FPRA hands Take Note campaign two huge honors

FPRA_JudgesAwardNCRA’s Take Note campaign has been presented the Award of Distinction and the Judge’s Award by the Florida Public Relations Association in recognition of its raising the public’s awareness of the court reporting profession on a national level.

FPRA’s Award of Distinction recognizes any public relations program by an institution that creates a public image for the organization. Programs recognized in the category typically are designed to generate support for and awareness of the organization’s mission, values, programs, plans, or activities. The Judge’s Award is presented to any entry that demonstrates significant impact with minimal budget and recognizes that the program had had a national impact.

In April, the Capital Chapter of the FPRA awarded NCRA’s Take Note campaign first in the public relations division of its annual Image Awards. The public relations award considers how a program has improved an organization’s image in the community, informed and educated the public about an issue, created a public image for an organization, and successfully worked to inform or influence target markets audiences through the use of the news.

The Take Note campaign placed first in all four areas of the division, also being recognized for helping to ensure that future court proceedings have the most accurate transcripts available, and for improving individual lives by reducing the amount of personal student debt, and national debt, by offering affordable education opportunities.

FPRA_GoldenImageThe latest FPRA awards were based on entries representing programs from across the state.

“Essentially it is a two-step process,” said Kelly Robinson, president of BowStern, the Florida-based public relations firm handling the Take Note campaign. “The Image Awards are held locally each spring and the statewide Golden Image Awards are held during FPRA’s annual convention. These awards are highly competitive since the entries are up against the best work in the state. It is an honor to walk away with two.”

The Take Note campaign was launched August 2014 by NCRA to help increase the public’s awareness of the court reporting and captioning professions and to spotlight the fact that there is ample opportunity in the court reporting profession in the coming years.

In June, the campaign was awarded a 2015 Power of A Silver Award by the American Society of Association Executives. The Take Note effort was recognized for providing high school students and their parents and guidance counselors with education about the role of court reporters, as well as career benefits.

More information about the campaign can be found at crTakeNote.com.

Court reporting schools, others take advantage of NCRA publicity resources

When Michelle Houston, assistant campus director of the Long Island Business Institute in New York, needed a way to get the school’s court reporting program back in the eye of the public, she reached out to NCRA for help. The result: a news article in The Long Island News that quotes Houston about the healthy forecast ahead for court reporting professionals and the need for more students to enter the field. The cost: one phone call. Putting the profession before the public’s eye: priceless. The article helped to generate interest from a number of potential students.

NCRA is committed to supporting its certified court reporting schools and increasing the number of students who choose court reporting as a profession.  The Association offers public relations services, like the Long Island Business Institute press release and its distribution, on behalf of local court reporting schools about events and other newsworthy information deemed important to share with the public.  Local media outlets often are more than happy to run articles based on press releases they receive, especially when the event or news relates to the surrounding community.

Print outlets are not the only media outlets to use a press release. Take for example the story that showcased the career of court reporting as one that a student could graduate from and immediately become employed.  Generated by a press release, the story aired on a Friday night and again on Saturday morning and resulted in 45 phone calls to the Community College of Allegheny County in Pennsylvania, said Mary Beth Johnson, the school’s director of public relations.

“Press releases can be powerful in any medium and successfully get the message out that needs to reach a vast and often untouched audience,” Houston said.

Other examples of press releases issued to local media outlets by NCRA on behalf of certified schools include San Antonio College’s expansion of its court reporting program to include a new captioning program as a result of earning a grant through the Higher Education Act, and announcements whenever a court reporter is newly certified or recertified by NCRA.

Schools interested in taking advantage of this service provided by NCRA’s communications team should email information about their event or newsworthy items to pr@ncra.org. A member of the communications team will review all submissions and contact the schools directly for more information and other instructions.

NCRA also issues press releases to its members who earn new certifications. The releases are distributed in a member’s local media market and very often end up appearing in the local news, sometimes leading to full-length feature articles that showcase the career and highlight its many strong attractions.

Feedback from school representatives and from members about the effort has been extremely positive and growing participation continues to increase the number of media hits or placements that showcase NCRA and its members each month, generating lots of free advertising.

