New Professional Spotlight: Haley Hermus

Haley Hermus

By Whitney Berndt

Haley Hermus lives in Little Chute, Wisc., and is a per diem reporter for the 8th District in Wisconsin. She graduated in May of 2018 from Lakeshore Technical College in Cleveland, Wisc.

JCR | What theory do you use?

HH | Realtime Realwrite.

JCR | How long have you been an NCRA member?

HH | Since 2016.

JCR | How did you learn about the career?

HH | I was watching American Sniper and very closely followed the trial of the murder of Chris Kyle. It was after following his story that I realized that something in the court system was for me.

JCR | What was your biggest hurdle after finishing school?

HH | My biggest hurdle after finishing school was finding a job. I love my hometown, and I didn’t want to move, so unfortunately options are very limited with official positions. I guess that just goes to show how great of an area I live in!

JCR | What do you consider your greatest professional accomplishment?

HH | My greatest accomplishment was being asked to read back for the first time and absolutely nailing it. It was not only the scariest but also the most rewarding part of the job so far.

JCR | What was the best piece of advice you received from another reporter?

HH |The best advice I received was to stick with it. School can be so challenging with so many close test scores, but the end result will be so worth the journey.

JCR | How did you feel going into your first assignment/day on the job, and how did you feel coming out of it?

HH | Going into my first day on the job was so scary and full of butterflies, as any other job would be, but when I walked out of my first day, I had never smiled so big; and I realized I couldn’t have chosen a more perfect profession for me.

Whitney Berndt is a student at Lakeshore Technical College in Cleveland, WI. She is a member of the NCRA New Professionals Committee and can be reached at wberndt828@yahoo.com

2019 Court Reporting & Captioning Week is happening nationwide

NCRA’s weeklong National Court Reporting & Captioning Week kicked off Feb. 9 with state associations, schools, and firms sharing how they are celebrating the week. This is the seventh year NCRA has hosted the event designed to help promote the court reporting and captioning professions to the public by hosting demonstrations, open houses, and more.

At the national level, U.S. Rep. John Shimkus from Illinois recognized the week in a written speech submitted to the U.S. House of Representatives’ official record. In addition, U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis from Iowa is expected to deliver a similar speech from the House floor later in the week recognizing the event.

Arizona

Official proclamations have also been secured in the following states:

Arizona

California

Idaho

Illinois

Iowa

Mississippi

North Carolina

Ohio

Oklahoma

Iowa

Eugene, Ore.

South Carolina

South Dakota

Tennessee

Wisconsin

What the states are up to

The California Court Reporters Association (CCRA) is hosting several events throughout the week for its members including a “Spread the Love” submission contest via its Facebook and Instagram outlets with a prize of a one-year association membership. CCRA members are also encouraged to share their steno talent at a career fair or volunteer to mentor a court reporting student to mark the week. Throughout the week CCRA will also dedicate one day each of social media posts to highlight members who are official court reporters, captioners, and freelancers. The freelancers’ day will also feature a digital “mixer” via Facebook where freelancers can connect and chat. CCRA is also auctioning off a new ProCat writer on its Facebook page and is hosting a live broadcast about NCRA’s A to ZTM Intro to Steno Machine Shorthand program.

“Court Reporters, the Eighth Wonder of the World,” is a poster the Florida Court Reporters Association has developed for its members to display in their courthouses and offices. The poster provides information about broadcast captioners, CART providers, realtime captioning, and court reporters.


President of the Kansas Court Reporters Association (KCRA) Jennifer Olsen, RPR, CRI, an official court reporter from Topeka, and other association members marked Court Reporting & Captioning Week with a presentation to local county commissioners in Shawnee County in Topeka. KCRA members will also be handing out information and treats all week to attorneys, judges, court staff, administration staff, and building staff in at their courthouse.

In Iowa, members of the Iowa Court Reporters tagged NCRA in one of their Facebook posts, and to date it has reached more than 22,500 people and generated more than 3,500 engagements and 220 shares. In addition, members are posting daily photos of their board members in super hero apparel and encouraging others to share photos of themselves with their machines either with or without super apparel.

President of the Ohio Court Reporters Association (OCRA) Terri Sims, RDR, CRR, an official court reporter from Clinton, Ohio, submitted a letter to the editor to all major newspapers in the state about the important work court reporters and captioners provide. In addition, OCRA members are being invited to participate in a Sip & Paint social event being held on Feb. 17.

In Oklahoma, members of the Oklahoma Court Reporters Association are hosting “A Day at the Capitol” for legislators that will include live demonstrations by court reporters and captioners as well as speakers.

Schools the celebration

Anoka Technical College in Anoka, Minn., is hosting an on-campus Court Reporting & Captioning Exhibition in conjunction with the Minnesota Association of Verbatim Reporters & Captioners. The event will feature demonstrations of state-of-the-art technology, tours of the school’s captioning lab, and short presentations. In addition, industry leaders representing realtime captioners and court reporters will also be on hand for the festivities. There will also be pizza, steno cake, coffee, soda, and prizes.

