I'm wondering if most reporters are expecting what I'm expecting from a scopist. I'd be curious to hear both reporters' and scopists' opinions, of course.

Do you expect your scopist to:

Look up on the Internet spellings of any proper noun, i.e., company names, cities, doctors, products?

Fix wrong punctuation at the end of a sentence? Example:
"You were there what dates."

Follow your preferences as best they can? Examples:
Paragraph frequently
Put "BY" lines after any interruption in Q&A

When it's a video, go over the videotape word for word and be sure every word is in there?

Follow basic punctuation rules? And I know this is an area of much controversy and disagreement, but there are several basic punctuation rules that both Morson's and the rest of the world uses (Chicago Manual of Style and others). I'm very curious what punctuation most people can agree on.

How about these:

Comma between two independent clauses connected by a coordinating conjunction. Example: "He was happy, but he didn't like it." "She went up the stairs, and she fell down on her crown."

Break up run-on or choppy sentences - at least in SOME way. Example:
Q Do you recall during the time, I think you told me you worked there for about a year, during the time you worked at Rain Bird, was there any type of safety training that went about there?

Let me know what you think. Are there basics we all expect?

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My intention was not to offend you in any way. Obviously you did some research considering all of the statistics you were quoting, but you had no idea of my situation before you posted a comment about me on this site and I just wanted to set that straight.

I'll add in this little tidbit to why reporters should use scopists:

I was recently deposed. The transcript I got back from the reporter was rife with misspellings, poor punctuation, almost no paragraphs, and she had the nerve of charging my lawyer $12.00 per page. The reporter had a list of spellings that I gave her, INCLUDING the proper spelling of my daughter's name, and she didn't even bother to get that right.

I received another transcript from another witness, and THAT transcript also had misspellings, missed punctuation AND mistranslates.

It was clear that neither reporter utilized a scopist nor a proofreader, and neither reporter will be hired again.
Good reply AFA scopists, but if you really expect or even think a reporter can write 240 pages a day, every day, every week of the year, you're out of your mind, so your figures so straight out the window. Now, can a reporter make that kind of money? Sure, but not the way you're talking about. It consists of copies, hookups, rough drafts, expedites, etc., but I don't think that's the point you're trying to make.

I personally know reporters with this type of volume, so I'm speaking from experience here. I have friends who are reporters, and they aren't shy about sharing with me what they make annually. It is possible, though it depends on a lot of factors such as geography, marketing, writing ability, etc. They are true Type A personalities, and they've made it happen with a lot of hard work on their part through the years.

And you're right about the fact that that's not the point I was trying to illustrate in the first place. You can decrease the pages per week and change the per-page rate; my theory still holds true. So my figures certainly don't go straight out the window. If you'd ever had the pleasure of having a true partnership with a scopist, you'd know what I'm saying is true. Until then, I guess it's only human nature to doubt.
Sheena, you're not the only one who personally knows reporters with this type of volume. I work for one. Last week I did two jobs for her that were each over 225 pages.

High-volume reporters definitely are out there. I work with a reporter who did a three-year daily. Once in a blue moon, if she had a doctor's appointment or something she couldn't get done on a weekend, she'd have another reporter fill in for her, but she did the bulk of the three years on her own. She told me she made over a million dollars. Unfortunately, I didn't know her then. :o(

I know plenty of reporters taking in excess of a thousand pages a week on a fairly regular basis. Some parts of the country seem to be extremely slow while others are so swamped, they can't seem to catch a break.

Sheena Stobaugh
Scoping since 1996
Case CATalyst, Eclipse, DigitalCAT
Hi Renee,
I'd love to find a reporter who takes 1,000 pages a week who's looking for a Case Catalyst scopist :) I have 18 years experience, I charge top dollar, and I have excellent references. I live in San Diego, but we must be one of the "extremely slow" areas because I can't find those producers. Where's those busy areas so maybe I can look there?
Cathi Rowley
Judy, I know it's been a while since you posted this, but let me tell you . . . when I was a federal reporter, I worked five days a week, and my average day was 300 pages a day. Most of us at federal averaged between 200 and 300 pages A DAY, and if you were a reporter who managed to only get 150 pages a day, you either had a very new judge or a senior judge who was out of regular rotation, which was rare.

