Honor Holocaust Remembrance Day by providing transcription

“For the dead and the living, we must bear witness. Not only are we responsible for the memories of the dead, we are responsible for what we do with those memories.”     Elie Wiesel

The internationally recognized date for Holocaust Remembrance Day is Thursday, May 2. As the world marks the anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, court reporters and captioners can honor this remembrance by volunteering to transcribe a prerecorded interview with a Holocaust survivor.

As part of the Oral Histories program of the National Court Reporters Foundation (NCRF), NCRF has an agreement with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D. C., to have court reporters transcribe the histories of Holocaust survivors. The museum currently has a registry of more than 200,000 records related to survivors and their families from around the world, and NCRF is honored to be able to provide assistance in transcribing them for posterity and public research.

The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum was dedicated in 1993 as a living memorial to the Holocaust. The museum inspires citizens and leaders worldwide to confront hatred, prevent genocide, and promote human dignity. Its far-reaching educational programs and global impact are made possible by generous donors.

PDCs for participation

Certified court reporters will receive 0.25 professional development credits (PDCs) for each transcription, up to a maximum of 1.0 PDC in their certification cycle.

To participate in NCRF’s Holocaust Survivors Oral Histories Program, please email Sharon Davoren, Foundation Assistant, at sdavoren@ncra.org.

The museum’s transcript guidelines can be found here.

Angel Donor Profile: Aimee Goldberg

Aimee Goldberg

The National Court Reporters Foundation (NCRF) supports the advancement of the court reporting and captioning professions through education, scholarship, recognition, and programs critical to preserving the past, enriching the present, and securing the future of the profession. NCRF is able to do the great work it does with donations from individuals and organizations through various donor programs, including the popular Angels program.

Each month, the JCR Weekly will highlight one of the more than 100 Angels who support the National Court Reporters Foundation year after year. This month, we profile Aimee Goldberg, CEO of and partner in Benchmark Reporting Agency in Minneapolis, Minn.

JCR | Let’s begin with learning where you are based and what you do.

AG | I own Benchmark Reporting Agency along with my partner, Eric Goldberg. I oversee the administration and operations of our firm.

JCR | How long have you been an Angel?

AG | I have been a contributing member of the NCRF Angels program since 2008.

JCR | Clearly being an Angel is important to you. Why?

AG | I am a firm believer in supporting and giving back to our profession. NCRF supports our profession in many ways. NCRF creates exposure, building awareness and knowledge about our industry. NCRF also provides financial support to students with scholarships and programs designed to enhance their education. One of the programs will pay a student’s NCRA dues upon completion of two oral histories through the Oral Histories Program. This gives them access to invaluable resources available to NCRA members, including the JCR

JCR | What is your favorite NCRF program?

AG | My favorite NCRF program is the Oral Histories Program. This allows our profession to shine by providing a written record of those who were interviewed as a part of world events that should never be forgotten. This is a prime example of the far-reaching power of the written word.

Learn more about the NCRF Angel Donors program, or become an Angel.

Nominate an altruistic member for the Aurelio Award

Nominations are now being accepted for the Santo J. Aurelio Award for Altruism, the highest honor awarded by the National Court Reporters Foundation (NCRF). The deadline for nominations is June 30.

The Aurelio Award, which is presented annually at the NCRA Convention & Expo, recognizes a longtime captioner or court reporter who has given back selflessly to the profession or community. The nominee must be an NCRA Participating or Registered member or a Retired Participating or Retired Registered member, have demonstrated altruistic behavior, and have been a working captioner or reporter for at least 25 years.

“Receiving the Santo Aurelio Award was an emotional and overwhelming moment, only made better because I was able to share it in person with so many friends and colleagues who offered their heartfelt congratulations and kind words,” said Marjorie A. Peters, RMR, CRR, a freelance court reporter and firm owner from Pittsburgh, Pa., who was honored with the 2018 award.

“When I look at past years’ awardees, I am in awe to be included now in their company and then even more humbled that my dear friends nominated me and saw it through,” she added.

For questions or more information about the Santo J. Aurelio Award for Altruism, contact NCRF Deputy Director Mary Petto at mpetto@ncra.org.

