San Antonio students awarded court reporter scholarships

TV station KSAT aired a segment on Aug. 21 featuring two court reporting students and scholarship recipients from San Antonio, Texas, who are on their way to becoming among the hardest working people in the courtroom.

Watch here.

Former NCRA member Janice Benoit Girouard passes away

The Port Arthur News reported on Aug. 17 that former NCRA member Janice Benoit of Beaumont, Texas, a retired court reporter and owner of Jan Girouard & Associates, passed away.

Read more.

Former NCRA member John Levdens passed away

The Newton Daily News, Newton, Iowa, reported on July 29 that former NCRA member John Leydens, a retired official court reporter, passed away.

Read more.

Slate of NCRA nominees

NCRA’s Nominating Committee announced the following nominees to fill the open seats on the NCRA Board of Directors for the 2020-2021 year. The slate includes nominations for President-Elect, Vice President, Secretary-Treasurer, and two Director seats for three-year terms.

President

Christine Phipps, RPR, North Palm Beach, Fla.

Christine Phipps, RPR

Christine Phipps is a court reporter with 27 years of experience. She owns Phipps Reporting, Inc., headquartered in West Palm Beach, Fla. She holds the national professional certification of Registered Professional Reporter (RPR) and the Realtime Systems Administrator certificate. She is also a licensed court reporter in New Jersey and Tennessee and is an Eclipse software trainer.

At the national level, Phipps has co-chaired NCRA’s Technology Committee and Freelance Community of Interest Committee and served on the Association’s Strategic Alliance Task Force, its Education Content and Vendor Task Force committees. Phipps participated in the rewrite of NCRA’s Deposition Handbook, is a frequent contributor to the JCR, and a speaker at conventions. She has also served as a Director for NCRA and as Vice President and President-Elect.

She is the recipient of a number of business awards, including Woman of Outstanding Leadership by the International Women’s Leadership Association and Most Enterprising Women of the Year by Enterprising Women magazine. In 2016, she earned the Individual Member Award for the inaugural JCR Awards, and in 2017 she was named South Florida District Small Business Woman-Owned Person of the Year. Her firm was included in Inc. magazine’s Fastest Growing Companies in America every year since 2014, achieving Honor Roll status in 2018 for being on the list for five consecutive years.

President-elect

Debra A. Dibble, RDR, CRR, CRC, Woodland, Utah

Debra A. Dibble, RDR, CRR, CRC

Debra A. Dibble is a 30-year court reporter veteran who began her career working in the judicial arena in Salt Lake City, Utah, and Memphis, Tenn. She holds the nationally recognized professional credentials of Registered Diplomate Reporter (RDR), Certified Realtime Reporter (CRR), and Certified Realtime Captioner (CRC), and she has qualified in the National Speed and National Realtime competitions multiple times. She also holds the Realtime Systems Administrator Certification and has provided broadcast captioning and CART services for more than a decade.

At the state level, Dibble served on the Utah Court Reporters Board of Directors for 10 years, serving as the president for two years, and receiving the organization’s Distinguished Service Award in 2010.

At the national level, Dibble has served as an NCRA Chief Examiner, as a delegate to the National Committee of State Associations from 2008 to 2012, and on numerous NCRA committees. Dibble has served on the NCRA’s Board of Directors for eight years, including a three-year term as Secretary- Treasurer. She has also served as a presenter at the national and state levels.

In addition to earning her Utah CSR, she is also certified in California, Nevada, and Texas and has been a grand jury reporter in Arkansas, Mississippi, and Tennessee.

Dibble also served as the Secretary-Treasurer of the National Court Reporters Foundation (NCRF) for three years. For the past year plus, she has been leading the team dedicated to turning the vision of a new professionals training program sponsored by the Foundation, now known as NCRF Career Launcher, into a reality.

Vice president

Meredith A. Bonn, RPR, CRR, Webster, N.Y.

