Tips on Traps and Dirty Tricks

Hate to say, but as a reporter, you’re going to face people in the world who will try to fool you. In life, you will always face people like that, but I’m interested in stenographers, so here is a list of things that people do, accompanied by ways you might counter the trick.
1. Lawyer orders realtime to get a more experienced reporter, but then says they don’t want realtime. Lawyers have caught on that most realtime reporters are a cut above and it’s fair for them to ask for a realtime reporter, but then they subsequently state they don’t want realtime hoping to mitigate the cost and wasting the realtimer’s time. Best way to fight this? You’ve got to ensure your agency charges the realtime fee anyway. Bottom line is realtime reporter ordered the phone means realtime ordered. This is the only way I know to stop this game from becoming more popular.

2. Attorney promises to pay. Doesn’t. This is an easy one. Ensure all your agreements are in writing. If they renege on payment then you have a stronger case in small claims court with something in writing.

3. Reporting firm retroactively declares they don’t pay extra for that. More common than we would like to admit. Stand your ground, demand they pay it. If they don’t pay it, be willing to walk over it. The only way reporting firms get over on us is we let them. This is another scenario where having all your agreements in writing helps. Even if it’s just an email with rates, it’s proof that’s the agreement and has a good shot at holding up in court. Don’t let them bully you out of having a solid understanding of what is being paid. 

4. Reporting support service insists you have to do something their way for some vague reason like “security.”  Basically people want you to buy their product. And I have an example. Allegedly CaseCAT doesn’t want people using Dropbox’s cloud feature (paraphrasing what I heard) and refuses to help if you run into a problem with it. Well, that’s their choice, but it’s worth pointing out that the decision for this is not always that there’s a problem with the third-party, but that they’re not making money off you if you don’t use them. Basically, people will lie to you or word things strongly to get you to buy from them. Just know that before you go shopping.

5. The biggest trap, in my view, is unassailable adherence to seniority or experience. What do I mean by that? How many times have we asked for advice and heard something akin to “I have been doing this 68 years and we never do it that way.”  This is foolish. It is wise to hear out all who have done this for some time. Their experience is important. But it is best understand that if someone’s position is that they are never wrong, then their advice may be outdated.

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