IMPORTANT!!! NCRA Action -- A NATIONAL Threat to STENO Court Reporting Profession -- Think Deposition Reporters Can't Be Replaced by ER/DAR? Think Again!

Please read the message below and go to this site for more information/details:

Dear Reporters:

In November of 2008, the NCRA Board of Directors voted to explore/develop a plan for the testing and certification of non-steno methods. These methods include electronic recording/digital audio recording and voicewriting.

As members of NCRA, we believe it is in contradiction to the Constitution & Bylaws of this Association and outside the scope of purpose of the Association to spend Association money and resources on certifying non-stenographic methods, especially when members of this Association, steno reporters, are losing jobs all over the country to these competing methods.

Although we understand that no actual plan for testing non-steno methods has been developed yet and is only in a discussion stage, we object to any time and/or money spent on an endeavor that we believe will be harmful to the core membership and the profession.

We understand there is a perfectly valid opposing opinion that if these alternate record-makers are working alongside stenographers, they should be held to the same standards. However, our belief is that it would be very hard, if not impossible, for NCRA to remain an advocate for the stenographic method if it were to test/certify other methods’ competency; that it would fundamentally change the Association from a trade association for verbatim stenographers to a testing agency for all makers of the record.

An analogy from the NCRA Forum was that GM wants Hondas tested equally by the NHTSA. We agree, but GM isn’t in charge of testing Hondas, and shouldn’t be (conflict of interest.) So the question is whether members want NCRA to become the independent testing authority (NHTSA).

We believe this is such a significant policy shift that it should be presented to membership to decide on, not just the board of directors.

In response to this action by the board, a group of reporters have created this Members’ Motion to Rescind Board Action, pursuant to NCRA Constitution & Bylaws, in order to have the issue debated and voted upon by the membership at the annual business meeting this year. Below you will find the actual motion, supporting documents, as well as how you and others can become a signatory if you agree.

Please understand, this motion is in no way meant to insult, harass, or annoy. We are not pointing fingers or making character assaults of any kind. What we have here is a difference of opinion. However, we truly believe that allowing the board to continue down this path would be detrimental to the careers of our membership.

Our passion is great; our motives are sincere.

You will need to attend the annual business meeting on August 6 in Washington, D.C. in order to actually vote. Online voting is not available for this purpose. However, your support as a signatory is also needed to demonstrate to those present the will of the members.

Thank you for your consideration.

*** For further reading on this issue, please visit:

NCRA Forum "Reality" Thread
"Concerned Student" Blog

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Interesting (if disturbing!) thread.

Has anyone talked with anybody at AAERT about absorbing the "button-pushers" into their ranks?

"For a Good (steno) Time ...."
Unfortunately, Glen, I believe this is just an unconscionable attempt by the NCRA to make more money -- at our expense.
Quyen --

You might be right -- but if someone were to talk to the folks at AAERT, it would (ideally) go a long way towards debunking the need for transcriptionists to be tested/certified by the NCRA, I would think ... especially since they seem to have some sort of program in operation already -- at least, that's what I got from a transcriptionist who used to post over on the old Depoman forum.

As for the folks that simply hit the "Record" button ... well, I don't think AAERT will want those folks!

"For a Good (steno) Time ...."
I am unaware of whatever need there is to test a freaking person who sits there and pushes a single button, but if I am right in my assumption that the NCRA just wants a bigger piece of pie, ain't AAERT or nobody else gonna stop 'em -- except US.

I will state again that I encourage ALL NCRA members to boycott the association if they follow through with this. Why should we continue to support an organization that is going to ensure our demise?
Hello, Glen! As far as debunking the need for transcriptionists to be tested/certified, I don't believe I'll get in too much trouble for quoting from a post on the NCRA Forum thread: "And lest anyone feel bad for the poor ER people, take a gander at the AAERT site. They actively promote their method while saying how inefficient steno reporting is, as well they should. They obviously know who their base is."

Just to add another two cents since I AM getting all riled up about this, what exactly is being tested for? That the ER/DR person has, AT LEAST, one finger or SOMETHING with which to push a button? I mean, really, do enlighten my ignorance.

Well, if ER/DR can do that, so can I. I can take down the testimony and CLEARLY put on display that I am also capable of pushing a button to do ER/DR at the same time! And then I shall call this value-added. How's THAT for an idea?
Mary Ann --

Wow, that quote is something ...! I guess that the transcriptionist that frequented Depoman was probably not the author of that web site. She did seem to understand steno, and preferred her transcriptionists to use steno, if I recall correctly.

Quyen --

Okay, I'll take a stab at defining the goal of the testing.

The button-pusher ER person would have to be able to physically bend at the waist, extend his or her finger at a precisely defined angle, and make contact with the Record button.

Pushing the Stop, Pause, or Eject button will be considered an automatic failure.

The button-pusher ER person will also be tested on what to do in the event of any two of three possible scenarios which may occur on the job:

(a) The tape reaches the end

(b) The tape breaks

(c) Power failure

In scenario A, the button-pusher ER person will be automatically failed if s/he fails to do any one of the following:

1. Turn the tape over

2. Place another tape in the recorder

In the event the button-pusher ER person chooses option 2, if that other tape is clearly marked as being part of the case they're recording, that is also an automatic failure.

In scenario B, the button-pusher ER person should do at least two of the following (#1 being mandatory, of course):

1. Inform the Court of the problem

2. Splice the tape

3. Call someone that can splice the tape

In scenario C, the button-pusher ER person should do ....

Heh. Just funnin' with ya, Quyen! Hope I at least gave you a giggle.