While it's rare for deposition reporters to write 200 and 300 pages a day five days a week, I can tell you from personal experience, it's nothing new under the sun for federal reporters, and most likely very similar for state reporters too.
True, I was speaking of depo reporters, not officials. Since I've never been an official, I'm incapable of speaking on their behalf.
I have an excellent scopist and feel lucky to have found her. She does it all - looks up proper spellings (apart from the spellings I give her), paragraphs, punctuates (she follows Morson's), she listens to all the audio when it's videotaped and then I proof it again with the tape. If she can't confirm a spelling or wasn't sure she put down what was said correctly, she will flag it for me to double-check.

I have encountered some not-so-good scopists when searching for backup scopists when my main one is swamped. Luckily, I never gave them a big job, so what I paid them was never that big. I just never used them again.
I think quality of life is something that deserves a mention. I will use my own life as an example because I know it is representative of my CRs' relationship with me. If, as you read this, you replace ME with the court reporter and the HOUSEKEEPER with a scopist, the exact same point is made....

I work from home but I have a housekeeper. Some people (named Mom) have hinted that I have a housekeeper because I am lazy. Not true. During extremely busy times, she is an absolute necessity. Having her clean my house means I'm not taking time away from scoping to do it myself. Therefore, I'm able to do more pages and make more money. (I don't have time to spend it, but, you know.) It's a business decision. The house is clean, I'm less stressed, I do more work, I make more money.

When things are average-busy, I still have her clean because I still want to have time to spend with family and friends. I want to enjoy a quality of life and cleaning the house doesn't enter that equation. It's a lifestyle decision. Plus, I have a commitment to her. We have a partnership. She is an important part of keeping my household running smoothly. I do not just drop her when the work drops off to a slightly-less-hectic pace because I count on her to be there when I need her.

It's only when things are slow that I ask her to hold off. In those cases, I must bite the bullet and clean my own house. She understands that her services are an expense that must be justified and I need a certain threshold of work for that.

I don't think I would have had this attitude and devotion towards my housekeeper ten or 15 years ago when I was full of energy and thought I could do it all and have it all. But the more I mature, I realize that life is for living. My son is 6 and I know that by Christmas, he'll be 16. It goes that fast. Would I rather spend that time folding laundry or having a silly string fight with him? Silly string me any day!

As for a lower quality/lower rate housekeeper? I've had 'em. As in everything else, you get what you pay for. What good is it to have someone come hang out at my house for three hours if the mirrors still have streaks and nothing is where it belongs? I just end up redoing it all myself and being angry and stressed. My housekeeper isn't the cheapest, but she listens when I tell her where the socks and undies go. If she doesn't know how I want the towels folded, she asks and then does it to my liking.

So I hope that the folks who think that finding the cheapest scopist is the most important thing will think again. It doesn't hold true in any other facet of life and it's not true in scoping. Is Waterford crystal the same quality as glassware from WalMart? No. Is a Ford as good as a BMW? No. Quality and workmanship cost extra.

People who don't understand that will kiss a lot of toads.


I have done the exact same thing. I live in the boonies, so it's hard to find someone willing to drive to my house to clean, but once upon a time, I did have someone. I can make more money scoping AND paying someone to clean my house than I can if I take less work and clean my house myself. I usually pay my daughter to do it now.

My grandma probably thinks along the same lines as your mom. But my granny has never had to work outside the home or run a business while at the same time raising kids and keeping up a household, so she has no earthly idea what I go through on a daily basis. Quite frankly, I have to delegate in order to have a small bit of sanity left at the end of the day. We just can't do it all. :o)

Sheena Stobaugh
Scoping since 1996
Case CATalyst, Eclipse, DigitalCAT


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