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The National Court Reporters Association Annual Expo in Denver

Posted on: August 26th, 2019 by Sfl Media No Comments

NCRA_convention29 men and women filled the Colorado Convention Center in downtown Denver representing the cream of the court reporting crop. They descended on the Mile High City for the annual National Court Reporters Association Convention and Expo, where contestants are competing for the chance to be crowned the fastest and most accurate reporters and captioners in the country.


This is basically the Olympics of court reporting.


Who are the Participants?

Most know court reporters from movies or TV shows as the silent, robotic human that sits at a steno machine without so much as a smile or smirk and types away indiscriminately.

“People think we’re robots,” said court reporter Amanda Maze, “We’re not!”

And while the name of the role suggests court duties only, the profession extends far beyond depositions and preliminary hearings. Music festivals, TV, movies and more need closed captioning for performances. Sports broadcasts need someone to keep up with the announcers for its telecasts.

And guess what…none of it requires a college degree.


“People have no idea what a great job it is,” says a court reporter from Illinois and contest chair for the competition. “You can travel. You can have a great government job. You can stay home. There are so many possibilities.”


What do the Contestants Have to Say?

Court reporting is not typing, contrary to popular belief. It’s really learning a language.

Stenography machines look like laptops with smaller screens. They feature keyboards with long, piano-like keys without any letters of numbers. To keep up with the speed of human speech, reporters write in their own shorthand, combining different keys to produce words and phrases. They can also program keys to write common words that can be used with just one keystroke.

While these skills are mostly used in courtrooms and in boardrooms, veteran court reporters and captioners relish the ability to compete against one another on steno’s biggest stage: the National Speed and Realtime competitions.

Court reporters are usually grammar buffs and detail nuts with unnerving concentration. The best of them just let their fingers fly, a rhythm so familiar it’s like breathing or blinking.

“If you’re thinking,” Maze said, “you’ve already lost.”


The Competition 

In the speed contest, the contestants raced to complete three, five-minute sessions, that gradually escalate in speed and difficulty. Afterward, they’re allowed to clean up their transcriptions, and the person with the most accurate account takes home the gold.

And it’s all done in complete silence. Organizers gathered all cellphones and watches to prevent any distractions. One court reporter made sure that everyone had their Wi-Fi turned off.

Participants kept their stenos on black tripods, hoisted up to their waists. The computer voice launched into the third and final test, a rapid-fire sequence of questions and answers from a lawyer to a DNA expert. The speed: 280 words per minute.

The good news is that steno keys are virtually silent, unlike computer keyboards.

Many of the participants said the tight-knit court reporter community is what brought them to Denver. It wasn’t just about winning a medal. They come together as a fraternity that from our previous posts are “the last of a dying breed”. is ready to serve you in your court reporting, videography services, interpreters, live-streaming, and video-to-text synchronization.

Although the majority of cities that offer CourtScribes’ services are in Florida, the company home base, other cities all across these United States that CourtScribes offers services in, are the following: Jacksonville, Miami, Tampa, Port St. Lucie, Fort Lauderdale, Cape Coral, Coral Springs, Clearwater, Palm Bay, Fort Myers, Weston, Sarasota, Orlando, St. Petersburg, Hialeah, Stuart, Hollywood, Naples, West Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Deerfield Beach, Jupiter, Key West, Coral Gables, Maryland, Manhattan, Buffalo, Washington DC, Baltimore, Bowie, Virginia, Frederick, Albany, New York, Brooklyn,  Westchester, Gaithersberg, and Rockville.

N.Y. Court Reporting Students Take Top Prizes At Competition

Posted on: February 18th, 2019 by Sfl Media No Comments

Several students from Queens, Brooklyn, Bronx and Staten Island, New York, were recently named winners in the National Court Reporting Association Student Speed Competition held at Plaza College.

Plaza College in Forest Hills, New York the hosted the 2019 National Court Reporters Association (NCRA) Student Speed Contest competition Feb. 13 as part of their court reporting and captioning week. More than 100 students who are training to be court stenographers competed in contests  to test their speed and accuracy.

“We are the guardians of the record. Our role is crucial because we record and preserve the accurate accounts of trials, depositions, grand juries and other crucial aspects of the legal system which are essential to ensuring the fair administration of justice,” Karen Santucci, Plaza College court reporting program chair and vice president of the NYS Court Reporters Association, told QNS.

“We are extremely proud of the professionals who graduate this program and go on to not only work in the courts but also perform closed captioning and provide services for the hearing impaired. Our students are well prepared for these crucially important well-paying jobs in which they can build their careers,” Santucci said.

Two hundred students are currently enrolled in the Plaza College program, which is

Several students from Queens, Brooklyn, Bronx and Staten Island, New York, were rnamed winners in the student speed competition.

Students transcribe using a specialized shorthand machine which interfaces with a customized laptop computer, taking dictation at various speeds as they train to join the ranks of court reporters.

Court reporters’ records are key to ensuring fair trials, often serving as the basis for appeals. Court reporting professionals are responsible for preserving the historical record of legal proceedings and serving as documentarians that ensure the exacting reliability.   

Winners of the  2019 National Court Reporters Association (NCRA) Student Speed Contest include Bianna Lewis of Brooklyn; Dishawn Williams of New Jersey; Taylor Mascari of Staten Island; Letizia Yemma of Staten Island; Paula Mullen of Queens; Christina Penna of  Staten Island; Alexandra Bourekas of Queens; Emily Nicholson of Staten Island;  Rachel Salatino of Long Island; Tikiya Etchison of Staten Island;  Michelle Paluszek of New Jersey, and Maia Morgan of Bronx.