2016 Court Reporting & Captioning Week gains traction in media coverage

Court Reporting & Captioning Week has put a number of NCRA members in the media spotlight, sharing information with viewers and readers about the vast number of opportunities available in the field.

Kicking off the week, Christine Phipps, RPR, owner of Phipps Reporting in West Palm Beach, Fla., was featured in a story aired by CBS affiliate channel 12, while NCRA Past President Nancy Varallo, RDR, CRR, owner of The Varallo Group in Worcester, Mass., joined NCRA member Kathy Silva, RPR, CRR, a freelancer from Andover, Mass., in a story that aired on Mass Appeal.

Appearing in print on behalf of NCRA and the court reporting and captioning professions were NCRA members Donna Cascio, RDR, CMRS, an official court reporter from Somerset, Pa., who was interviewed by the Somerset Daily American, and Melanie Oldham, an official court reporter from Athens, Texas, who was interviewed by the Athens Daily Review. Additional coverage is expected to be generated throughout the week.

NCRA President Steve Zinone, RPR, an official court reporter from Pittsfield, N.Y., joined Tonya Kaiser, RPR, CMRS, a freelance reporter from Fort Wayne and president of the Indiana Court Reporters Association; Susan Gee, RMR, CRR, a freelance reporter from Cincinnati and president-elect of the Ohio Court Reporters Association; and Kathy McHugh, RPR, CRR, a freelance reporter from Philadelphia and president of the Pennsylvania Court Reporters Association in a panel discussion at the College of Court Reporting, in Hobart, Ind., on Feb. 15. The discussion, which took place online via the college’s Blackboard Collaborate, was hosted by CCR President Jeff Moody. More than 30 participants joined the discussion to hear what the panelists had to say about the greatest challenges they faced in court reporting school and how they overcame them, as well as how they were motivated to become leaders within their associations, the benefits of membership at the state and local levels, and the importance of certification. The hour-long session was recorded and can be heard here.

On Feb. 17, Zinone will visit Cuyahoga Community College in Cleveland, Ohio, where he will address students and faculty at the court reporting program. He is scheduled to deliver a keynote address at 2:30 p.m. ET which can be accessed via the college’s Smart TV channel online.

Official proclamations recognizing 2016 Court Reporting & Captioning Week from state and local lawmakers continue to be reported. To date, the following states have reported official proclamations: California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Texas, Virginia, and Washington. Local proclamations have also been issued in Miami-Date County, Fla.; Johnson County, Kan.; Louisville, Ky.; Eugene, Ore.; and San Antonio, Texas.

Below are some of the latest activities happening during the week around the nation:

  • The New York State Court Reporters Association will host a variety of events during the week including meet and greets throughout the state.
  • Members of the Texas Court Reporters Association are will host a number of Veterans History Project events throughout the state.
  • The Hawaii Court Reporters and Captioners Association has encouraged members to display the official 2016 Court Reporting & Captioning Week logo on their social media sites, hang posters at courthouses showcasing the event, and reach out to state and local lawmakers to remind them of the week.
  • Members of the Oregon Court Reporters Association will participate in a number of meetings with lawmakers and advocacy groups to bring awareness to the court reporting and captioning professions.

For a complete list of activities happening to mark the 2016 Court Reporting & Captioning Week, visit NCRA.org/Awareness. For more information, visit NCRA.org. Career information about the court reporting profession — one of the leading career options that do not require a traditional four-year degree — can be found at crTakeNote.com.

 

New Hampshire reporter passes away

David “Randy” Jordan passed peacefully on Oct. 7, 2014, after a long battle with cancer. He was born on August 17, 1945, in Exeter, N.H. After high school, Randy enlisted in the U.S. Air Force, where he served active duty from 1962-1966. Upon being honorably discharged from the U.S. Air Force, Randy attended the Emery School of Court Reporting in Boston, Mass.

