Changes to Retired Status go into effect Jan. 1

During the NCRA Business Meeting, NCRA members voted to approve changes to the membership categories for retired members. The changes go into effect Jan. 1, 2018.

NCRA’s past membership structure included a membership category for Retired Lifetime Member, which allowed those who had been members for 30 consecutive years and who no longer practice as verbatim stenographic reporters to become Retired Lifetime Members and no longer pay dues. This membership category has been growing every year and increasing faster than the Association is gaining new members. The financial impact for the Association is unsustainable.

To come up with alternatives, the Board of Directors formed a Retired Member Task Force to evaluate the current structure and make recommendations. The Task Force recommended two changes to the current category: The first is to clarify the definition of a retired member within the Bylaws, and the second is to sunset the current Retired Lifetime Member category and replace it with a fee-based membership.

The changes in Retired Member status will not affect current Retired Lifetime Members. NCRA will continue to honor the agreement with Retired Lifetime Members and not require them to pay dues.

Effective Jan. 1, to claim retired status, members must be truly retired and no longer derive any income from the profession. In addition, Retired Members will pay dues at half the rate of Participating or Registered Members. This is a best and current practice among many associations. This will shore up some of the financial losses sustained from covering free memberships for a large group of members for an extended period of time.

Four 2017 amendments pass by vote of the membership

"I voted" sticker with American flag

Photo by Vox Efx

Four of five amendments passed by a vote of the membership Thursday, Aug. 10, following the NCRA Annual Business Meeting, which was held in conjunction with the 2017 NCRA Convention & Expo. One amendment was withdrawn following an adopted motion at the Annual Business Meeting.

Members who were not able to attend in person were able to review a transcript following the meeting. Voting closed at 12:15 a.m. PT, Aug. 11.  686 (5.8%) of 11,917 electors voted in this ballot.

An amendment changing the requirements for Retirement Membership status, which will be effective Jan. 1, 2018,  was voted in by 533 (80.6%) for to 128 (19.4%) against.

An amendment updating the procedures for voting in electronic meetings was voted in by 624 (96.4%) for and 23 (3.6%) against. To maintain consistency throughout the Bylaws, this amendment touched on several different sections for changes.

A third amendment, affecting the Nominating Committee, clarifies the language to include the President-elect in appointing committee members. The amendment was voted in by 593 (92.7%) to 47 (7.3%).

The final amendment voted on by the membership regarded the hiring of a parliamentarian. The amendment was voted in by 559 (91.6%) for to 51 (8.4%) against.

To be adopted, amendments require a two-thirds vote of the Voting Members present and voting at the Annual Business Meeting as well as the Voting Members who are voting by electronic mail or other authorized means of electronic transmission. The full language of the amendments can be found on the NCRA website.

Read all the news from the 2017 NCRA Convention & Expo.

Let the festivities begin in Las Vegas

More than 1,300 court reporters, captioners, legal videographers, educators, students, and other legal professionals joined together to kick off the 2017 NCRA Convention & Expo today at the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, Nev. The event runs through Sunday, Aug. 13, and is the largest gathering of professionals in the court reporting and captioning professions.

Festivities began with the Opening Reception held in the Expo Hall where dozens of vendors are displaying new products and services. In addition, a number of day-long pre-Convention intensive CAT vendor workshops were also offered.

Other highlights of the day included the Annual Business Meeting, the National Committee of State Associations Meeting, and the National Realtime Contest where contestants in the sold-out competition battled for top honors. First-time Convention goers also enjoyed an “Only New Once” networking reception.

Immediate Past President’s final address to the membership at 2017 Convention & Expo

Tiva Wood - 2The following is the speech given by 2017-2018 NCRA Immediate Past President Nativa P. Wood, FAPR, RDR, CMRS, at the Annual Business Meeting at the 2017 Convention & Expo in Las Vegas, Nev.

Wow – that year whizzed by! It feels like just five minutes ago I was talking to you about the year to come and poof – here we are and I now get to tell you what we accomplished.

Together, we accomplished so much, from increasing benefits to our members through a new savings program to upgrading the Association’s online testing and increasing the number of members who are committed to becoming certified in their areas of specialty.

Communication with the membership is a huge factor in any association’s success. NCRA members are now more informed than ever about what’s happening in the profession as well as within their national organization, thanks to the continued success of the JCR Weekly newsletter, a newly launched Angels quarterly newsletter, and the reinstatement of the PAC newsletter. We also launched a very successful quarterly student newsletter.