Nominate now.

NCRF scholarships – open to qualifying students at any court reporting program

The National Court Reporters Foundation (NCRF) is now accepting nominations for the Robert H. Clark and Frank Sarli Memorial scholarships for students, as well as applications for the New Professional Reporter Grant. The deadline for all of these awards is June 1. Beginning this year, all NCRF scholarships are open to NCRA student members enrolled in any court reporting program, not just NCRA approved programs. The New Professional Reporter Grant is now open to qualifying graduates of any court reporting program.

The Robert H. Clark and Frank Sarli Memorial scholarships are awarded to high-achieving students nearing the end of their court reporting program who meet a number of criteria, including current student membership in NCRA, having passed at least one Q&A test at a minimum of 200 wpm, and a GPA of at least 3.5 based on a 4.0 standard.

 “This [scholarship] has given me an extra boost of motivation and confidence I needed while I head into my final semester,” said Megan Baeten upon receiving the Frank Sarli Memorial Scholarship in 2018. “It will help me with the cost of schooling for this last semester without the added stress of how I will pay for it. It will also help me with some of the start-up expenses upon graduating, as well as the certification fees.”

The New Professional Reporter Grant is given to a promising working reporter in his/her first year out of school who meets a number of criteria, including current NCRA membership, a graduating GPA of at least 3.5 on a 4.0 standard, and a recommendation from the person’s current employer.

Students looking for scholarships can also consider the CASE scholarships and NCRA A to Z ™ scholarships. Deadlines for these two scholarships, which are also supported by funds from NCRF, have been extended to April 19.

More scholarships and other NCRF programs can be found by visiting NCRA.org/NCRF.

Angel Donor Profile: Marjorie Peters

Marjorie Peters

The National Court Reporters Foundation (NCRF) supports the advancement of the court reporting and captioning professions through education, scholarship, recognition, and programs critical to preserving the past, enriching the present, and securing the future of the profession. NCRF is able to do the great work it does with donations from individuals and organizations through various donor programs, including the popular Angels program.

Each month, NCRA will highlight one of the more than 100 Angels who support the National Court Reporters Foundation year after year. This month, the column kicks off with a profile of Marjorie Peters, RMR, CRR, who also holds NCRA’s Realtime Systems Administrator certificate.

JCR | Let’s begin with learning where you are based and what you do.

MP | Based in Pittsburgh, Pa., covering Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Virginia, Washington D.C., and Maryland. I am a freelance reporter and small firm owner covering complex realtime and all types of litigation, large and small.

JCR | How long have you been an Angel?

MP | Since the Angel program started, nearly 15 years ago!

JCR | Clearly being an Angel is important to you. Why?

MP | I did not attend college, but having a skilled trade that has become a career has offered me the opportunity to achieve goals and work in places with people I never would have imagined. It has given me freedom of choice and flexibility in my life. I want everyone to realize their own goals as well, and the Foundation programs offer those opportunities to others as well.  How can I not support that!?

JCR | Are you involved with the Foundation in other ways?

MP | I am on the Angels Gatherers Committee! Ask me about being an Angel! It’s not as hard as you think. After I was an Angel for the first couple of years, I realized it was a commitment that I would always make to myself and others because NCRF’s programs really do help others. Foundation programs empower!

JCR | What is your favorite NCRF program?   

MP | Well, the easy answer is the Oral Histories Project. It is a labor of love and the best day you will ever have. The Foundation programs support education through scholarships, support reporting firms by offering legal education resources, and of course the Corrine Clark Professionalism Institute supports fledgling reporters and firms. The Foundation lifts students, reporters, and firms to success personally and professionally.  

Learn more about the NCRF Angel Donors program, or become an Angel.

Apply for NCRA scholarships, including the all-new NCRA A to Z scholarship

Each year, NCRA offers members several scholarships to support students as they work to become professional court reporters and captioners. In addition to offering the annual scholarships managed by the Council on Approved Student Education (CASE), the National Court Reporters Foundation has initiated an all-new scholarship to help students who have completed the NCRA A to Z™ Intro to Steno Machine Shorthand program with the next step in their training.

