One of the agencies that I know sent out a job offer to Massachusetts for a three-day job that needed covered.  This reporter, who I won't name, picked up the job.  She's had the job for over a month and not turned it in.

Finally, she turned in the first two volumes with multiple mistakes.  She still has not turned in the last transcript.  She turned in a rough because the court reporting agency had to have something to give to the attorney because he's going to trial.  The rough ASCII was literally unreadable. 

Now, I don't understand why a court reporter would take work through this website if they are so incompetent that they cannot turn the work in.  I wish there was a way I could filter all the bad apples off of here.

The agency owner called me and wanted to know if there is a way that I filter the qualified reporters from the incompetent reporters.  I told her no, I have no way to do that.  Once I hear someone has done a poor job, I ban them immediately from the website.  I'm a full-time reporter myself; there is no way for me to filter through thousands of reporters.

I'm just very frustrated about this situation.  This is not the first time it has happened either.  There must just be a lot of lousy court reporters out there I guess.  Unfortunately, it looks like it cost this agency their client.  Unbelievable. 

Reporters:  Please don't take work from this website if you can't handle the work.  You're giving my website a bad name!!

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Being from Boston, I'm so, so curious to know what happened, but yet, I don't want to and would never expect a name to be given.  I have to add one thing though.  With all the low-balling tactics out there now, these agencies have to expect some of this at times.  As the old saying goes, You get what you pay for!   By no means am I saying this is acceptable behavior on the part of a CR, but just sayin'!

I'm sorry, Tricia, but in my book there is never an excuse to behave this way, no matter what the page rate is.  If you accept a job, you better damn well do the best job you can do because you "accepted that page rate," which means you have said you will uphold your duty as a certified shorthand reporter to do the best job you can to your capabilities.

Now that there is audio sync, especially now I just cannot understand why anyone can't get out a transcript; you're basically just transcribing it.  That's pretty easy. I can write that stuff almost immediately from my steno machine.  A shitty reporter should be able to listen to the audio and type it in. 

The rough she sent to the agency is actually after she got it back from the scopist.  Don't understand that.  I thought the scopist listens to the audio and fills in what the reporter missed.  I'd love to know who that scopist was.

Kelli, I wholeheartedly agree with you.  What I was saying is how some of the agencies feel (or how I think they feel), that the can get a top-notch reporter for cheap money.  If she agreed to the rates, I agree, shame on her.  I've never, ever had a scopist do a rough for me, let alone send out a rough with untrans.  We're on the same page here.  That is just the way I feel about some of the agencies low-balling.  I think at times this is going to happen especially in this economy, and they SHOULD HAVE done their due diligence.  That is NOT up to you.  

That sounds to me like a lousy reporter trying to pass the blame for the mess.  Who knows if she really did give it to a scopist.  If she did give it to a scopist, imagine what shape the file was in before she sent it if that's the after.  Scopists aren't supposed to reinvent the wheel.  I wonder if something happened to her audio and she can't piece it together. 

Whatever really happened, there's no excuse for it. 

Very good point, Janet.   It must have looked like Laurie's example above.  I also don't think this job was a low-ball job either.  I think it was a decent job.  I personally worked for this owner 20 years ago for 10 years; she's very reputable.

Boy, I wish I could get away with posting the names of every worthless reporter I've had to ban from here.  Maybe that way reporters would think they don't want their name published and do the job they should be doing.  I know it's all just wishful thinking.

Randall, I guess we're all afraid of being sued.  I personally have been threatened by half a dozen agencies if reporters say negative things about them on this website.  It's sad but true.  This discussion is so old, I don't even remember the reporter's name any longer.  I remember she took the job in Boston area and that's about it.  I also banned her from the website.  Any third-rate reporter I find out about, they're gone!!!

Good for you, Kelli.  You're certainly doing something right.  The site is active & hopping.  Kudos to you!

Janet, 

How very well that could be the case!  I think we've all been in that boat at one time or another, but sloppy notes doesn't help w/o audio.

Tricia

[[ I'm sorry, Tricia, but in my book there is never an excuse to behave this way, no matter what the page rate is. ]]

 

Tricia was not doing this at all.   She was making a generic statement about agencies who pass over seasoned and well-regarded reporters in favor of cheaper help.  I agree with her sentiment.  I covered a lot of work for one agency, for instance, but when they started making 7-day delivery their normal regular delivery, which of course drastically changes the whole rush work surcharge model, I declined.  Two agencies that I've covered for have recently offered me work with 20-year-ago rates.  I politely decline.  Sadly, this work is being covered.  This is what Tricia is talking about and what I hope for, that whoever is covering this work does a horrible job, which yes, I know makes our whole profession look bad but I'm only human and I hope that their subpar work brings the work back to me.  This comment, like Tricia's comment, should not be interpreted as me excusing the behavior.  It's totally unacceptable and I shake my head as to how any of these people are making a living.   Again, nothing I’ve said has excused the behavior.

Thank you, Marge, for understanding and clarifying my position.  Apparently, I wasn't clear enough to others.

Tricia

My question is, what happens when you have to read back?  My recall is excellent, but in difficult cases I have to rely on my notes.  Sometimes I can't recall the very last question that was asked so I have to read it back.  The reporter didn't have to read back at all?  Ever?  Not in NY.  These attorneys here have bad memories and are constantly asking for a read back.  That's a shame.  I'm afraid to send my scopist anything that has over 1% untranslates.  We have off days, but my 7 year old writes better (yes, she's learning steno at age 7).

Kelli, They're not giving your website a bad name, they're giving themselves a bad name!  And it is the agency's responsibility to determine the capabilities of the reporter before assigning the job, not yours.  Maybe somebody should start a Have You Ever Hear of This Reporter group.

As far as the 32 characters/line, that is a huge issue, actually, even with California reporters that are supposed to follow the state's minimum format.  For some reason, a lot of reporters think they have wiggle room.  Instead of starting on character 10, they start on 11.  Instead of 56, they drop it down to 54/53.  Before I assign a "new" reporter to a job, I've actually had to start telling them that their transcripts HAVE to abide by the state's minimum requirements.  You'd still be amazed how many reporters try to sneak it by, even after they say, yeah, sure, they understand.  It's actually quite insulting to me because it smacks me in the face that they think they deserve more money for the same job as a "compliant" reporter.

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