Georgia public broadcasting highlights court reporting as a career

On May 7, Georgia Public Broadcasting published information on becoming a court reporter as part of its “Georgia Works” series, which highlights information on state career fairs and areas where workers are needed. The article, which includes quotes from Marita Carey, director of admissions for Brown College of Court Reporting, noted that the U.S. Department of Labor expects demand for court reporters to grow 14 percent per year, which is faster than the average across all occupations.

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Promoting the profession

Tami SmithAs court reporters and captioners, we can do one important thing to ensure the future growth and success of our profession, and it is relatively simple: Talk about it. You’ve probably heard me say before that NCRA members’ grassroots efforts to talk about what they do for a living is, in my opinion, one of the most effective ways for us to attract fresh talent to the profession.

In this vein of promoting stenographic court reporting to both the public at large and the communities that use our services, I’d like to share with you two of the many initiatives happening at NCRA to spread the word about the profession. Both of these strategies, combined with members’ own grassroots promotional efforts, are already having a significant impact and are showing promise to be even more effective long into the future.

First, I’d like to talk to you about NCRA’s Strategic Alliances Task Force. As I’m sure you can imagine, there are countless associations and organizations that represent the consumers of our services — everything from legal associations representing lawyers, paralegals, court administrators, and others to organizations representing the deaf and hard-of-hearing communities. These captive audiences offer us a targeted way to promote stenographic court reporting, which is why the Strategic Alliances Task Force was formed. This group of NCRA volunteers evaluates these types of organizations and looks for ways to partner with them. Sometimes we attend relevant conventions, and sometimes we offer to contribute articles or presentations if they’re in need of content. The goal of all of this interaction is to let these associations and organizations know that court reporters and captioners bring value to the table.

I’d also like to share with you a relatively new initiative at NCRA regarding our public outreach strategy. Public relations can be effective beyond measure for supplementing paid marketing efforts. Since NCRA doesn’t have a limitless budget for paid advertising, it’s essential for us to spread the word about our association and our profession through more cost-effective channels. Successful public relations efforts result in articles, radio spots, blogs, and television mentions in the editorial — and thus, free of charge — realm.

Thanks to a new public relations initiative at NCRA, we will be more active than ever before when it comes to communicating to the media our activities and contributions to society. Not only will we engage with media across the country for big campaigns such as the upcoming National Court Reporting and Captioning Week (for more information, see NCRA.org/awareness), but we’re also making noise about individual members’ accomplishments as well. Thanks to a new partnership with a Washington, D.C.-area public relations firm to help us distribute releases across the country, we are now able to issue a press release every time a member participates in the Veterans History Project and every time a member receives a RPR certification. That’s right — if you earn your RPR, NCRA will issue a press release on your behalf to the media in your geographical area. There’s no better way to spread the word about court reporters and captioners than to celebrate their successes.

As the strategy evolves, NCRA’s dedicated communications team will expand the press release program to include all of NCRA’s certifications and significant milestones and anniversaries of NCRA members. One small TV announcement or newspaper blurb at a time, members of the public will stop and think, “Hmmm… court reporters. I wonder if that would be a good option for my daughter/sister/cousin/me?” And that, my friends, can be more powerful than any amount of paid advertising.

If you receive an email from the public relations and communications team at NCRA, I encourage you to respond with the simple information they will need to issue a press release on your behalf. In celebrating your accomplishments, we celebrate the profession as a whole. That’s truly believing, dreaming, and inspiring.

Five ways to love court reporting

Five ways to love court reporting

Five ways to love court reporting

NCRA announced that “National Court Reporting and Captioning Week” will be held February 17-23, 2013, as a way to get attention about what great careers court reporting, captioning, and CART can be. Want to help? Here’s how.