Applications must be submitted for these two scholarships by April 1, so don’t hesitate!

CASE scholarships. Five scholarships are available. Students attending an NCRA-approved court reporting program and writing between 140 and 180 wpm are encouraged to apply for this scholarship. Teachers and mentors, let them know that you see their potential. The application period closes April 1.  

NCRA A to Z ™ scholarshipsUp to 10 students will receive a $500 scholarship. Qualified applicants must have completed the NCRA A to Z™ Intro to Steno Machine Shorthand program as well as pass a skills test writing between 60 and 100 wpm, among other eligibility requirements. Nominations close April 1.

Scholarships are supported by funds from the National Court Reporters Foundation (NCRF).

Remember to nominate for awards and scholarships, including the all-new NCRA A to Z scholarships

Time is running out to recognize someone special! Every year, NCRA offers members several scholarships and awards to bring attention to the people who are contributing to the profession in important ways. In addition to the annual scholarships managed by the Council on Approved Student Education (CASE), the National Court Reporters Foundation has initiated an all-new scholarship to help students who have completed the NCRA A to Z™ Intro to Steno Machine Shorthand program with the next step in their training. Scholarships are supported by funds from the National Court Reporters Foundation (NCRF).

Nominations are now open, so consider nominating individuals for these special opportunities:

CASE scholarships. Five scholarships are available. Students attending an NCRA-approved court reporting program and writing between 140 and 180 wpm are encouraged to apply for this scholarship. Teachers and mentors, let them know that you see their potential. The nomination period closes April 1.  

NCRA A to Z ™ scholarshipsUp to 10 students will receive a $500 scholarship. Qualified applicants must have completed the NCRA A to Z™ Intro to Steno Machine Shorthand program as well as pass a skills test writing between 60 and 100 wpm, among other eligibility requirements. Nominations close April 1.

 CASE Educator of the YearThis special award is for a court reporting instructor. Was there someone special who inspired you, who got you through the ups, downs, and plateaus of your court reporting classes? If your teacher was an incredible influence in you getting started, now is the time to say thank you by nominating that special someone for the CASE Educator of the Year Award. Nominations close April 1.

Fellow of the Academy of Professional ReportersIf you know a dedicated court reporter or captioner who has contributed to the profession in a big way over the years, nominate that person as a Fellow. Candidates must be active practitioners in the field and have at least 10 years of experience. Criteria for nomination include the publication of important papers, legislative or creative contributions to the field, and service on committees or boards. Nominations close April 1.

NCRF Strategic Plan update

Last month, Tami Keenan, FAPR, RPR, CPE, Chair of the National Court Reporters Foundation (NCRF) Board of Trustees, announced that NCRF has adopted a new three-year strategic plan. The robust plan includes efforts to support the NCRA A to Z™ Intro to Steno Machine Shorthand program, the advancement of court reporting students and new professionals through scholarships and grants, and the promotion of the forward growth of NCRA members in their profession.

The 2019-2021 NCRF Strategic Plan focuses on three areas of expansion:

I. Improve communication and better articulate value to constituents.

II. Build and operate a sustainable organizational and financial model.

III. Position the profession and Foundation for the future by focusing on being more inclusive and increasing support of educational initiatives.

“Well into its first two months of adoption, the Strategic Plan already has some boxes checked off, particularly in the first pillar,” said Keenan, providing an update on activities happening at the Foundation. “The Trustees and staff, following the roadmap laid out within the Strategic Plan, have already begun to revitalize several of the programs that NCRF offers and, more importantly, engaged an aggressive communication plan to educate NCRA members about the Foundation’s value as well as inform the general public,” she added.

Donors and members of the NCRF community will soon notice more opportunities to support the work of the Foundation, as the Board of Trustees begins work on initiatives to build a more sustainable financial model, adding building blocks to Pillar II of the Strategic Plan.