While communicating with our members is essential, communicating with others outside of our Association is paramount in raising awareness of the profession that we hold so dear. The 2017 Court Reporting & Captioning Week did just that. There were proclamations in 17 states, media coverage reached nearly 108 million consumers, media outreach generated $167,100 in public relations value, U.S. Representative Ron Kind from the great state of Wisconsin officially recognized the week in a speech before the U.S. House of Representatives on Feb. 14, and the first NCRF Hard-of-Hearing Heroes Project event was held Feb. 18 at the Hearing Loss Association of America in Bethesda, Md.

My favorite thing about Court Reporting & Captioning Week? It’s a perfect combination of NCRA providing resources to our members, who then go out and make all that I just spoke about happen. It’s the quintessential grassroots effort. And it works.

I mentioned the Hard-of-Hearing Heroes Project and that is the perfect segue to talk about what our volunteer members do for NCRA and NCRF. On Feb. 18, we had members drive from three hours and two hours away to provide services to capture the stories of the veterans – captioners and court reporters. Even if they lived locally, they still gave up a Saturday to volunteer.

The work that is accomplished by our volunteers is nothing short of remarkable. I would sit in on committee conference calls, sometimes late at night, and listen as ideas were shared, solutions were vetted, and implementation was monitored. These extraordinary reporters are the backbone of our Association and I would like to thank each of them for what they’ve given to NCRA this year.

Some other highlights I’d like to share: the largest attendance at the Firm Owners Executive Conference in five years. The Firm Owners Committee and NCRA staff worked hard to make that happen. We also launched NCRA Leadership Training that includes a monthly webinar series to help educate state leaders on successfully running an association and held the first regional leadership conference to provide greater access to state leaders to participate in hands-on training. Stay tuned for a leadership conference coming to your neck of the woods soon! NCRA’s Government Relations Department is available to all state associations as they face challenges at home.

Sometimes a program is so good, it takes off like wildfire. That would certainly define the launch of the A to Z Intro to Machine Shorthand program this past year. A to Z is a free six-to-eight week course taught by volunteers to those interested in a potential career in court reporting or captioning. Steno machines are donated by generous reporters and captioners for the attendees to use. So far, 25 programs have been completed or are currently in progress, and there are eight programs with a definite fall start date and 22 with a tentative fall start date. 153 people have participated, with 41 going on to court reporting school. And by the way, there’s more data coming that will only bolster those numbers.

Please consider starting your own A to Z program. All of the facilitating materials you need can be found at DiscoverSteno on NCRA’s website. We even have a listserv for group leaders to help each other with ideas for promoting the classes, how to obtain steno machines, and locate sites to hold the classes.

Of course, there is work that remains. Recruiting students to our profession and getting them through school successfully is still the top priority. And nearly equal to that is increasing NCRA’s membership. The bottom line? We need students entering court reporting school to ensure the future of our profession, and we must increase membership to ensure the future of this Association.

I thank the Board and NCRA staff for their work and contributions to the common good, and I wish Chris much success as she leads the way in the coming year.

It has been an honor to serve all of you. Thank you.

Read all the news from the 2017 NCRA Convention & Expo.

NCRA 2016 voting results announced

The Annual Business Meeting was held Thursday, Aug. 4, 2016, at the Chicago Hilton, Chicago, Ill. Members who were not able to attend the meeting in person were able to follow the discussions live or review them after the fact via a realtime feed to the Internet.

Three contested elections for officer or board positions and a series of amendments to the Association’s Constitution and Bylaws were presented at the meeting. As provided for in the Bylaws, all NCRA Voting Members were able to vote online. Voting closed at 11:30 p.m. Central time, Aug. 4.  1164 (9.5%) of 12195 electors voted in this ballot.

Congratulations to NCRA’s 2016-17 Board of Directors

Wood advances to Presidency

President-elect Nativa P. Wood, RDR, CMRS, FAPR (Mechanicsburg, Pa.) automatically advances to the office of 2016-17 President.

Sue Terry elected Vice President

Votes cast:

  • Doreen Sutton, RPR (Scottsdale, Ariz.): 492 (44.8%).
  • Sue Terry, RPR, CRR, FAPR (Springfield, Ohio): 606 (55.2%).

Debra A. Dibble elected Secretary-Treasurer

Votes cast:

  • Debra A. Dibble, RDR, CRR, CRC (Salt Lake City, Utah): 747 (69.8%).
  • Michele Melhorn York, RMR (Arlington, Va.): 323 (30.2%).

