Monday, February 2, 2015

Diary of the busy court reporter...

I've never been that good of a diarist.  I can't tell you the number of little journals I've started, with all good intentions, only to flounder ten days, two weeks, a month into it.

Obviously, blogging is no different.  That 18 months have passed since I posted is mind-boggling. That said, I share a great part of my life on Facebook, which allows me to interact with reporters and other friends on a daily basis. Doesn't mean I shouldn't do this too. I just haven't.

The past 18 months have been full of revelations and changes. I'm no longer ONLY scoping. I am working as a reporter/manager for my own firm with just a handful of excellent clients. I'm exhibiting at NC Bar Association events. I'm being asked to deliver presentations at regional and national training events. I reorganized my business into an LLC and am developing a new Web site. That's just the business side.

On the personal side, I've been working with an energy worker.  I have been through a considerable purge here at the house.  I've started to exercise for real - I competed in a triathlon last year and did the Disney 10K at Marathon Weekend just last month. Al and I celebrated 25 years of marriage last year.

All in all, it's been pretty fun the last 18 months. But I do need to blog more. I want to share more of my traveling court reporter stuff (Intersteno is in Budapest this year!) and my trainings in various locales (Deerfield Beach, FL, and Las Vegas!). There are always the trips in the new RV we got last year. And I've always thought I'd LIKE to be a travel writer, so, I really should get in the habit of it.

Next trip is Florida, this weekend. Maybe I'll post a picture from there, or even a blog post. It could happen.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Out of the comfort zone... and into another software!

When I left my employment with the State almost two years ago, I decided that I would restart my scoping business.  Aside from using Eclipse software, I decided that I needed to add Case CATalyst to my repertoire. I bought it.  I used it on a couple of assignments, but just couldn't muster the speed that I had already developed using my main software (which, in fairness, I've been on for over a decade and my fingers fly automatically to the correct keys).

So I let CC languish.  I looked into selling it and transferring the license.  In the end, it was cheaper just to keep paying the support fee.

Fast-forward to this week. I've been reaching out to folks for files on CC because my significant other is under five years away from retirement and HE is interested in scoping!  People were watching that...  and then a colleague reached out in need.  She had a trip planned and didn't want to take her computer.  Would I be willing to proof one day and scope another?  Um...

I said yes.  Dusted off the license.  Grabbed the handbook.  And hoped for the best.  There were 200 pages to proofread and then another 200 to scope.  I did all the pages.  ALL of them.  I'm thankful that the court reporter was willing to take me on and answer a lot of style questions and, more importantly, the issues of uploading and downloading said files appropriately. In the end, I finished all the pages and she's on a plane to a tropical locale.

Sometimes it takes a while for an idea to percolate to the top.  Sometimes you just have to take the leap of faith and hope that someone ELSE's faith in YOU can bring you up.

I'm not by any means where I ought to be, but I can now say that if someone needs help on CC, I can do it!  Still not in my comfort zone, but it's better than it was even 48 hours ago.

Challenge met!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

It's more than just a job...

Every year the states put together budget proposals.  Every year we freelancers wait to see how the budget will affect the jobs of our official colleagues and, by extension us and the whole of our profession.

This year we heard that the NC senate had a provision in their budget to eliminate fully half of the complement of official reporters on staff in the state system.  Additionally, they sought to (1) bring in contract employees and (2) add electronic recording in superior courts.

The officials were spurred to action - as were many of us on the freelance side.  Letters were written, emails were sent, calls were made, and meetings were set up and attended.  Passions were ignited!

While many people think that reporters in the courtroom are an unnecessary expense, anyone who has ever had a family member or loved one involved in a court case will probably say that the reporter's presence was comforting; certainly the fact that a person is there to ensure that the proceedings are taken down accurately THE FIRST TIME is very important.

Court reporters are human beings; yes, they cost money to employ, but the benefit to the system is not something to be sneered at.  Reporters are hard-working individuals.  They are highly skilled. They utilize up-to-date technology (ever hear of realtime?) and provide their own equipment.  But most importantly, at least to my mind, they are impartial and they bring the human brain into the production of the record.  A machine simply cannot do what a skilled reporter can.