Meredith A. Bonn, RPR, CRR

Meredith A. Bonn, a graduate of Alfred State College, Alfred, N.Y., has been a court reporter since 1990. She was named official senior court reporter in 2007 for the Seventh Judicial District in the New York State court system where she is assigned to the Rochester courthouse. From 2000 to 2007, she served as an official court reporter assigned to City and Family Court. She worked as a freelance court reporter from 1990

to 2000.  She also holds the New York State Certified Shorthand Reporter and New York

State Court Reporters Association (NYSCRA) Realtime Court Reporter certifications.

She is a current member of NYSCRA and served as a member of its Board for six years. She is a current member of the StenoCAT Users Group. Bonn is also actively involved with promoting the court reporting profession to students and to the general public. She is a frequent presenter for the Careers in the Courthouse program and a mentor to several students. Bonn is also the creator and presenter of the Power of the Positive Attitude presentation and the coordinator of the NCRA A to Z® Intro  to Steno Machine Shorthand program in the Western New York area.

On the national level, Bonn has served for three years as a Director and serves on

the Finance, Policies & Procedures, and the NCRA A to Z committees.

Secretary-treasurer

Kristin M. Anderson, RPR, San Antonio, Texas

Kristin M. Anderson, RPR

Kristin M. Anderson is an official court reporter for Bexar County Civil District Court. She holds the nationally recognized professional certification of Registered Professional Reporter (RPR). With more than 20 years of experience, she has worked both as a freelance reporter in Kansas and Missouri and as an official court reporter for Illinois and Kansas.

Anderson worked for the U.S. District Court Western District of Texas from 2013 through 2017 and has her Federal Certified Realtime Reporter (FCRR) designation with the United States Court Reporters Association (USCRA).

At the national level, Anderson is a past chair of the National Committee of State

Associations and served on that committee in various capacities from 2006 through 2014. She also served on the Veterans Liaison Committee of NCRA’s New Professionals Committee, the Membership and Telemarketing Committee, and the Steno Opportunities in the Courts Task Force.

At the state level, Anderson has served in numerous positions and on various com- mittees for the Kansas Court Reporters Association, including as president for two terms. She served on the Texas Court Reporters Association Convention and Ethics Committees in 2015-2016. Anderson is a member of the Bexar County Court Reporters Association, Texas Court Reporters Association, Texas Depositions Reporters Association, the Society for the Technological Advancement of Reporting (better known as STAR), and USCRA.

Director

Jason T. Meadors, FAPR, RPR, CRR, CRC, Fort Collins, Colo.

Jason T. Meadors, FAPR, RPR, CRR, CRC

Jason T. Meadors began his career in court reporting while serving in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1975-1978. He has worked as a freelance court reporter and an official reporter and has owned his own firm since 1989. Meadors holds the nationally recognized professional certifications of Registered Professional Reporter (RPR), Certified Realtime Reporter (CRR), and Certified Realtime Captioner (CRC). He is also a Fellow of the Academy of Professional Reporters (FAPR).

During his career, Meadors has reported in nearly two dozen states, as well as in China, Colombia, Ecuador, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Norway, South Korea, and Taiwan.

At the national level, Meadors has served on numerous NCRA committees, as well as on the Board of Directors and as Secretary-Treasurer. He is also a contributor to the JCR magazine and has presented seminars at the national and state levels.

His volunteer service has included numerous positions with the leadership of the Colorado Court Reporters Association, including as president. He also served on numerous committees as a member and or chair. In 2000, Meadors was awarded the association’s Distinguished Service Award. He also was the recipient of its 1996, 2001, and 2008 Presidential Appreciation Award.

He and his wife, Sherri, have been married for 46 years. They have three children and six grandchildren. Meadors is also an avid writer and photographer.

Director

Cathy Penniston, RPR, CRI, Waukee, Iowa

Cathy L. Penniston, RPR, CRI

Cathy L. Penniston is a teacher and broadcast captioner from Waukee, Iowa. Penniston spent 30 years working as an official court reporter for the state of Iowa before receiving a realtime cap- tioning training grant and transitioning into a remote television broadcast captioning career. She has also worked as a freelance court reporter and a CART provider. Penniston currently teaches reporting classes at the Des Moines Area Community College in Newton, Iowa. She also works as an independent broadcast captioner.