Christine Phipps elected Director

Votes cast:

  • Christine Phipps, RPR (North Palm Beach, Fla.): 550 (52.6%).
  • Huey Bang, RMR, CRR (Pass Christian, Miss.): 496 (47.4%).

Uncontested elections

Also elected by acclamation at the Annual Business Meeting were:

  • Christine J. Willette, RDR, CRR, CRC (Wausau, Wis.) as President-Elect
  • Kristin M. Anderson, RPR (San Antonio, Texas) to a three-year term as director; and
  • Max Curry, Jr., RPR, CRI (Franklin, Tenn.) to a three-year term as director

Voting results for the 2016 proposed bylaws amendments

To pass, bylaws amendments must receive at least two-thirds (2/3) affirmation by the Voting Members who voted by electronic means. All proposed amendments passed.  The full text of the amendments is available here.


Want to vote? Sign up now

Photo by: Vox Efx

Photo by: Vox Efx

NCRA’s Constitution & Bylaws permit members to cast their votes in contested elections and on bylaws amendments via secure, online means, even if they can’t attend the Annual Business Meeting at the Convention & Expo. But to exercise the right, members must have an active email address on file in NCRA’s membership database. This will enable NCRA to keep you informed if a contested election or amendment is coming up for a vote and provide information on how to register and cast your vote online. Members who are eligible to vote will be able to sign on to the secure website and then vote through a private, secure link during the 12-hour voting period.

Please make sure that we have an active email address for you in our database by July 15. Contact the Member Services and Information Center at 800-272-6272, or update your NCRA account at Look for “Renew or update your record” under the “Membership Tools” category.

In order to be able to vote on the amendments, individuals must join NCRA or provide an updated email to NCRA by July 15. Voting will occur in conjunction with the NCRA Annual Business Meeting in Chicago, on Thursday, Aug. 4.

There will be no voting stations on site at this year’s event. Instead, members may cast their votes regarding Bylaws amendments and on any two-party elections to the Board of Directors via their phones, tablets, or computers. Voting begins two hours after the close of the Annual Business Meeting, which will be held on Thursday, Aug. 4, from 8:30 – 11 a.m. CT.  Voting is open for 12 hours.

Voting is now open for seven bylaws amendments

Following the conclusion of the Annual Business Meeting at the 2015 NCRA Convention & Expo, online voting is now open for Registered Members. Voting is open for twelve hours. Members should check their email for instructions on how to vote. To vote, please go to

Review the bylaws amendments here.

At the Annual Business Meeting, the membership voted to increase dues. The changes will be made as follows:

  • Reporter members (U.S.): from $250 to $270
  • Reporter members (international): from $125 to $135
  • Associate members (U.S.): from $145 to $160
  • Associate members (international): from $100 to $115

These changes will go into effect in 2016. The dues increase is expected to provide an added revenue of $220,000.

NCRA 2015 Convention & Expo kicks off in New York City

A record number court reporters, captioners, and legal videographers helped kick off the 2015 NCRA Convention & Expo this morning, the highest number of registrants in four years. Nearly 1,200 are registered for the event. The first day includes day-long pre-convention intensive CAT vendor workshops hosted by Advantage Software/Eclipse and Stenograph, the Association’s Annual Business Meeting, and the first day of the Realtime Systems Administrator Workshop.

It also marked the first day of the Certified Realtime Captioner three-day workshop. This workshop is required to earn the new certification that combines the educational training of the Certified Broadcast Captioner and the Certified CART Provider certifications. NCRA members who currently hold the CBC and the CCP certifications will automatically become CRCs as of Jan. 1, 2016. Participants in the CRC Workshop will have the opportunity to take the written knowledge portion of the CRC test.

Other highlights for day one of the convention include the National Realtime Competition, the National Committee of State Associations Meeting, the Only New Once Reception, and the Opening Reception in the Expo Hall.

Get to know NCRA Board of Directors nominees

NCRA’s Nominating Committee has offered its candidates for the 2015-16 Board of Directors. The following outlines the candidates’ qualifications for members to prepare for voting. As provided in the bylaws, additional nominations are possible if received within 60 days after publication of the Nominating Committee slate. The date by which additional nominations must be received is June 14.

Nominations will be presented to the NCRA membership for vote on Thursday, July 30, at the Annual Business Meeting, 8:30–11 a.m. Eastern Time, as part of NCRA’s 2015 Convention & Expo at the Hilton New York Midtown, in New York. Final voting on any contested elections will be conducted electronically on July 30 following the NCRA Annual Business Meeting.


