I came across this gem of an advertisement. To keep things short it talks about attracting new court reporters to the profession by using digital recorders and broadening the language of deposition notices to include recording of depositions by “stenographic and other means”.
I pointed out in a prior post that Veritext had allegedly agreed not to cross the picket line in California and how great that was. I don’t take my words back. That was great. But if that was great, then this is awful. Stenographers need to take note: Their response to the court reporter shortage is to move to digitals. What’s the easiest way to stab someone in the back? Seem like you have their back.
It should be dreadfully clear that these corporate entities and sponsors are friends with us for as long as we’re useful to them. We have two very basic choices: Slave away for as long as we’re useful and let ourselves be replaced or start coming up with serious plans to revitalize steno education in the country and start grabbing up more market share. I don’t think it’s a very difficult decision, but I do think we’ve got some work cut out for us. We are seeing this over and over with some of our biggest brands turning to digital recorders.
And a final point. I was immediately met with someone telling me Veritext can’t be blamed, they are only doing what they must to cover their clients. To that I say: Sorry, wrong. They’re pouring money and time into making sure digitals get hired, creating interest in digital reporting, and ensuring deposition notices are tailored to allow digital reporting. They’re making a conscious choice to try to move market share away from stenographers, and that’s only forgivable when they stop doing that.
Some long-term things I think would be great and an open to help and suggestions for:
-Shortening stenographic education programs.
-Gathering and dispersing market data
-Organizing business classes to stenographers.
-Creating a network of stenographers to attend career days at schools.
-Creating a free dictation library or learning materials similar to Open Steno to assist schools.
-Funding any or all of these initiatives.
Looking forward to responses and ideas. Looking forward to growth of the industry. Looking forward to revealing that, stenographers, Veritext is not your friend.
*EDIT February 21, 2019:
Came across an article that states Veritext just four months prior was engaging with and presenting NCRA’s A to Z program, and in the interest of fairness that should be included here. We want more of that!
14 thoughts on “Stenographers, Veritext is Not Your Friend”
Veritext is only doing what is necessary to supply the industry with more reporters because there is such a shortage. As an ex steno student that transitioned into voice writing in CA, I know how challenging and time consuming stenography really is. The amounts these colleges charge and the excessive amount of skill it takes to even pass the CSR is why I decided to switch. After the switch, I did very well with voice writing only to find myself at a road block, because CA legislation isn’t allowing voice writing to practice until it gets that bill overturned. As someone with lots of education but no experience hands on in the field, I think it’s a great opportunity for individuals like myself to become digital reporters as a means of not only financially supporting myself more than as a bartender with low pay, but also to expose me to the world of court reporting with more confidence and experience once I actually am allowed to practice as an official CVR. I understand that the work and accomplishments of an official stenographer shouldn’t be undervalued or replaced, but there are hard working people out there that do need to work as well. There will always be lots of work for steno, voice writers, and digitals, as long as litigation needs to get the record down.
I’m happy to have your comment, and I’m appreciative of you taking the time out to make your voice heard here. But I see it from a very different angle in terms of doing what they need to do. Have you ever had, in your life, someone tell you they must do something, but they are merely portraying what they want to do as a need? If the were half as committed to pushing steno as they were digital, the court reporter shortage would likely be over. I did a recent comparison of NCRA v AAERT in terms of who’s better equipped to handle the shortage. NCRA’s got probably 3x the members and many times the funding of AAERT. There are also many more approved steno schools than AAERT-approved schools. So it’s kind of odd for people to look to digital to solve the shortage when, seems to me, steno just has a better shot.
Now, that said, do I have any issue with you having a job? No. My fight isn’t with you. Quite frankly, I hope that you make a fine living. I hope that one day you continue your stenographic training, but regardless, I genuinely hope you do well. My advice? Never let companies treat all of you the way we stenographers allowed ourselves to be treated. For my first five years in the field, we were universally treated like we were a dime a dozen (NYC), and companies offered us rates from the 90s. Issues with coverage started, and they immediately used it as an excuse to try something different. There was no return of loyalty for the years of accepting depressed rates.
If you have any interest in resuming stenography, it’s my understanding that Katiana Walton is putting together a pilot program or study to try to reduce the time it takes to train a stenographic reporter via stenokey.com. That may be an avenue. There are so many avenues. There are also learners teaching themselves over at OpenSteno.org. We in the stenographic community are not blind to the struggle of startup costs, and a lot of time and money has gone into making free options like Open Steno to stand with the existing premium schools, resources, and so forth.
Thanks for taking the time to read. Good luck!
PS. Apologies it took a day to approve your comment. The notification got buried in my app. I make it a point to approve all non-spam comments.