Arizona Asked for Public Comment on Recording and We Responded

Arizona has been, as best I can tell, trying to deal with stenographer shortage. This is not surprising. The 2018 opportunity number from the Ducker Report and forecast was just over 30% of the forecasted supply of stenographers.

Trying to raise our numbers by 30% is impossible, if you ask some dopes in our field.

Of course, the first thing that they think about is electronic recording. This is not surprising either. Many people believe automation of our work is imminent. They don’t work in the field. They haven’t seen my video on the court reporter crisis. They likely haven’t even considered the possibility that modern automation is actually a misnomer and that much automation is carried out by people, as published under this Bloomberg Opinion. They don’t think about the likelihood that electronic recording has existed for decades and that if it were truly cheaper or more efficient, it would’ve beat us a long time ago.

Well, Arizona asked for public comment on this proposal to use electronic recording. I decided that the best thing to do was let them know exactly what they were walking into. Check out the text of my public comment below and check out all the other public comments there. If you’re ready to support Arizona, also consider becoming a member of the association for this year. They need our help right now and holding the line there is step one to recruiting enough people to save our field.

I’ll be renewing for 2022, Arizona.

“OPPOSITION. My name is Christopher Day. I am a court reporter in New York and creator of the Stenonymous blog. I have recently released a video explaining some very nasty things going on in my field. There has been a push by several companies, big national names in our field, such as Veritext and US Legal Support, to build digital court reporting as opposed to stenographic court reporting. Summarily, these companies are telling the legal profession no stenographers are available, but they are generally not making good faith efforts to recruit stenographers. We know that because they have failed to attempt to recruit stenographers from Sourcebook/PRO Link, a national directory of stenographers. Their push towards digital recording is not one of genuine need, but one of agenda. In fact, the chief strategy officer of US Legal, Peter Giammanco, wrote in an email regarding adopting digital reporting versus stenographic reporting, “does it matter if done legally and ethically…?” The legal profession is, without a doubt, being bamboozled, and courts with it. Because images are not allowed, I will link the article containing the image of that email. It is my contention that the court should be very aware that very large and powerful players in our industry could be acting with an intent to deceive. Similarly, there are nonprofits in our field, such as the Speech to Text Institute, which claim to be for all modalities of taking the record, but are a thinly-veiled attempt to give legitimacy to digital reporting, which is, as I will explain, wholly inadequate.

Digital court reporting is often painted as modernization, as this current change proposes. “Modernize the law.” But, in fact, all available data points to digital reporting being an inferior modality to stenographic court reporting. There are studies such as Testifying While Black (2019, pilots 1 and 2), and Racial Disparities In Automatic Speech Recognition (2020) which show that stenographic court reporting can be over three times as accurate as digital reporting with the African American Vernacular English dialect dependent on whether one is using record and transcribe method or automatic speech recognition. One has to wonder what the results might be if similar studies were done on other dialects and accents and how the justice system will be automatically discriminating against minority speakers by adopting digital recording. 

Our efficiency lies in the way our system works. Our stenotypes are chorded. When we press on the keys we can take down a word in one or two hand movements. Sometimes an entire statement in one hand movement. The average word being about five characters, the average person needs at least five hand movements and the space bar. Simple math tells us that either 6x the number of transcribers will be needed to fill each court reporter’s seat, or 6x the amount of time will be needed to transcribe. Courts that have moved towards digital recording in the past, such as Massachusetts and New Jersey, have started to recruit stenographers again because they learned what my colleagues and I already know, that they were sold a lie. 

Not only that, digital reporting proponents, such as Verbit, have shown an utter disregard for the quality and care standards of the court reporting industry. I recently exposed that they had posted Kentucky family court proceeding audio from Kentucky on the internet, as well as a template transcription that they offered. Thanks to my investigation, the audio was taken down. Because images are not allowed, I will link an article explaining the situation and with an image of the transcription template. The errors are horrifying, numerous, and egregious. Some of the least dangerous ones? “Point” is spelled with a zero (p0int) and “virtually” is spelled with an SH (virshually).  

There has also been some evidence that digital reporting companies are dishonest. I recently raised $5,000 for a consumer awareness campaign and one woman claiming to be a digital reporter stated they were not paid enough to care [about the transcript] and trained to obfuscate, presumably by typing tag or guide files during the proceeding. This is not a direction which the courts should allow legal records to go under any circumstance. 