Faculty from the court reporting and captioning program at Green River College in Auburn, Wash.,  have tasked students with going out into the community and setting up their machines, practicing, and taking photos to try to spread the word about how great a career in court reporting or captioning is. Students will also be armed with information and be posting on social media throughout the week. In addition, one student will be traveling to Italy with her machine and will provide pictures. The photos will then be collected and used for a calendar. To further help students celebrate the week, Byers & Anderson, a court reporting firm in Tacoma, will be hosting a tour of its facilities and host a brunch and a Q & A session with working professionals.

Firms are celebrating too

AB Court Reporting & Video in Denver, Colo., branded a flyer designed by NCRA to help promote the week and the important work that court reporters and captioners do that the firm will share on its social media outlets throughout the week.

For the second consecutive year, Planet Institute, a division of Planet Depos, based in Washington, D.C., is offering three $1,000 scholarship opportunities to qualified students and recent graduates of the nation’s court reporting schools. Those who qualify to apply for one of three $1,000 scholarships are, specifically, students near completion of the program or who completed a court reporting program within the past three months.

And don’t forget the prizes

The NCSA State Challenge is a friendly contest among state associations and individual NCRA members to spread the word about the benefits of a career in court reporting or captioning. The 2019 NCSA State Challenge marks the fifth year the gauntlet has been thrown down. Winners will receive a variety of prizes ranging from complimentary NCRA event registrations to vouchers for continuing education.

This year, NCRA has issued its own challenge as well that calls on all state affiliates to help celebrate this year’s Court Reporting & Captioning Week by securing an official proclamation recognizing the week by their state governor or a state lawmaker. States that submit a copy of their official state proclamation to pr@ncra.org will be entered into a drawing to win one free 2019 Convention & Expo registration.

A downloadable sample proclamation is available on NCRA’s Court Reporting & Captioning resource page.

For additional resources, visit NCRA’s Court Reporting & Captioning Week resources page. No matter how you celebrate 2019 Court Reporting & Captioning Week, be sure to share your stories and photos with NCRA’s Communications Team at pr@ncra.org.

Read more about what others are doing to celebrate NCRA’s 2019 Court Reporting & Captioning Week.

Northwoods court reporters training next generation through free classes

JCR: Journal of Court Reporting, TheJCR.com, JCR WeeklyA Nov. 8 story on WJFW Newswatch 12 (Rhinelander, Wis.) highlights an A to Z program at the Oneida County Courthouse. The story quotes Jean Wood, RMR, CRR, an official in Lake Tomahawk, and NCRA President Chris Willette, RDR, CRR, CRC, a freelancer and firm owner in Wausau, as well as a couple of participants in the program.

Read more and watch the video.








NCRA’s A to Z Intro to Machine Shorthand program sparks media interest

NCRA's Discover Steno: Explore. Consider. Learn

NCRA’s A to Z Intro to Machine Shorthand program, introduced last year, is steadily gaining interest by the public and the media. In addition to programs in more than 16 states, most recently media outlets in New York and Wisconsin highlighted the effort.

Good Morning Rochester, Rochester, N.Y., aired a piece on Sept. 19 that featured NCRA Director Meredith A. Bonn, RPR, an official court reporter from Webster. The story highlighted what Bonn does as well as emphasized the current need for court reporters and captioners. A second story that also featured Bonn provided insight into what it takes to enter the profession and included information about the A to Z programs she leads in her area.

On Sept. 14, WJFW Newswatch 12, Rhinelander, Wis., showcased NCRA member Lynn Penfield, RPR, CRR, an official court reporter from Harshaw, who will begin an A to Z program in October. The story notes that Penfield is running the program because she “considers [court reporting] the best job she’s ever had, and she wants to get more people interested in her field.”

NCRA Past President Nancy Varallo, FAPR, RDR, CRR, Worcester, Mass., developed the A to Z program to help those outside the profession experience steno by learning to write the basics. She graciously turned the program over to NCRA. Since then, NCRA’s Education Department has successfully worked at the grassroots level to promote the effort.

The six-to-eight week course is available at no cost to participants. Volunteer leaders host the sessions, and participants use loaner machines that have been donated by others in the profession.

To learn more about the A to Z Intro to Machine Steno program, visit TheJCR.com/tag/a-to-z-program, or contact Cynthia Bruce Andrews at candrews@ncra.org.








Oneida County court reporter holding free class to raise more interest in field

JCR: Journal of Court Reporting, TheJCR.com, JCR WeeklyOn Sept. 14, WJFW Newswatch 12, Rhinelander, Wis., ran a story about the A to Z Program sessions that NCRA member Lynn Penfield, RPR, CRR, is running. According to the article, “Anyone in the Northwoods who is interested in learning more about court reporting can sign up, although you should at least be a junior or senior in high school.” Sessions begin Oct. 17, and the article includes information to sign up. Penfield, who is an official in Harshaw, is running the program because she “considers [court reporting] the best job she’s ever had, and she wants to get more people interested in her field.”

This is not Penfield’s first experience with her local media. In 2016, she was featured in a piece about court reporting on WHFW-Channel 12, and in 2017, she was presented with a proclamation signed by Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker during Court Reporting & Captioning Week.

