are passionate about the profession. The event culminates with a trip to Capitol Hill where attendees will meet with their legislators and key legislative staff to advocate for such legislation as the reauthorization of the Training for Realtime Writers Act, a grant program to encourage careers in realtime writing and court reporting. The program allows colleges and universities to apply for funding specifically to help encourage more students to pursue a career in realtime writing, closed captioning, or court reporting.

“Every professional in every career needs to be aware of regulatory and legislative measures at the local, state, or federal levels that could impact their business, whether those measures are negative or positive,” said NCRA President Max Curry, RPR, CRI, a court reporter and firm owner from Franklin, Tenn. “NCRA’s Leadership and Legislative Boot Camp provides attendees with the tools, tactics, and skills necessary to successfully monitor issues and advocate for laws and regulations that protect their business and their profession,” added Curry.

This year’s Boot Camp schedule features presentations by NCRA Executive Director Dave Wenhold, CAE, PLC, who will offer practical tips and advice on being more effective in governing an association and will also lead role-playing scenarios. Wenhold will be joined by NCRA’s Director of State Government Relations Jocelynn A. Moore, J.D., to lead other sessions that will cover politics 101, using grassroots advocacy for maximum success, and the dos and don’ts for effective networking on the Hill.

Other sessions will address the state of court reporting and captioning.

“NCRA’s Legislative Boot Camp is the most valuable professional training I’ve ever attended. The tools and skills I learned helped me become an effective advocate for our profession not only at our state legislature, but throughout the legal community,” said Liz Harvey, RPR, CCR, a freelance court reporter from Seattle, Wash., and chair of NCRA’s National Congress of State Associations.

“You’ll find yourself putting your training to use even outside of court reporting. And the best part for me was establishing friendships and professional contacts throughout the country. It’s a great experience!”

Registration rates for NCRA’s 2020 Leadership & Legislative Boot Camp includes the scheduling of meetings with lawmakers and key legislative staff, and transportation to and from Capitol Hill. Be sure to also book your hotel stay by April 24 to receive the special NCRA rate of $239 per night, which includes a cooked-to-order breakfast each morning and a complimentary evening reception.

Proofreaders speak out for National Grammar Day

In honor of National Grammar Day (March 4), we recently asked the NCRA Proofreading Advisory Council this question, “What grammar mistakes do you see the most, and/or which mistakes bother you the most?”

Here are some of their answers:

“I think commas are the hardest thing to deal with. Different people have been taught different ways to use commas, and I understand from my proofreader that the younger attorneys are learning a way that is somewhat different than some of us ‘older’ ones were taught.”

Margaret C. Turner, RPR, a freelance reporter in Mobile, Ala.


“I dislike hyphenating all adverbs with adjectives, and I think I’m right. Like she was a smartly dressed woman. It is an adverb modifying an adjective, right? So no hyphen. I think the rule I learned was take away the adjective – dressed – and if it doesn’t make sense without it – she was a smartly woman – then you don’t need the hyphen. It seems like all journalists are hyphen happy these days. Oops, hyphen-happy!” 

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


“The one I see a lot that just drives me crazy is then and than. How difficult is it to get that one right? And so many people don’t. Oh, and don’t get me started on a plural possessive.” 

Shellene L. Iverson, a freelance reporter in Portland, Ore.


“One of the grammar mistakes that bothers me a lot is your/you’re. Running a close second is than/then.”

Janine Ferren, RPR, CRR, a freelance reporter in Fishers, Ind.


“When I think of grammar mistakes, I think of the speaker who says you was instead of you were.  Something we can’t change. Besides that, when they say worst case scenario and someone makes it worse case.

Sue Horak, FAPR, RDR, CRR, a scopist in Columbus, Ohio.

Michigan Association of Professional Court Reporters wins proclamation drawing

The Michigan Association of Professional Court Reporters (MAPCR) was drawn as the winner of NCRA’s 2020 Court Reporting & Captioning Week proclamation challenge. The proclamation was signed by Michigan’s Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in recognition of the week and was submitted to NCRA by MAPCR President Rochelle L. McNally, RPR, CRC, CRR, a broadcast captioner from Rockford, Mich.

“Court Reporting & Captioning Week is a valuable marketing tool in bringing awareness to our profession,” said McNally. “The idea of dedicating a week to the recognition of our valuable work and requesting a proclamation from state governors is pure genius.  Marketing builds awareness and we need more of it!  Michigan appreciates the opportunity to win an NCRA convention registration.”