When NCRA announced National Court Reporting and Captioning Week, the JCR got in touch with NCRA’s new Senior Director of Marketing and Communications, Christina Lewellen, to find out more about this new initiative. She described a multi-pronged campaign that will include schools, reporters, state associations, and NCRA working together to promote the profession to prospective students and also to the general public. “Based on member feedback on the NCRA Member Needs Survey,” Lewellen says, “we know that many court reporters feel that the public at large doesn’t understand the importance of the court reporter or captioner. We wanted to do something to draw attention to the profession, and we know that our best advocates are court reporters themselves.”

NCRA will launch the week with a number of press releases to news organizations about the week and the profession to draw attention to how court reporters are integral to the effective functioning of our legal systems, as well as how important captioning and CART are to people who are Deaf or hard of hearing. NCRA’s Government Relations department has also asked that Congress officially recognize the week. Finally, NCRA will be launching a social media campaign that will highlight a new video about the professions in the hopes that it will make more students consider taking classes for court reporting.

But she emphasized, “Getting all of NCRA’s members to do something, even if it is something small, like changing their Facebook picture for the week, can do a lot to raise people’s awareness of the profession.”


One of the best ways to promote the court reporting and captioning professions is to take it to the source: high school and middle school students. Contact your local high school counselor to see if you can come in for a class period to talk about the profession and the many options it offers. As you know, stenographic skills can open many different career options, including court reporting, live-event captioning for the deaf and hard-of-hearing community, captioning for broadcast and specialized videography. In addition, the strong marketplace demand means court reporting offers an abundance of long-term career opportunities. “Court reporting is consistently ranked as one of the top career options as it offers both flexibility and significant income potential,” notes Jim Cudahy, CEO and executive director of NCRA.

If you’re nervous about making a presentation, consider enlisting a colleague who can talk while you realtime the presentation. There’s nothing like showing realtime in action to get people excited. If you need additional help in getting started, check out the NCRA website. NCRA plans to post a PowerPoint presentation and basic talking points to get you started.


Court reporters’ participation in the Veterans History Project has been a win-win-win all the way around. Since the inception of the Veterans History Project in 2003, the National Court Reporters Foundation has worked with the United States Library of Congress. The collaboration has been a win for veterans and the Library, as well as the historians who now have access to transcripts of the many oral histories sent to the Library. It has been a win for the many court reporters, captioners, legal videographers, students, teachers, and firm owners who have participated, who talked about how meaningful this volunteer opportunity has been to them. Finally, it has been a win for the profession as a whole, because when court reporting firms and court reporting programs have organized Veterans History Project days, they have reached out into the community and shown people how important eyewitnesses to history really are — and how stenographers are among the few who can turn those oral reports into an accessible written document.

Get involved in the Veterans History Project through the NCRA website, or contact Beth Kilker, NCRF’s Oral Histories Program Coordinator, at bkilker@ncra.org.


Another of NCRF’s programs for court reporters is the “Making the Record” Legal Education program, a presentation kit for court reporters to help them explain the importance of the record to attorneys and judges. The presentation offers tips on how to present the information and a script and PowerPoint presentation to give you a good start on your own presentation. In addition, you can download the “Making the Record” brochure and copy it for the people attending your session. All of these materials can be found on the NCRA website.


If you are a fan of social media and have a Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn account, you can promote the profession with a few simple clicks. You can make NCRA’s logo for “National Court Reporting and Captioning Week” your Facebook photo, tweet a link to NCRA’s new one-minute video about the profession, or link to one of the articles about court reporting posted on the NCRA website. You can also share your story about court reporting — how you learned about the profession, why it was a great choice as a profession, or what the benefits of being a court reporter or captioners are — and tag NCRA’s website as part of your message.


NCRA has created a number of press releases that members can fill out to show how they are participating in “National Court Reporting and Captioning Week.” If you know local journalists, you are certainly welcome to send the information through yourself. If you are unsure, NCRA can do it for you. Just make sure to fill it out and send it back to pr@ncra.org with the subject line of “Court Reporting Week.”


For more information or to download or share files, please visit www.ncra.org/awareness. On this page, NCRA has consolidated information for members, state associa tions, schools, and the general media to use during “National Court Reporting and Captioning Week.” The http://www.ncra.org/ awarenesswebsite, however, will remain available for members to use for other events as called upon.