Read more.








WCRA honors NCRA President Chris Willette through NCRF donation

In August, the Wisconsin Court Reporters Association (WCRA) honored Chris Willette, RDR, CRR, CRC, on becoming NCRA’s 2017-2018 President through a generous Thoughtful Tribute donation to the National Court Reporters Foundation (NCRF). Willette, who was installed as NCRA President in August during the Association’s Convention & Expo in Las Vegas, Nev., is from Wausau, Wis., and is a past president of WCRA.

“WCRA made a donation in honor of Chris Willette’s NCRA presidency to help promote all the wonderful things that NCRF does for our national association, such as the Corrine Clark Professionalism Institute, the Legal Education Program, the Oral Histories Program, the Hard-of-Hearing Heroes Project, and the Angels Program,” said Sheri L. Piontek, RMR, CRR, CRC, an official court reporter from Green Bay and current president of WCRA.

“Chris Willette has a longstanding history of giving back to our profession on both the state and national levels. WCRA wanted to acknowledge those accomplishments in a way that will continue those efforts as Chris has demonstrated countless times,” she added.

NCRF’s Thoughtful Tributes program provides donors the opportunity to honor important people in their lives, whether personal or professional.

For all donations received, no matter the amount, NCRF sends an acknowledgment of each gift to the honoree(s) directly or to the person’s family, as appropriate. For donations of $250 or more, the names of both the donor and the honoree are listed on NCRF’s Thoughtful Tributes website and appear on a plaque displayed at NCRA headquarters. All donations to the fund are 100 percent tax deductible as a charitable contribution.

For more information or to donate, contact B. J. Shorak, NCRF Deputy Executive Director, at bjshorak@ncra.org, or call 800-272-6272.








Lakeshore Technical College receives grant

JCR: Journal of Court Reporting, TheJCR.com, JCR WeeklyLakeshore Technical College, Cleveland, Wis., recently wrote in about their recent grant award. Here’s what the college reported:

“Lakeshore Technical College was awarded a $196,000 grant from the Wisconsin Technical College System. It is a State Core Industry Grant. The tasks we outlined in the grant include:

High school online theory class – Spring start: Our project is to break our theory class down to two semesters and offer it online for high school students. We would meet with them live once a week as a class to give in-person feedback and answer questions. The following spring, they would be able to attend class along with our traditional students. It will also be a pilot program to possibly allow a spring start for all students as we now only have a fall start.

Lakeshore Technical College teaches all classes over an ITV (Instructional Television) format throughout the state of Wisconsin at various technical colleges. Students attend live classes with their instructors and their classmates. We feel very strongly about teaching our classes live and have had great success. Because we do have some areas of the state where we don’t have partnerships with a local technical college, we are looking to try solo sites for underserved areas. We will be researching technology that will enable students to attend our program from their homes in areas where they don’t have a satellite school within their area.

Embed CRR and RPR: We will embed the Certified Realtime Reporter and Registered Professional Reporter Exams in our broadcast captioning internship (CRR) and court reporting internship (RPR) so that students will get the experience of taking the exams before they graduate.

Student success coach/point person: We will hire a person to communicate personally with students and shared-site personnel to answer questions, help with technology, set up recruitment events, and help students to feel more of a classroom community instead of being ‘out there on their own.’

We are very excited with these new projects and look forward to their implementation.”








Celebration of Student Engagement event highlights court reporting and captioning

JCR logoThe court reporting program at Madison Area Technical College, Madison, Wis., was recently represented at an annual Celebration of Student Engagement event held at the state’s capitol building. Students from the program, as well as faculty, were on hand to help educate lawmakers and their aides about the profession.

“Madison Area Technical College’s court reporting program was honored to be chosen to represent the college at the Celebration of Student Engagement event,” said Lisa Hubacher, RPR, CRI, program director. “Each of the 16 colleges in the Wisconsin Technical College System is invited to showcase one of its programs at this event. Three of our program students — Jessica Bolanos, Abby Friesen, and Brant Larson — spent the day educating lawmakers and other attendees about the program and career areas, as well as playing ‘Stump the Stenographer,’ one of our favorite interactive games.”

Students also played “You Text, I’ll Write” with event attendees.








Thoughts from a 30-year court reporter

jcr-publications_high-resOn Feb. 17, Gramann Reporting posted part three of an interview with Julie Poenitsch, RDR, CRR, a freelance reporter from Wind Lake, Wis. In part three, Poenitsch talks about how she’s used her skills outside of reporting, specifically to provide captioning at her church. In the article, Poenitsch comments, “If there aren’t always people who aren’t hard of hearing to watch the screens, little kids like to watch the screens too! They’ll behave.”

The post links to parts one and two of the interview as well.

Read more.








Consider a new career in court reporting

jcr-publications_high-resGood Day Wisconsin on FOX News 11, Green Bay, aired a story on Feb. 16 about court reporting that featured NCRA member Sheri Piontek, RMR, CRR, CRC. Piontek is president of the Wisconsin Court Reporters Association.

See more.