"For a Good (steno) Time ...."
Well done, Glen. Thanks. :)

Yep, I think you've got it. The BoD of NCRA wants button pushers to have the same certifications that machine writers currently enjoy.

And I don't know if I've stated my utmost fears here or not, so let me say it again.

It is MY belief that NCRA is trying to be the omnipotent testing authority throughout the country for all forms of making a record.

It is MY belief that becoming the omnipotent testing authority is a back-door attempt to allowing non-machine record makers to become members of NCRA.

It is MY belief that their being the omnipotent testing authority means that, one day, NCRA will try to be the testing authority for machine-only CSR states (like California).

It is MY belief that if they become the omnipotent testing authority, that CSR states that currently enjoy the status of being a machine-only state will be competing for jobs beside all the other forms of making a record (in essence, button pushers).

Think about it seriously, folks. Is this really what you want for your future?

I urge you to go to and take part in the poll on the right side of the screen. Let your voice be heard!
I agree with everything you've said, Judy.

I will pay only to go to the annual convention this year so I can vote. If we are not successful in the motion to rescind, I will no longer give another red cent to the association.
Oh, so I've just had my assumption validated. Hot of the May 2009 NCRA issue (page 26):

"Testing and Certifying Nonmembers

NCRA'S strategic plan includes the goal of being the recognized certification authority for all aspects of communications access and making the record. Achieving this goal would protect the interest of NCRA's core membership by holding competing technologies to verifiable standards; expand NCRA's influence in the reporting, captioning and CART fields; and produce revenue from a source other than members' dues to fund the needs of NCRA's core membership. Last fall the board established expanding the testing and certification of nonmembers as a key priority for the current program year. During this meeting, the board and staff broke into study groups to analyze four aspects of this effort:

*Market analysis
*Assessment of current testing products
*Pricing models, including balance and fairness between tested and nontested members
*Relations with key stakeholders

The board approved a motion to continue researching and developing this concept."


Let's take this one piece at a time, shall we?

"NCRA'S strategic plan includes the goal of being the recognized certification authority for all aspects of communications access and making the record." -- Oh, really? That's not the organization I paid (and still pay) dues to.

"Achieving this goal would protect the interest of NCRA's core membership by holding competing technologies to verifiable standards." -- Oh, reeeeaaaally? First of all, isnt' this an oxymoron, "competing technologies"? And exactly how is electronic/digital recording a "verifiable standard"? What, do you play back the entire tape out loud after the deposition is over? Do you spend 20 minutes searching for the portion of the audio where the attorney asked about whatever it is they want you to find and play it back? WHAT standard??? And tell me HOW this supposedly "protects the core membership."

"expand NCRA's influence in the reporting, captioning and CART fields; and produce revenue from a source other than members' dues to fund the needs of NCRA's core membership." -- Just as I had said. The NCRA is clearly acting out of self-interest at the expense of its membership. Oh, so dirty the things your organization will do for money. Isn't this called "BITING THE FREAKING HAND THAT FEEDS YOU???!!!"

My take on this? What a crock of horse shi -- manure.

Officials are already being replaced with digital recording, Boston being one of such places. Boston has already done it WITHOUT the oh-so-gracious and "professional" standards of the NCRA. We don't need nor want NCRA to assist in furthering the ER/DR process. NCRA NEEDS both its official and deposition reporter members. What is the point of NCRA even attempting to continue R&D on this issue if it's going to ultimately lose its core membership? Wouldn't that be self-defeating? Without STENO reporters, there is/WILL BE no NCRA.

Translated and put simply: BOYCOTT.
Quyen, that's right out of the book, yes.

If you keep your old issues of the JCR, you could also go waaaay back to February of 2004 to read the report of the NCRA Future Group, Yes, these are taken piecemeal out of the article: Remember, this is five years ago:

Under Future Technologies Recommendations was "Keep language flexible enough to keep the organization open to future applications and uses for voice to print."

Under NCRA - The Organization was "NCRA is not perceived internally by its members of extermally by consumers and end-users as a representative organizaton for the many facets of its current membership. As technologies and marketplace changes continue to introduce greater variety in the profesion, the ability of NCRA's current model to adapt to the possible futures for professionals who capture the spoken word is in jeopardy."

And "Failure to address and incorporate nonstenographic record makers reduces the effectiveness of NCRA to be recognized as the authority on making the record and capturing the spoken word."

And "Any shift to include nonstenographic methods of nontraditional markets may cause current members to feel disenfranchised."

Do ya think?

And, interestingly, this last suggestion was made under "Other Recommendations," and that was to "Change the name of the organization so that the name is more relevant and inclusive of current and future membership and less restrictive."

Words mean things. Are reporters going ballistic for no absolutely no reason, at the mere suggestion that NCRA kinda sorta wants to maybe see if possibly they might could see if they could start to ease ER into a steno association? To use Judy's phraseology, in my opinion, absolutely not. In my opinion, it's been a long time coming, and again in my opinion, this push-back from reporters was expected.

You've no doubt heard the boiling frog story. From Wikipedia, "The boiling frog story states that a frog can be boiled alive if the water is heated slowly enough — it is said that if a frog is placed in boiling water, it will jump out, but if it is placed in cold water that is slowly heated, it will never jump out. The story is generally told in a figurative context, with the upshot being that people should make themselves aware of gradual change lest they suffer a catastrophic loss."

Again, it's my opinion it's been gradually introduced over the years, put unabashedly front and center by a recent NCRA president, and now, even though it's being touted as simply a kinda-sorta maybe we'll test the waters and see if it flies kind of thing ... the water's getting mighty hot.



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