Penniston has served as president, vice president, and secretary of the Iowa Court Reporters Association. She has volunteered multiple times to assist with the annual National Court Reporters Foundation phone-a-thon fundraising campaign and the Veterans History Project.

Penniston is the recipient of the Roy Voelker Memorial Award for Distinguished Service for the court reporting profession of the state of Iowa. She is also the recipient of the Indian Hills Com- munity College Vision Award Alumni Entrepreneur of the Year in 2014.

Penniston holds a master’s degree in Education from Clarke University, a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Iowa Wesleyan College, an associate’s degree from Indian Hills Community College, and an associate’s degree in Court Reporting from the American Institute of Business. She holds the national professional certifications of Registered Professional Reporter (RPR) and Certified Reporting Instructor (CRI).

At the national level, Penniston has served on numerous NCRA committees and enjoys leading the NCRA A to Z® Intro to Steno Machine Shorthand sessions. She has served as a member of the NCRA Board of Directors since 2018.

Meet Melissa Lee, NCRA’s 2020 CASE Award of Excellence recipient

Melissa Lee, CRI

Each year, NCRA’s CASE (Council on Approved Student Education) Award of Excellence recognizes the important role student education plays in the court reporting profession and honors educators for their dedication, outstanding achievement, and leadership. Recipients are nominated by an NCRA member. The JCR Weekly reached out to Melissa Lee, CRI, an instructor at the College of Court Reporting in Valparaiso, Ind., who is the 2020 CASE Award of Excellence recipient.

JCR | What does it mean to you to be named CASE Educator of the Year?

ML |  It is a true honor to have been nominated for, let alone having won, the CASE Educator of the Year award. It means that my hard work is making a difference in the lives of my students. I wish that every instructor who is working hard to inspire their students could get this award as well because it keeps you motivated, even more than you already are. We have some amazing educators in the court reporting community, and I am certainly blessed to work among many of them at the College of Court Reporting. 

JCR | How long have you been teaching?

ML |  I have been teaching for 10 years now, three years at the College of Court Reporting.

JCR | Did you work as a court reporter before becoming an instructor?

ML |  Court reporting is one of the very few fields where you can continue to renegotiate the terms of your employment throughout your career. There is no excuse for career boredom. 

I started out as a CART provider for a student at one of our local universities. I went on to do freelance judicial work and later became a court reporting instructor. During my time as an instructor, I was able to assist in a captioning boot camp which took me to many great states where we worked with other state associations and/or schools. 

I remain a Certified Court Reporter in the state of Alabama. 

JCR | What is most rewarding to you about teaching new students?

ML |  I enjoy seeing students get excited as they learn their machine and slowly get faster with writing the spoken word in their speed building class; those “ah-ha” moments as they begin learning new ways to get their software working harder for them than they work for it; and hearing the enthusiasm in their voice in my procedures class as they learn more about the doors that are beginning to open for them.  Reporters are everywhere: Congress, highly publicized depositions and trials, captioning sporting events (even stadiums) – always having the best seat in the house.

I enjoy finding new ways to engage the online adult learner with all the tools that are now available such as PowerPoint, Quizlet, Collaborate, EV360, and features available in their CAT software. I never stop learning, which makes me excited about teaching students and showing them new methods to get excited about learning.

My biggest reward by far is seeing my students graduate and go on to careers that they love!

I sincerely appreciate that I am able to give back to a profession that has given so much to me. I see the future of what our reporting profession has to look forward to in every student I work with, and I can tell you that our future stands bright. I am excited that I can play a small role in not only educating students about the flexibility and opportunities that the reporting field has to offer; but also, at the same time, helping to ensure that this wonderful profession continues to thrive. 

JCR |  Where did you go to school?

ML |  Prince Institute of Professional Studies, Montgomery, Ala., and I graduated from their Merit program in 1998.

JCR |  How did you learn about the court reporting profession?

