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The world of digital recording is obviously here, and while it is a great advance in court reporting technology, it also serves as a constant threat to the very existence of the human court reporters. You may be aware that there are courts in downtown Atlanta that have already replaced court reporters with digital technology, and this certainly isn’t the only place such activity is occurring. I hear stories from colleagues all over the country about digital recording replacing the reporters, and the technology is working successfully.
So what do we do with this fun, new, looming threat to our very livelihoods? I offer two options for your consideration.
Option one: Achieve what I hear many reporters are doing about the situation. Sit around passively watching their world change, while aggressively whining and moaning about how technology (the same technology they use every day in their jobs) is going to destroy us all and that soon the court reporting industry will be obliterated. This option is usually accompanied by no positive action or participation in entities that are addressing current technology issues. It is also usually accompanied by low income!
Option two: Join and enthusiastically support our national court reporting associations, the entities that are involved in well-organized addresses of today’s technological advances, both pro and con. There are two national organizations for court reporters.
NCRA, National Court Reporters Association, serves the steno writing community. NVRA, National Verbatim Reporters Association, serves the voice writing reporters. Both NCRA and NVRA are positive, dynamic forces, here to serve and protect all court reporters’ careers. These organizations need growth in membership to survive financially, as well as to embrace the knowledge and input of as many reporters as possible. I know firsthand that the board members of both associations devote unbelievable time to serving, all in an effort to help our court reporting community survive. These are the entities that fuel our careers; not joining one of these associations is like not eating and then wondering why you’re hungry.
Joining the national associations also offers many chances to attain CE requirements. Join our national associations, learn from them, and be a part in supporting the two major entities that are supporting your existence.
NCRA and NVRA offer extensive benefits. I’ll not list them here as they are readily available on the web sites. I can say, on a personal note, I’ve been a member of NCRA for 17 years and a member of NVRA for eight years, and I can honestly claim very much of my current success is a result from being a member of these organizations. Yes, the membership dues exist, but they are nothing compared to the advantages derived from being a member.
Machine writer or voice writer, realtime or not, we’re all in this industry together and must support the industry’s main proponents, NCRA and NVRA. As the Chair of the Georgia Court Reporting Training Council, I encourage you to do so for the benefits at the state level. As a fellow court reporter, I encourage and plead with you to join and become active so we can all continue working side by side with advancing technology, not avoiding it, but embracing it in a positive, endless effort.