Stephen A. Zinone, RPR

Pittsford, New York

Stephen A. Zinone, RPR, is an official court reporter from Pittsford, N.Y., who has served as Director, Secretary-Treasurer, and President-elect of NCRA. He started out freelancing in 1983, working as a reporter in the Monroe County Town Courts and in the deposition arena. In 1989, he was employed by the Monroe County D.A.’s office as a grand jury reporter, where he worked until 1997. He spent the next three years working in federal court for the Western District of New York. Since 2001, Zinone has worked for the New York State Unified Court System in the 7th and 8th Judicial Districts, and he is now assigned to the Ontario County Courts.

A member of NCRA since 1986, Zinone has served on its Finance Committee, Communication and Outreach Committee, and the Cost Comparison Task Force. He also served on the New Affiliates Task Force Committee in 2008.

Zinone is a member of the New York State Court Reporters Association, the StenoCAT Users Group, the United States Court Reporters Association, Society for the Technological Advancement of Reporting, and the National Association for Court Management. He first served on the board of the New York State Court Reporters Association in 2002, including as its president in 2008. He also served on the Board of Directors of the StenoCAT Users Group for several years.



Nativa P. Wood, RDR, CMRS

Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania

Nativa P. (Tiva) Wood is a per diem court reporter from Mechanicsburg, Pa., who holds the nationally recognized professional certifications of Registered Diplomate Reporter and Certified Manager of Reporting Services. Before retiring in early 2015, she had served as chief court reporter for the Dauphin County Court of Common Pleas since 2003. Prior to that, she served the same court as an official court reporter from 1977 to 2003. Wood was honored with the designation of Fellow of the Academy of Professional Reporters.

Wood is a long-time member of NCRA and has served on its Board of Directors since 2012. She has also served on an array of NCRA’s committees including Placement, Insurance, Convention Planning, Nominating, and the National Committee of State Associations Resolution Committees. Wood has also served on the General Appeals Task Force and the Steno Opportunities in the Courts Task Force. She is a past member and chair of NCRA’s Council of the Academy of Professional Reporters and the Committee on Professional Ethics. In addition, Wood has served on the Board of the National Court Reporters Foundation and as its chair. She is also an NCRF Angel.

Wood is an active member of the Pennsylvania Court Reporters Association. As its president, she successfully lobbied for a public hearing on licensing for court reporters and testified before the Pennsylvania Senate Professional Licensure Committee. She has spoken on behalf of PCRA to a Pennsylvania Superior Court subcommittee investigating the computerization of the courts and the impact of court reporting technology. In addition, she was one of several speakers at the unveiling of the NCRA-sponsored computer integrated courtroom in the federal courthouse in Philadelphia, which was covered by affiliates of NBC, CBS, and ABC.



Christine J. Willette, RDR, CRR, CCP

Wausau, Wisconsin

Christine J. Willette, RDR, CRR, CCP, has been a court reporter since 1985 and is the owner of Willette Court Reporting in Wausau, Wis. Willette has served on the NCRA Board of Directors for four years, as well as on a number of the organization’s committees, including the National Outreach Committee, CLVS Council Board Liaison, the Freelance Community of Interest, and Committee on Professional Ethics.

Willette also served as a National Committee of State Associations delegate from Wisconsin for a number of years and on the committee’s Governing Board. She has participated in NCRA’s Boot Camp and Leadership training programs. Willette is an NCRF Angel. She has been a member of NCRA since 1985.

Willette is a member of the Wisconsin Court Reporters Association and has served on the organization’s Board of Directors and as its president. She has served on many of its committees and task forces, organized its first realtime contest, managed its website, presented seminars, planned conventions, and contributed to its quarterly newsletter.



Doreen Sutton, RPR

Scottsdale, Arizona

Doreen Sutton is a freelance reporter from Scottsdale, Ariz., with 23 years of experience. She holds the professional certification of Registered Professional Reporter and has covered depositions, arbitrations, and mediations. She also has grand jury and CART experience, as well as per-diem experience reporting for the various superior court venues in Arizona. As a member of NCRA, she has served on the association’s Test Advisory Committee and in various other volunteer roles. She has also served as a contributor to NCRA’s membership publication, the JCR. Sutton has been nominated to serve a second term as NCRA Secretary-Treasurer.

Active at the state level, Sutton is a past president of the Arizona Court Reporters Association and has also served as editor of its membership publication, ArizoNotes, and as co-chair of its Student Seminars. In 2013, she was awarded the ACRA Distinguished Service Award. Sutton holds certifications in the states of California and Arizona.