Most reporters that I know LOVE what they do and don't consider what they do a "job."  They consider it a profession, a career, a calling.  We're passionate about what we do.  And we strive to do the best we can. We  know how important the written record is.

The officials aren't quite safe yet - though a grassroots effort got the officials' positions heard in the state House committee, and hopefully the compromise bill will not include any reductions in force.

I know I love what I do and I hope to continue to do it a long time; when you do what you love, it's not work.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Becoming a Better Mentor

As you all know, I love mentoring.  This profession has given so much to me that I believe it is only right that I pay it forward.  I'm currently mentoring five students (FIVE!) and a few recent graduates as well.  I love that my "babies" also become my friends and colleagues.

I've decide to step up my game a bit as a mentor.  I'm going to take vocabulary words from my cases - whether it's reporting or proofreading - and develop a weekly list for my mentees.  They can add the words to their dictionaries, look them up if they need to, and generally increase their knowledge base so they'll have an even better foundation once they are out in the world of reporting.

I've also thought about adding suggestions for brief forms and theory choices, homophones to be aware of.  I do not consider myself to be THE expert on reporting, but I've done enough depositions, hearings, trials, etc, that I have a sound basis in vocabulary (and research thereof!) that I can pass on these things with confidence.

Hopefully the tidbits I share will assist the new reporters-to-be on their journey.

How are you paying it forward?

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

I love what I do.  All of it.  And you can love it too.

Take a deep breath, and then plunge in.  The water's chilly at first, but there are life preservers and swimming coaches all around.

Please check out this link for information on careers in the court reporting and captioning field.

If you have any questions after wading in, let me know and I'll try to answer them; if I can't give you an answer, I'll direct you to someone who can.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

What a difference a year makes

It's been a long time.  I'm not excusing myself from not writing; I'm apologizing.

This time last year I was lamenting how quickly tax time approaches; this year I've already got all my tax documentation ready for the accountant, save my medical tallies.  (Which were high last year - part of my reason for not writing; I had some issues that needed taking care of)

I'm moving along on with my desired path of scoping for my realtime court reporters.  I have developed my business plan and implemented it in that I'm doing more daily copy scoping.  Somehow, though, I've also added more reporting.  This is a good thing.  I'm really enjoying the variety of work.  I'm training someone to take over the scoping for MY work that I report; I continue to scope for my reporting clients.

Add to the mix the mentoring that I so love to do.  And the training that I need to do (and want to do).

I'm going to try to add the CLVS certificate to my arsenal to make myself more marketable for the international work; many of my reporters work with videographers on their international jobs.  Wouldn't it be great to have a CLVS who was also a reporter and scopist along to help the reporters in the evenings?  Yeah, I thought so too.

I'm working on making my home a little bit more livable.  We've cleared out papers in the garage (450 pounds' worth have been shredded), added to our deck, and we're organizing and purging and decorating our abode.

That's what a busy reporter/scopist does.  Gets caught up, sometimes, in the everyday and forgets to blog.  I'll get back on the wagon.  Have a GREAT Valentine's Day.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


I have had my Facebook account turned off for about five days now.  In that time I've been tweeting, I've signed up for Foursquare (see what I mean about addictive personality?), and I updated my LinkedIn profile.  I've also driven to an RV center to do a test-drive of the rig that my husband and I want to purchase.  I've done all kinds of housework (purging).  I've even made dinner.

But I really do miss my friends.  I've had a couple contact me and ask what happened; some knew, and others were informed by a few close friends what's going on.  I may - may - decide to log back in this weekend.  I have a fantastic girls' weekend planned with some reporters from Ohio and Illinois, and I may need to post pictures, etc.

What I can say is that I was productive - though I didn't have quite the page volume to really say SHUT IT DOWN - and I did find things to distract myself when I needed a work break.  I watched a movie with my husband and basically shared time with him that I might have spent listlessly reviewing my Facebook page.

Politics isn't going anywhere, nor is religion.  But I have a sense that I'll be revamping my privacy sections a lot in the future.  For now, I'll be offline, possibly checking in on Foursquare.  And I'll be working on my backlog pages too.