2020 Court Reporting & Captioning Week was observed with an array of activities and celebrations Feb. 8-15 by members, state associations, and schools, and celebrated the theme For the love of steno.

A total of 16 state proclamations and two at the national level were obtained in honor of the week. As the winner of NCRA’s second Court Reporting & Captioning Week proclamation challenge, MAPCR will be given one full registration to NCRA’s 2020 Conference & Expo being held Aug. 6-9 in Orlando, Fla.

In addition to all the activities and celebrations marking the week, there was also ample media coverage showcasing the profession. To read more about how others celebrated, visit the TheJCR.com and search 2020 Court Reporting & Captioning Week.

Even though the 2020 event is over, it is always a good time celebrate and promote the court reporting and captioning professions. Be sure to visit the NCRA Court Reporting & Captioning Week resources page to download a variety of materials, including many that can be customized and designed to help promote the profession.

Finally, don’t forget to mark your calendars and start planning now to celebrate NCRA’s 2021 Court Reporting & Captioning Week Feb. 6-13.

MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow highlights the work of human court reporters

On Feb. 20, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow expressed her thanks to court reporters, saying: “It is really hard to get detailed, perfect court transcripts turned around same day so that we in the news media can read from them on the same day that court proceedings happen.”

During the segment, Maddow discussed the work of court reporters with colleague Lawrence O’Donnell. He noted the stenographers “are just miracle workers in the way they capture every word.”

“We are happy that Ms. Maddow took a moment to recognize the talents of court reporters,” said NCRA President Max Curry, RPR, CPE. “We were aware of Ms. Maddow’s admiration for the transcripts she uses regularly and the appreciation she has shown many of our colleagues working in the courts over the years. But we are so appreciative of her taking the time to recognize our hard work on national television, so that more people can recognize the importance of the official record in courts as well as the role stenographers have in protecting the public interest.” Curry also sent a letter of thanks to Maddow and MSNBC.

In the past few weeks, court reporters and captioners throughout the United States and around the world have sent articles and letters to MSNBC and other news outlets and then shared those posts through a wide variety of social media outlets to call attention to the importance of the court reporter in legal proceedings in local, state, and federal courthouses, as well as on the floor of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. These articles and posts were in response to other comments made on MSNBC by Brian Williams and former Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill. Many court reporters and captioners have noted that accurate verbatim transcripts happen with technology, often by providing same-day transcripts and sometimes by providing access to a record in real time. Captioners shared that they use the same technology to provide access to public hearings, classrooms, conferences, and live national broadcasts for people who are deaf or hard of hearing. This grassroots campaign overlapped the celebration of the NCRA Court Reporting & Captioning Week, held Feb. 8-15, during which the Association secured official proclamations recognizing the work of court reporters and captioners by U.S. Reps. Ron Kind of Wisconsin and Rodney Davis of Illinois.

A sample of the articles referenced include:

“Thank you to everyone who supported this effort,” said NCRA Executive Director Dave Wenhold, CAE, PLC. “Clearly, your time and effort have helped the professions be recognized and valued for your technical skills, your quiet integrity, and your importance in providing an accurate and reliable transcript. We have always known that by working together, we have a stronger voice.”

Lessons learned at the 2020 NCRA Business Summit

Competitors in the Lost Pines Olympics

Participants left the 2020 NCRA Business Summit with useful information about leadership, security, finances, body language, and the state of the court reporting industry. In between those sessions, they also had time to network with colleagues, spend time at the Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort and Spa, and meet Yogi, a friendly 9-year-old alpaca. Extra opportunities for participants included the team-building Lost Pines Olympics and opening and closing receptions.

Speaker Chris Moyseos, an Austin-based wealth management specialist with Morgan Stanley, told participants that whether a person is starting a small business or expanding one, following a roadmap is essential. Focus on profit rather than revenue, with a plan to “use the money to put back into the business,” he advised.

To prepare for financial success when operating a small business, “put everything in place before you need it,” he said. “You have to be really smart with the way you use that line of credit. Banks can be very skittish.”

He also said having a financial plan is essential. “Pay yourself first. You must know your budget. Be prepared: Social security statement, income, other income sources (rental properties, brokerage accounts, insurance accounts). Know when you want to retire. Do you want to leave a legacy? Do you have a plan for long-term care?  Half of your medical bills [could be] in the last two to three months of your life,” he said.