ML |  The court reporting profession is truly the best-kept secret. When I started out, there was no internet or Google. If you did not know to search out the field or have someone that knew someone in it, you might have missed out on a great career opportunity. I learned about it from a relative. 

I have always loved teaching others, and I have always loved being a court reporter. Now I have the best of both worlds because I am blessed to teach my favorite subject to some amazing future court reporters.

Former NCRA member Shelia Lyons passes away

The Wichita Eagle reported on July 27 that NCRA member Shelia Lyons passed away on July 26 in Wichita, Kan.

Read more.

NCRA member turned novelist inspired by court reporting experience

Andrea J. Johnson

NCRA member Andrea J. Johnson is a court reporter turned freelance entertainment writer for the women’s lifestyle website Popsugar. This love for insider gossip has inspired her to take real-life headlines and turn them into mind-bending mysteries. The Victoria Justice Series is a perfect example of this dynamic as it uses Johnson’s legal background to explore what would happen if a trial stenographer took the law into her own hands. The JCR Weekly recently reached out to her to find out how her court reporting career has helped inspire her stories.

JCR | Where are you from originally?

AJ | I’m originally from the Chesapeake Bay area, specifically the Maryland portion of the Delmarva Peninsula. The area’s coastal setting is quite idyllic, so I’ve set my mystery in that region as well — but on the Delaware side of things since that’s where I spent the most time working as a court reporter.

JCR | How did you make the switch from court reporter to author?

AJ | Becoming an author is something I’ve wanted to do since I was 8 years old, but I’d put it off for decades because writing for a living didn’t seem practical. In fact, that’s one of the reasons I originally became a court reporter: I thought I’d get all the joys of working with syntax and editing without the stress of creating original content. But when my mom was diagnosed with cancer a few years ago, she urged me not to play life safe, so I decided to get my graduate degree in creative writing and pursue the career that had eluded me all those years.

JCR | Have you always enjoyed writing?

AJ | Yes, I’ve always enjoyed the idea of writing but not necessarily the practice of writing. My first memory of wanting to be a writer goes back to the third grade. I would finish a book and want to extend the life of the characters so that I could continue to live in that world. Sometimes I’d even start writing a new chapter to the story — a form of old school fan fiction, I suppose — but I’d quickly get discouraged by the discipline it took to shape my ideas. It wasn’t until I grew up and sought guidance on the nuances of story structure that I began to have long-lasting fun with writing.

JCR | What motivated you to develop the Victoria Justice series?

AJ | The character of Victoria Justice has lived in my brain since 2006 although back then I didn’t know what to do with her. She was my reaction to a call for action stars for the reality series Who Wants to Be a Superhero? presented by Stan Lee. The premise of the show was for contestants to create characters who could become comic book heroes. In my mind, what better hero could there be than a court stenographer who seeks to undo bad verdicts through vigilante justice? But at that time, I hadn’t discovered my literary passion, so I couldn’t take advantage of the epiphany. Cut to several years later. I’ve just left my job as a stenographer to pursue writing, and I am searching for a novel idea. So I tweak Victoria to make her more human than hero and match her up with highly fictionalized snippets of real-life court cases. And, voila, the Victoria Justice Court Reporting Mystery series was born.

JCR | What influence did your experience as a court reporter have on your developing the character Victoria Justice?

AJ | Just about everything I’ve experienced as a reporter has been crammed into this series — from the use of long vowels in briefs to the secret joys of AudioSync — but the thing that’s had the most influence on Victoria’s characterization is the outward perception of the profession by those unfamiliar with what we do. She’s often ridiculed for being the one person in the courtroom whose job it is to be seen, not heard. People wag their fingers at her, call her an overpaid notetaker, and assume she’s not very smart. I played into that a bit with the physicality as well by making her short and meek but inside she has a big heart and tons of snark. And while the thrust of the series is about solving murders, an equally large portion of it is about Victoria finding her voice and learning to stand up for herself. In a way, she becomes the town’s last bastion for morality by using the profession’s tenants of accuracy, honesty, and neutrality in the face of the law to claim her space in the world.

JCR | Is the main character based on anyone in particular?