Debra Cheyne, MA, CSR (OR/WA), Chair of the Foundation’s Angel Gatherers Committee, is a strong proponent of the NCRA A to Z™ Program component of the plan, written into the plan’s third pillar. “As a long-term member of the NCRF Board of Trustees, I am excited that our three-year strategic plan promotes NCRA’s A to Z program to recruit and begin training the next generation of court reporters and captioners,” she said.

The full 2019-2021 NCRF Strategic Plan can be found here.

Angel Gatherers Committee Profile: Melanie L. Humphrey-Sonntag

Melanie L. Humphrey-Sonntag

NCRF is pleased to introduce the Angels community to Angel Gatherers Committee member Melanie L. Humphrey-Sonntag, FAPR,  RDR, CRR, CRC. Melanie is a contracted freelance realtime reporter with Planet Depos in Chicago, Ill. We sat down with Melanie to learn a little more about her and her connection and commitment to the Foundation.

NCRF: So how long have you been engaged in and with the Foundation?

Sonntag: I’ve known of the Foundation nearly my entire career and always tried to carve out a small donation. I’ve worked on several phone-a-thons and was privileged to be part of the 1993 opening of the Robert H. Clark Library at NCRA’s headquarters. When I was on the NCRA Board of Directors, I worked closely with the Foundation and served as a trustee while I was NCRA vice president.

NCRF: Are there other Foundation programs you’ve volunteered for?

Sonntag: I’ve volunteered for various events and fundraisers for NCRF, worked briefly on the Major Gifts campaign in 2003 or 2004, and have been gathering Angels since the program’s inception.

NCRF: Have you held other roles at NCRA?

Sonntag: Yes, multiple NCRA roles. I’ve been a member since 1979, committee service since early 1990s, chief examiner for more than 10 years, I’ve attended multiple state leadership events, I was an NCRA director in 2005, vice president, president elect, president 2010-2011, and past president. I also became a Fellow of the Academy of Professional Reporters in 2001.

NCRF: Why are you an Angel donor?

Sonntag: The Angels program is an exceptional way to be able to give back to my beloved profession and help populate the future reporting workforce. To quote Forrest Brown, “Court reporting has been very, very good to me. It provided a great living for my family. The least I can do is give a little back.”  With the ability to pay an Angels pledge monthly, to have a feel-good tax deduction, to enjoy the recognition and warm fuzzies that Angels receive, and to know I’m helping preserve the evolution of our timeless profession is amazingly gratifying. I was blessed to discover and enjoy this career for my entire adult life–the least I can do is give a little back. 

NCRF: Why is serving on the Angel Gatherers committee important to you?

Sonntag: By serving on the committee, I can help others find their philanthropic way to the Foundation and learn about its good works, including student scholarships and the Corinne Clark Professionalism Institute to help new reporters bridge the career gap. The Thoughtful Tributes program pays homage to the giants who have gone before us, and the Legal Education program continues to highlight and improve our efficacy with our clients. The Foundation really is the feel-good arm of NCRA, and I’m proud to support it with my perpetual Angels donation as well as being part of NCRF’s Legacy Society, making sure the Foundation’s good work will continue long after I’m gone. 

Everything you need to show lawyers how to make a better record

If you’ve had clients who won’t slow down, speak up, or educate the witness on how to make a good record and you wished you had something handy to share with them, look no further than the Legal Education Program seminar, “Making the Record,” provided by the National Court Reporters Foundation.

NCRF’s Legal Education Program has received high praise from court reporters, and it offers several resources for you to choose from.

The program booklet can be distributed as needed, while the presentation tools have been created so you can educate law students, young attorneys, and judges about the importance of making a good record in a group setting.

  • Making the Record – This booklet was designed to help members of the bench and bar understand the factors that assist in making a clear record.
  • Presentation tools – When you offer to present the Legal Education Seminar to groups, you have at your disposal an outline, PowerPoint slide set, and handouts. Seminar tools are provided to court reporters for free and are fully customizable for specific audiences and your personal message.

Need more motivation? You can earn Professional Development Credits (PDCs) toward your overall CEU requirements by giving a Legal Ed presentation! Learn more.

Access the full Legal Education Program now.

Learn more about other programs provided by the National Court Reporters Foundation at NCRA.org/Foundation.