 “As a working reporter and firm owner, I found the seminars to be well worth the cost,” said Kathleen M. Soloaga, CSR, a freelancer in Napa, Calif. “The speakers were informative, interesting, and on topics that I found quite helpful. Prior to attending, I honestly didn’t fully understand the value of networking. This was invaluable as a somewhat new firm owner. Having the opportunity to speak with other firm owners with much more experience than myself and pelt them with questions and receive honest input was invaluable. Thank you so much to all of my ‘victims’! I’ve come back home with a load of knowledge and contacts that will be extremely helpful in running my business. Would highly recommend!”

Registration opens Feb. 20 for the NCRA CLVS Production Exam

Registration opens Feb. 20 for the next Certified Legal Videographer Production Exam being held March 27-28 at NCRA’s headquarters in Reston, Va. Space is limited, so candidates are encouraged to sign up early before registration closes on March 15.

Candidates who attend the March dates may also register for one of two Hands-on Training sessions, which are held prior to the Production Exam.

During the Production Exam, candidates will run the show at a staged deposition and be graded on their ability to follow video deposition guidelines and to produce a usable, high-quality video of the deposition. Candidates must have taken the mandatory CLVS Certification Workshop first, which is available online, and are strongly encouraged to take the Hands-on Training. Candidates are strongly encouraged to complete the educational components first as questions on the exam are developed from the materials provided.

Motivated candidates may also take the CLVS Written Knowledge Test (WKT) in March.

The CLVS Production Exam is administered two times a year: spring and fall (depending on interest). The cost of the exam is $325 for NCRA members and $425 for nonmembers. The Mandatory Certification Workshop, Hands-on Training, and CLVS WKT are covered under separate fees.

To learn more about the CLVS program or to register for the CLVS Production Exam and/or Hands-on Training, visit NCRA.org/CLVS.

NCRA members who hold another credential, such as the RPR, can earn 0.25 PDC each after passing the CLVS Written Knowledge Test and the CLVS Production Exam.

Please contact NCRA by calling 800-272-6272 or email testing@ncra.org for more information.

Register now for the next NCRA Town Hall

Don’t miss out on the next virtual NCRA Town Hall, scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 22, at 10 a.m. (Eastern). NCRA President Max Curry, RPR, CRI, will be joined by Carol Studenmund, FAPR, RDR, CRR, CRC, president of LNS Captioning, Portland, Ore., and past Chair of NCRA’s Captioning Committee. Conversation will include potential issues and subjects trending in the captioning profession and more.

The NCRA virtual Town Hall meetings also offer members the opportunity to ask questions via the Q&A feature. Questions can also be submitted in advance to lbutler@ncra.org.

Registration for the Feb. 22 Town Hall closes at midnight Feb. 21; so please register now. Members can also catch up on previous Town Halls by clicking here. Only NCRA Members may attend the Town Halls.

Court reporters compete to see who has the fastest fingers in NYC

The Queens Daily Eagle posted an article on Feb. 13 about a group of 15 nimble-fingered students from Plaza College in Queens, N.Y. The students will put their court reporting skills to the test as they compete in NCRA’s Student Speed Contest in honor of Court Reporting & Captioning Week. 

Read more.

Feeling the love for steno across the nation

The Florida Court Reporters Association is sponsoring two billboards for #CRCW20.

NCRA’s 2020 Court Reporting & Captioning Week kicked off on Feb. 8, and members, state associations, and schools report that participation is in full swing. With this year’s theme, For the Love of Steno, activities being shared range from securing official proclamations recognizing the week to news articles in the media, from billboards and advertisements to contests, presentations, and more. Below is a glimpse of some of what’s happening across the country.

An official national proclamation has been secured by U.S. Rep. Ron Kind of Wisconsin. Kind is a co-sponsor of bi-partisan legislation introduced in December 2019 that will reauthorize a grant program to encourage careers in realtime writing and court reporting.