AJ | Crime author Ross Macdonald, known as Kenneth Millar in real life, wrote a popular essay called “The Writer as Detective Hero,” theorizing that mystery writers tend to create sleuths that are a reflection of their personalities whether conscious of this or not. While I hate to go against tradition, I can honestly say Victoria isn’t a reflection of me or anyone I know. However, she does carry my passion for the profession.

JCR | Poetic Justice is your first in the series; correct? What inspired this storyline?

AJ | Yes, Poetic Justice is the first in the series. The inspiration for the storyline comes from a single moment of trial as reported upon by a Delaware newspaper. While testifying on the stand, a police officer opens his drug evidence envelope only to find that the illegal substances have been replaced with over-the-counter medications. I used that imagery as the launching point of the story, but what happens thereafter is a product of my imagination. After all, I want the official court reporter, not the lawyers or the attorneys, to act as the focus and sole narrator of the tale.

JCR | How many novels do you plan for the series?

AJ | I think the concept behind this series is open-ended enough that it could go on forever, but I have always conceived of it as 12 books — like 12 jurors. That’s a nice round number with a large enough arc that Victoria can mature over time and hit professional or personal milestones like starting her own deposition company or falling in love.

JCR | What advice would you give others considering a career down the writing path?

AJ | Do your homework. You don’t have to spend tons of money on graduate school like I did, but you should read as much as you can about the types of books you’d like to write. Join membership organizations that match your writing interest like Mystery Writers of America or Romance Writers of America. Take a class through one of those organizations (you can even do so without being a member). Ask a published author to be your mentor. Never stop searching for knowledge and researching the field. Just like the court reporting profession, you have to study, practice, and keep your skills sharp. Writers might not have CEUs but they have CNEIs — a commitment to constant never-ending improvement.

JCR | How long did you work as a court reporter?

AJ | I was lucky enough to complete school and gain my state certification in two and a half years. I worked in the field for seven.

JCR | Did you work as an official, freelancer, captioner?

AJ | I worked as a deposition reporter in the state of California for two years and as an official reporter in Delaware for five years.

JCR | How did you learn about the court reporting profession?

AJ | The first time I heard about court reporting was in high school since it’s a profession that always shows up on those “Ten Lucrative Careers You Didn’t Know About” lists. However, I didn’t consider becoming one until decades later when I was searching for a career where I didn’t have to adhere to the typical nine-to-five work week.

JCR | Where did you go to court reporting school?

AJ | I attended Bryan College School of Court Reporting, in Los Angeles, Calif. — this was back before they moved that program online — but I only stayed with them through my 180-level proficiency tests. After that, I transferred to Downey Adult School, in Downey, Calif., to finish my speed training in preparation for the California certification exam. While I wouldn’t recommend switching schools at such a crucial point in the program, I felt comfortable doing so because I already had my bachelor’s degree. Like many people, I came to court reporting as a second career, so gaining speed was the toughest part for me. Luckily, the gamble paid off, and I passed my licensing exam on the first attempt.

Johnson has also written several articles on the craft of writing for websites, such as LitReactor, Submittable, Funds for Writers, and DIY MFA. When she isn’t developing her stories, Johnson enjoys cuddling up with a piping hot mug of ginger tea and poring over the latest supermarket tabloids. She can be reached at andrea@ajthenovelist.com. Read an excerpt from Poetic Justice here.

Last chance for early access savings for NCRA Connect 2020!

Last chance to catch the early access savings on full and half registration package fees for the NCRA Connect Virtual 2020 conference happening Aug. 7-9. These savings end tonight at midnight.

Full registration to the NCRA Connect Virtual 2020 includes access to all three days of activities, including all non-CEU activities and 16 CEU sessions of the registrant’s choice for a total of 1.6 CEU credits. The early access member cost for full registration is $300. The regular price is $325 for regular registration. A half registration package is also available that includes access to all three days for all non-CEU activities and seven CEU sessions of the registrant’s choice. The member cost for half registration is $180 for early access and $200 for regular registration. The special rates for students are $60 for members and $75 for nonmembers.

