Does Anyone Feel Bad For Stenograph?

Picture this. You are among the leaders of “sten-tech.” Widely acclaimed. Admired in many circles. Supported by hundreds or thousands of stenographers by way of support contracts for the hardware and software you make.

Some of the largest companies in the court reporting industry decide digital is the future. They ostensibly create a shell organization to propagandize the field, claim the stenographer shortage is impossible to solve, and highlight digital reporting as the solution. Anticipating the direction of the market, you join. Unknown whether you joined with or without knowledge of the fraud, but whatever.

Some guy with a blog is writing some stuff about inequality and the shortage stats being misleading. Who really knows? Digital is the future. Ahead to the future!

Ah, but wait, that guy with the blog was onto something and other respectable members of the profession are now starting to say the Ducker Report really isn’t reliable in modern times.

Oh, crap. Well, if people figure out the guy with the blog was right about that, they might start to wonder what else he was right about. They might even realize you’re on the board of the organization that was trying to get rid of them. Time to make a blog about how much you support people!

Stenograph’s message to stenographers in a December 2022 post.

There are a few ways to view Stenograph’s message. You can either see it as the markup is way above 1000% and therefore they were making way more money off of us than a lot of us ever really cared to think about, you can see it as they sacrificed or maybe even took a loss for customers, or you can just assume they’re lying. I won’t tell readers what to believe this time. I honestly don’t know.

I do know that if Stenograph wants to make it right with stenographers, there’s an easy way. Break rank with the companies trying to strangle the market, disavow STTI’s ludicrous claims that the stenographer shortage is impossible to solve, and detach from the STTI Bloc. NCRA Strong left the door wide open. If Stenograph can’t do that, then can it really say that Stenograph remains committed to the future of stenography? It’s literally intermingled with an organization that tried to bury stenography under a wave of shortage media. We may have big hearts and short memories, but anybody that was paying attention 2020 to 2021 is just going to feel insulted or gaslighted.

Stenograph could make history in our field by withdrawing its support from the STTI Bloc and denouncing the lies STTI told about our profession. Not only is it the right thing to do, it’s arguably the smart thing to do. Despite the media blackout, the illegal collusion of big box companies to manipulate a market, and the complete collapse of support from what I thought was our largest manufacturer, we’re winning. With minimal funding and relatively little institutional support, we’re winning. Even though most of us have to advocate in addition to and after our full-time jobs, we’re winning. We know we’re winning because if our numbers were so catastrophic that we could not bounce back, Stenograph wouldn’t spend any time trying to appease or impress stenographers. If Stenograph was suckered in by the bad stats and misinformation, a lot of us were, stenographers will forgive it. If it continues to dance around the issues and pretend we are stupid, don’t feel too bad about what happens next.

9 thoughts on “Does Anyone Feel Bad For Stenograph?

  1. They won’t disavow digital. Their reps are saying their steno client numbers have been in decline for years and they needed to switch to STTI methods to boost their client base back up because they’re a business first, after all, and they need to make money.

    We’re not their focus anymore, and we see it in the escalating software glitches. They only care about getting and retaining steno clients so long as we can float them to their ultimate transfer to digital.

    1. I appreciate your perspective, but I am not entirely sure. If the resurgence of stenography brings more machine sales I am quite sure they’ll abandon digital about as fast as they abandoned us.

  2. In my 34 years as a reporter, I’ve always thought Stenograph could do better for reporters, i.e. products, prices, support (catalyst convert here), but they’ve sunken to an all-time low with their latest collaborations. Unfortunately, I don’t believe the new CEO sees the big picture in all this and will continue down the path he thinks will make the most money for him. But what I see is people are jumping ship in big numbers to align themselves with pro-reporter companies. My prediction is it won’t end well for Stenograph.

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