Too many entries I am reading where reporters are not finding work and comments that there simply are not enough reporters in the author's jurisdiction.
Indeed, we are seeing the first hunger pangs in our industry and unfortunately it is only going to get worse before it gets better.
Certainly, the NCRA has completely failed to support its membership that continues to lose every day more members. I remember back in the 1990's when the board of directors were severely criticized for squandering the funds of its members to the point the NCRA was considering having to sell its national headquarters building to get funds to keep on doing business.
This past fiscal year NCRA had an operating deficit of $500,000. That's right folks. Mismanagement again prevails at NCRA, losing advertising dollars aggravated by the fact that management and its board of directors continue to make dumb decisions that may well get the NCRA sued, and by who, the big national and regional firms who - like you and me - they too have a right to exist in today's Internet business environment and here we have NCRA still using inane early 20th century "old standard" business attitudes that are not reflective of what court and deposition reporters can, should and must do to continue to survive.
My main tiff with NCRA is its outdated outmoded testing procedures. They are irrelevant when we and all the courts see that always without fail 95% flunk every time. The whole testing procedure should be thrown out and replaced with simple common sense.
First, students right now everywhere with 200 wpm, should with their one ounce digital recorders take an hour long test and using their iPads and smartphones be able to do research during their test and write for one hour at 200 wpm, a mix of Q and A, colloquy, and charge to jury, and quickly turn out a final but not with 5% margin of error, but 100% accuracy, and I am sure that courts around the county who still want reporters could care less knowing that they no longer have to shut down a court room because there was no court reporter available. Besides most courts and soon every court in the land will install DAR anyway, but if they had a 200 wpm and better reporter who can beat hands down all QWERTY keyboard typists, this is far more attractive to the courts and to deposition firms who simply cannot grow because there are zero reporters in their location or not willing to relocate.
But no, the NCRA is a stupid animal and it deserves to be taken to the slaughterhouse. It has not for several years been able to stop the bloodletting in our industry.
Indeed, those who want to continue to strive to be realtime reporters can continue to hone their skills, but at the very least, let's get reporters out there where they are needed.
This old saying that you cannot depend on your recorder is nonsense. It no longer applies. Dare I say that 90% of us use audio backups and as for me never have my digital Sony recorders ever broken down. No moving parts!
The NCRA is your worst enemy in his regard. They are directly by being obstinate actually killing our profession. Voice recognition is here and everywhere.
You voice writers, if you do not graduate more reporters per month over the next three years, you are no better off, and yet, VR is really our future and it only takes a few months to learn with 90% success rate!
This is a numbers game and the courts, court administrators, judges, know this phenomenon all too well. NCRA approved schools and otherwise keep closing. No new schools are planned.
Really, the little mom and pop shops in court reporting being able to work directly with their local lawyers is in fact disappearing. These shops really do not have the ability to bid on regional and local contracts.
The national and regional firms have full time bid preparers who work in-house with full time savvy salesmen who come with marketing degrees and proven backgrounds in their professions.
Indeed, the Wal-Mart and Costo concept of reporting is alive and well. We better get used to it. If you are a very good reporter, you are willing to work hard, making yourself available, be cheerful, get your work out on time, give them little cause for them to truly complain, you will do very well.
Otherwise if you insist pursuing your own agenda, which is fine, it seemingly has always worked for you - UNTIL now, you will continue to have your client base disappear and you will discover that all that is left to report is absolutely the lowest level of reporting that you yourself did not take years ago when our business was at its zenith.
"It is the wise man who knows his world around him who remains in control of his destiny."