“In a field where we are constantly learning, continuing education is essential. Whether I’m presenting the seminar or attending the seminar, my hope is always that every attendant will take away at least one relevant concept when the seminar is finished,” said Allison Hall, RMR, CRR, an official court reporter from Tulsa, Okla., who is presenting a session called “Work Smarter, Not Harder,” at the NCRA Connect event.

“Continuing education isn’t about a requirement; it’s about learning and molding yourself into the professional you want to be, one seminar at a time,” Hall added. Her session will offer attendees ways to up their efficiency, increase their profitability, and reduce the amount of stress they often experience in this high-stress field.

Over the course of three days, attendees will have the opportunity to choose from sessions that address being audited by the Internal Revenue Service, teach best practices for marking exhibits electronically during remote proceedings, and more. In addition, there are sessions geared toward students, such as the one on understanding the profession after they graduate. There are even two yoga sessions being held on Saturday and Sunday to help attendees get their day off to a great start.

Attendees also will have the opportunity to participate in a number of fun networking parties, including specialty ones geared toward officials, freelancers, captioners, firm owners, new professionals, and students and teachers.

“Networking is essential in our profession. Attending an NCRA convention will put you in the right place at the right time to meet the right people that can help you advance in your career,” said Teresa Russ, CRI, a captioner and freelance court reporter from Bellflower, Calif.

“Oftentimes you never know what to expect when you accept a job, whether it’s captioning or covering a depo. The seminars are designed to meet the needs of the challenges court reporters, CART and broadcast captioners, and students will possibly encounter,”  she added.

Other learning session highlights include a presentation by Matthew Moss, RPR, an official court reporter from Denver, Colo., who will present “Motivation, Beating Obstacles, Achieving Goals, and Growth Mindset,” and “What Every Court Reporter Should Know About Punctuation to Transcribe Correctly,” being led by the renowned Dr. Santo “Joe” Aurelio, FAPR, RDR, (Ret.) from Arlington, Mass.

NCRA member Karen Peckham, RMR, CRR, an official court reporter from Westminster, Calif., said she is looking forward to NCRA Connect Virtual 2020 because the last time she was able to attend an NCRA Conference was when it was held in San Francisco, Calif., in 2014. She signed up for the virtual event, she said, because she wants to earn her CEUs.

See the complete schedule of sessions, including networking opportunities, exhibitor showcases, and the virtual vendor hall, at NCRA.org. For more information about registration and nonmember registration pricing, visit the NCRA website. Remember, sessions will be available to view through midnight, Aug. 25, after the event, so you won’t have to worry about missing a minute of this virtual experience.

Register now.

Pet peeves and favorite words: An interview with Joe Aurelio

Retired court reporter Santo (Joe) Aurelio, FAPR, RDR (Ret.), Arlington, Mass., is one of the presenters who will be leading sessions during the new NCRA Connect Virtual 2020 conference. His session, “What Every Reporter Should Know About Punctuation to Transcribe Correctly,” is sure to offer many tips and tricks for how to finish your transcripts both quickly and accurately.

The JCR asked Aurelio to share a little about his interests in language and the upcoming session.

JCR | How did you become interested in grammar and punctuation?

SJA | I became interested in grammar and punctuation at an early age. I know that I was playing around with words (as, it’s/its; faint/feint) as early as age 12. I have always read a lot, even as a child. (Actually, I mispronounced many big words because I had never heard them pronounced previously.) And, yes, I was always fascinated by words and how they could be combined to explain exactly what one thought and felt.

JCR | What is the biggest grammar pet peeve you have?

SJA | Although the No. 1 error in the United States is the it’s/its conundrum, my biggest grammar pet peeve is the affect/effect bugaboo. It’s so common that I even once received an email with that error from the President of Harvard University — and it was corrected circa two hours later (and not by me).

Admittedly, affect and effect are difficult to use correctly. Why? Well, each is a noun and a verb — and even when affect is used correctly as a noun, it is commonly mispronounced. Plus, some people think­ that effect sounds better than affect when used as a verb.