Prior to entering the court reporting profession, Sutton worked in the areas of banking, bookkeeping, payroll, and accounting.


DIRECTORS (Three-year term)

MikeMichael E. Miller, RDR, CRR

Friendswood, Texas

Michael (Mike) Miller has spent his 20-plus-year career pushing the limits and being a vocal advocate for freelance reporters, rising to the level of “self-appointed reporting superhero” due in large part to his website,, and frequent speaking engagements. Like most reporters, Miller spends his days banging those keys with the hopes that today’s witness learned English in Omaha rather than in Bangalore. Miller has traveled with his machine to most corners of the world, reporting arbitrations in Reykjavik and depositions in Bangkok. Most recently, he has been providing immediate copy on a special assignment.

Miller holds the professional certifications of Registered Diplomate Reporter and Certified Realtime Reporter, and he was honored with the designation of Fellow of the Academy of Professional Reporters. Additionally, Miller is certified in California, Louisiana, and Texas. He is past president of the Society for the Technological Advancement of Reporting. He is co-creator and original lead presenter of the NCRA Realtime Systems Administrator certificate program.

JenniferJennifer Sati, RMR, CRR, CBC, CCP, CRI

Dayton, Minnesota

Jennifer Sati has been a court reporter since 1985 and holds the professional certifications of Registered Merit Reporter, Certified Realtime Reporter, Certified Broadcast Captioner, Certified CART Provider, and Certified Reporting Instructor. She is from Dayton, Minn., and currently serves as program director and instructor for judicial reporting and broadcast captioning at Anoka Technical College in Anoka, Minn. She continues to caption professionally and also leads the school’s annual Veterans History Project event, which honors local veterans and captures their wartime stories.

A member of NCRA, Sati currently serves on its Council on Approved Student Education and as a chief examiner and proctor for the CRR, CBC, and CCP NCRA Skills Tests. At the state level, Sati was awarded the Distinguished Service Award in 2012 and the Instructor of the Year in 2005 by the Minnesota Association of Verbatim Reporters and Captioners. She is a frequent presenter and contributor to the association’s conventions and its membership publication. Sati is a past vice president and secretary of the Minnesota Freelance Court Reporters Association, which has since merged with MAVRC.

LindaLinda K. McSwain, RPR

Mobile, Alabama

Linda K. McSwain is an official court reporter from Mobile, Ala., with more than 20 years of experience as a freelance and official court reporter. She holds the professional certifications of Registered Professional Reporter, as well as the Alabama Certified Shorthand Reporter. McSwain has also worked as a freelance reporter taking depositions and covering public hearings. She has been awarded multiple certificates of appreciation for producing accurate, timely, and completed transcripts.

She has held membership in NCRA for more than 20 years. McSwain has served on the National Committee for State Associations for more than four years. She currently holds the position of NCSA Vice Chair. In that capacity, she has presented seminars at State Leadership Conferences and NCRA Conventions. In addition, McSwain has also been a participant in NCRA’s Leadership Training, Legislative Boot Camp, and State Leadership Conferences.

McSwain has been involved with the Alabama Court Reporters Association, of which she is still a member. She has served on various committees for ACRA, including as past president. During her service, she worked to help develop certification for the Alabama Court Reporters Association.

Seven Constitution & Bylaws amendments to be voted on at Annual Business Meeting

NCRA members will have the opportunity to vote on seven amendments to the Constitution & Bylaws during the Annual Business Meeting on July 30. The amendments are available through NCRA’s website at The amendments range from allowing people who are Certified Realtime Captioners to be Registered Members to asking all committee members to review the laws and requirements of NCRA before undertaking committee work. In addition, an amendment will consider the possibility of granting voting rights to Certified Legal Video Specialists who are NCRA members.

The Constitution & Bylaws permits all eligible NCRA voting members to vote through electronic means on Bylaws amendments and contested Board of Directors elections. Members who are eligible to vote and not in attendance will be able to sign on to the secure website and vote through a private, secure link during the 12-hour voting period, which should open within two hours of the end of the Annual Business Meeting. Members who are interested in voting (link to article on must have an active email address on file in NCRA’s membership database.

Members attending the Annual Business Meeting will also be voting on a proposed dues increase.

The Annual Business Meeting will take place at 8:30 a.m. EST on Thursday, July 30. The Annual Business Meeting will be held in conjunction with NCRA’s Convention & Expo in New York, N.Y.