At the state and local levels, official proclamations have been secured by the following:

  • Michigan Court Reporters Association
  • Nevada Court Reporters Association
  • Ohio Court Reporters Association
  • Texas Court Reporters Association
  • Bexar County (Texas) Court Reporters Association
  • Wisconsin Court Reporters Association

For the second consecutive year, NCRA has issued its own challenge that calls on all state affiliates to help celebrate 2020 Court Reporting & Captioning Week by securing an official proclamation recognizing the week by their state governor or a state lawmaker. States that submit a copy of their official state proclamation recognizing the week to pr@ncra.org will be entered into a drawing to win one free 2020 Convention & Expo registration. A downloadable sample proclamation is available on NCRA’s Court Reporting & Captioning resource page.

Fun times

Plenty of fun activities have also been planned to celebrate the week. For example, members of the Florida Court Reporters Association (FCRA) are encouraged to mark the week by making a donation to the state association and be entered into a drawing being held at the end of the week for a chance to win a free registration to the state association’s annual convention being held in Key Largo, July 17-19.

Members of the New York State Court Reporters Association in the Buffalo area will celebrate during a happy hour on Feb. 13, which will bring together officials, freelancers, captioners, students, judges, lawyers, deputies, and others.

Members of the Texas Court Reporters Association (TCRA) have an entire week scheduled with events including the following daily social media campaigns:

  • Feb. 8 – Stylin’ Saturday: Post a photo of themselves in a T-shirt or cap
  • Feb. 9 – Steno Sunday: Photo of your steno machine (Does yours have a name?)
  • Feb. 10 – Meme Monday: Share a court reporter-related meme
  • Feb. 11 – Testimony Tuesday: Share interesting/funny testimony you’ve reported
  • Feb 12 – Where are you Wednesday: Post a picture of your workplace
  • Feb. 13 – TCRA Thursday: Your favorite photo of a TCRA event
  • Feb. 14 – Finally, Friday: “It’s the Weekend” picture
  • Feb. 15 – Spelling Saturday: Share your cringe-worthy photo of bad spelling or bad punctuation

TCRA members will also have the opportunity to visit with court reporting students at San Antonio College, while attending a happy hour and a special breakfast for steno reporters and captioners.

Wisconsin Court Reporters Association members are encouraged to print and display the governor’s official proclamation recognizing the week, as well as share what they love about their jobs on social media, showcase what they do at a school demo or community event, reach out to media outlets, set up a display in the lobby of their courthouse or office, offer to give a jury or attorneys a realtime demonstration, and more.

Shout it out

Advertisements and billboards have also popped up this year in honor of the week. The FCRA sponsored two billboards promoting the profession. One billboard is in Orlando and the other is in Tampa.

To help spread the word, eCourt Reporters, based in Burlington, Wis., is running an advertisement on radio station WTMJ620 about the importance of using stenographic court reporters and captioners to ensure accuracy in the courtroom, the depo room, and in the captioning of live events. Representatives of the firm will also be promoting the court reporting profession, along with live stenographers, at the American Bar Association Tech Show in Chicago, Ill., and at industry events being held in Iowa and Wisconsin. The company also has a television appearance scheduled for March to promote the profession.

Additional activities

Members of the California Court Reporters Association produced a video to circulate during the week explaining how an official court reporter makes the official record and plans to share it on social media and with judges, attorneys, and other parties.

At Cuyahoga Community College, Cuyahoga, Ohio, where the court reporting program is experiencing a record enrollment this semester, students will hear a “surprise” speaker hosted via WEBEX so those locally and around the country can listen in. Students will also be taking shifts in the main galleria of the college to staff a prize wheel and steno machine station. Passersby who try out the steno machine then have the chance to spin the wheel for a prize.

Once again, the National Congress of State Associations (NCSA) is offering members the chance to win event registrations and more for promoting the court reporting and captioning professions beginning now and culminating at the end of the official week.

The NCSA State Challenge offers a friendly contest among state associations and individual NCRA members to spread the word about the benefits of choosing a career in court reporting or captioning. The 2020 NCSA State Challenge marks the sixth year the gauntlet has been thrown down. Winners will receive a variety of prizes ranging from complimentary NCRA event registrations to vouchers for continuing education.

Remember to share how you celebrate the week by sending information about and photos of your event to NCRA’s Communications Team at pr@ncra.org. Everyone is also encouraged to share his or her activities on social media using the hashtags #CRCW20 and #DiscoverSteno.

And don’t forget, be sure to check out NCRA’s resources for 2020 Court Reporting & Captioning Week for the most up-to-date materials designed to help you celebrate the week and beyond.

Happy 2020 Court Reporting & Captioning Week! We look forward to sharing your stories.