JCR | Do you have a favorite word? What is it? Do you have a reason that it’s your favorite word?

SJA | I don’t have a favorite word, but I have lots of words that I like to use frequently. For instance, Lucullan, as in “She presided over a Lucullan feast” (after Lucullus, the Roman general and epicure who was noted for holding many fabulous feasts with a rich bounty of food). I use that word when I want to denote a really great meal.

Another word that I like to use is lilliputian when I mean something that is extremely small.

Those two words are rich in meaning for me, and that’s why I like to use them.

JCR | Why is good punctuation so important in a transcript?

SJA | Good punctuation is critically important in the preparation of transcripts. All of the marks of punctuation are important, and they should be used correctly at all times. Take, for instance, whether commas should be used in the following two sentences:

Don’t shoot Bill until I tell you to.

Or:

Don’t shoot, Bill, until I tell you to.

Which is it? Mistranscribing that sentence would be dangerous. If the reporter is not absolutely sure whether commas are needed in certain areas in that sentence, then he or she should interrupt immediately and find out the correct way to punctuate that sentence. 

A famous writer of many books used the semicolon incorrectly each and every time throughout his last published book. And, of course, spelling is important, too. Consider this example: Should the spelling be palate/palette/pallet/pallid?

The job of a reporter is twofold: To take down every word spoken and to transcribe each of those words with correct punctuation.

JCR | Thanks for presenting at NCRA Connect Virtual 2020! We’re looking forward to it being a great event. Can you tell our readers a little about what they should expect?

SJA | The upcoming NCRA Connect Virtual 2020 will be very exciting. Attendees will be able to see and listen to many fine presentations about the latest technological advances that relate to court reporting. Other presentations will embrace captioning, CART, virtual depositions, and other related and informative subjects. And, of course, I’d love for many of you to join me for my session on punctuation. I hope to see you there.

Find out more about the NCRA Connect Virtual 2020.

Bringing steno to TikTok

Claudia Booton, RPR, is an official in Denver District Court in Denver, Colo., who has been using the social media platform TikTok to promote court reporting and captioning. Her videos range from testing for certification to the skill of stenography to knowing the right time to request a bathroom break. She told the JCR Weekly how she got the idea.

JCR | How long have you been a court reporter?

CB | I have been a reporter for 24 years. I started school in the mid-1990s. I actually heard about court reporting in the late 1980s when they came to my high school. It always interested me, but I went the college route and after graduating I decided I’m going to look into court reporting and the rest is history. I was a freelance reporter for most of my career, and just the past year (I call it my midlife career crisis), I moved to the official side and love every bit of it.

JCR | How long have you been on TikTok?

CB | I just started playing around on TikTok since the beginning of this pandemic. I heard my kids talking about it but never thought about it until I got on it and thought a lot of the videos were so funny!

Claudia Booton, RPR

JCR | How do you get the ideas for your posts?

CB | When I saw that the main viewers, or “TikTokers,” were the GenZ and the Millennials, I thought, wouldn’t this be the perfect platform to promote our profession and just put out there the funny things that happen to reporters, whether it be the students still in school or even the seasoned reporters working for years? I try to take the “trending” songs on TikTok and conform it in such a way that it relates to reporting so that we all can say, “Oh, that totally happens to me, too!”

JCR | What kind of feedback have you gotten?

CB | I wouldn’t say my audience is very large (yet) on TikTok (still waiting on my thousands of followers, LOL), but the Facebook forums that I’ve posted it to seem to enjoy the posts. I have gotten a couple of questions about the profession on TikTok, and, hey, that’s progress. If I can get one person on TikTok saying, “I’ve always thought about this; I think I’ll look into this,” then my mission is accomplished.

 JCR | Are you active on other social media platforms?

CB | I do have Facebook and Instagram accounts.

JCR | Is there anything else you would like to add?

CB | At a time in our life now in 2020 with all that is going on in our country, I’m just using this time working from home to add a little humor. And hopefully with my TikToks, I’m able to give back a little with a smile or a laugh.