Upon completion of his court reporting studies, he became an official court reporter with the New Hampshire legislature, working primarily with the appropriations committee. In the mid-1970s, he was sworn in as an official superior court reporter working the New Hampshire circuit.

After a number of years with the court, he established David R. Jordan & Associates, a freelance reporting firm in Exeter. Randy’s wife, Audrey, managed the day-to-day business activities, and Jordan & Associates became one of the most successful reporting firms in the state. The firm continues to serve the legal community.

Randy was a regular attendee at the NCRA conventions and was highly regarded by his peers.

On a personal note, I can say that Randy was a superb reporter and a great friend. We first met while reporting for the New Hampshire legislature and remained friends for 50 years.
Jim Connelly, RPR (Ret.)

Bedford, N.H.

The importance of certifications

NCRA members rate their certifications as one of the most important benefits the association offers.

When the New Hampshire legislature was considering ways to cut back in 2011, it decided to do away with a num­ber of certification boards, from cosmetol­ogy to hunting and fishing guides. Also on the chopping block was the New Hamp­shire court reporting board. The New Hampshire Court Reporters Association acted immediately, organizing a strong grassroots campaign and directly lobby­ing the New Hampshire legislators about the importance of certification for court reporters. With the advice of NCRA’s Gov­ernment Relations department, the NH­CRA was able to delay the legislation for a year while convincing the legislators that keeping the court reporting board was a benefit not only to lawyers but to the pub­lic at large and eventually defeat the meas­ure.

“We recognized the elimination of the New Hampshire Court Reporting Board as a poor way to serve the citizens of New Hampshire. The people of New Hampshire should not have to worry that their rights are being violated when they are involved in legislation because court reporters are unregulated. We were lucky in that we were able to education our leg­islators on the reasons why court reporters should be fair and impartial to everyone who needs their services,” says Megan He­fler, RDR, who chaired the NHCRA’s legis­lative committee at the time the legislation was proposed.

Many states require certification

Twenty-six states currently have man­datory certification of court reporters, although some require only official re­porters or freelance reporters to be certi­fied. In eight other states, certification is voluntary. That the majority of states be­lieve that it is important to certify court reporters is a testament to the critical role they play in litigation and especially in the courts. As impartial record keepers, court reporters need to possess the right set of skills to fulfill their responsibilities.

“Certification, whether it’s adminis­tered through the states or through NCRA, establishes a baseline of skills so that the public can rely on court reporters both to be able to produce an accurate record and to be assured that the court reporters act in a fair and ethical way to all of the parties in litigation,” says Mary Cox-Daniel, RDR, CRR, CBC, CCP, a freelancer in Las Vegas, Nev., and chair of NCRA’s Council of the Academy of Professional Reporters.

Certification offers way to differentiate

Even in states that do not have manda­tory – or even voluntary – certification, some reporters choose to pursue certification. For some people, it’s a matter of be­ing able to differentiate services and, for others, it’s being able to be marketable no matter what the future brings. If you move from one state to another, holding a national certification, such as the RPR, can make it easier to find a new position as a freelancer or official court reporter. In fact, 22 states currently accept or use the Registered Professional Reporter (RPR) testing in place of the state certifi­cation or licensing examinations.

The benefits of certification go be­yond the individual reporter and profes­sion to the users of court reporting ser­vices. Certified practitioners must meet a minimum level of competency, follow a code of professional ethics, and abide by the rules of practice, so that judges, attor­neys, and the public know that they are paying for quality.

CertsByState

   Mandatory
   Voluntary
   None or not required
   Custom; see notes
   No data

 

Maine No CSR
Maryland No CSR
Massachusetts Not mandatory for state officialsVoluntary for freelancers (by state association)
Minnesota Officials must have their RPR and have graduated from an NCRA certified program
North Carolina Freelance: none requiredOfficial reporters: RPR or CVR and maintain all CEU requirements
Utah RPR accepted
West Virginia Mandatory for official reporters; voluntary for freelancers
Wyoming Officials must have graduated from an accredited court reporting school and pass a 225 Q&A