Beyond that, there is reason to believe that digital reporting companies are operating beyond their means. I must point to VIQ Solutions, a company which last quarter lost over $10 million despite its $8 million in revenue. It is possible that companies operating in the digital reporting sphere are zombie corporations. Therefore, should they succeed in pushing stenographic competition out of the market, the costs of transcription and digital recording will rise dramatically. And we know from a study done by Justice Served on the Californian and Floridian courts that digital recording and stenographic reporting costs were already close. (https://www.cal-ccra.org/…/Justic…Dec09.pdf)

It is also notable that our stenographer shortage is used as a justification to do away with us. But transcribers are experiencing a similar shortage because they are poorly paid. The situation is so dire that the Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity noted in its FAQ as recently as 9/24/21 that the shortage of medical transcribers was being compensated for through automatic speech recognition. This means that the transcription will almost certainly be offshored outside the subpoena power of the courts. This is not theoretical. Digital reporting companies have already employed or contracted transcribers from India, the Philippines, and Kenya, and if asked, I would gladly provide evidence collected of that. Again, with this rampant dishonesty perpetrated by digital reporting company owners, do we really want a world where the person that prepares the legal record cannot be brought in to testify if there’s a question or issue?  

In the sake of brevity, I will largely skip comments about the audio failing to record or being unclear. But reliance on electronic recording would create a storage issue. Our raw stenographic text files are many times smaller than audio files. Take whatever the court pays for computerized storage of steno notes and multiply that by eight. If the court currently pays nothing and the responsibility of retention is on the court reporter, then imagine how those costs will now be shifted directly to the court.  

And finally, this move creates the illusion that the stenographic court reporter is no longer in demand. Instead of broadcasting the need for the reporter, it will be assumed that the reporter is replaced, and make it even harder for my field to recruit via NCRA A to Z, Project Steno, Open Steno, and other initiatives. I have to ask this court not to contribute to the death of my profession. We have served yours for so many decades and spend so much time and energy training young people to take our place. They need confirmation that their hard work and training will provide for them. A rejection of these changes will serve as a broadcast to entrepreneurs across your state: Keep our courts efficient, build steno schools and businesses.  

Though I am not from Arizona and though many of the things I point to occurred outside of Arizona, I must ask Arizona to take its blinders off and consider the mountain of evidence that points to recording being an inferior modality for taking down the legal record. The continuing education and ethics first culture of stenography and the National Court Reporters Association is simply unmatched. It is mimicked by digital reporting agencies and organizations so that they might have some of our $3 billion industry. The harm to minority speakers and the potential for runaway costs related to digital recording is too great to ignore. Keep stenographers on as guardians of the record and commit to the training of many more stenographers; the civil and criminal justice systems will only benefit. Your procedural rules, in their current form, defend the integrity of the record far more than the proposed amendments will. Thank you.”

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What Verbit Leadership Needs To Know

I had a lot of fun writing the Verbit investors article. But the more I explore opinions and ideas outside our steno social circles, the more I see that most people totally don’t get stenographers or the work we put in. A lot of us have had sleepless nights trying to get a daily out, time lost for ourselves or our families trying to do the job we signed up for, or some amount of stress from someone involved with the proceeding being unhelpful or antagonistic. It happens, we take it in stride, and we make the job look easy. So it doesn’t surprise me very much when people say “why not just record it?” It doesn’t surprise me that investors threw money into the idea that technology could disrupt the court reporting market. But I can only hope that proponents of digital really take the time to understand and step back from the cliff they’re being pushed towards.

For this exercise, we’re going to be exploring Verbit’s own materials. They recently circulated a graphic that showed the “penetration” of digital into the court reporting market. It shows 5 to 10 percent of the deposition market taken by digital, and 65 to 75 percent of the court market taken by digital. It also notes that only 25 to 35 percent of courts are digitally transcribed. I take this to mean that while they have 75 percent of the “court market,” they only transcribe about 25 percent of it. This is a massive problem. So the technology, when it’s not breaking down in the middle of court (29:20), is ready to record all these proceedings. But you only have the capacity to transcribe about a third of that. So in this magical world where suddenly you have every deposition, EUO, and court proceeding, where are you going to get all of these people? We’re talking about multiplying your current workforce by 28 assuming that every person you hire is as efficient as a stenographer. And the math shows that every stenographer is about as efficient as 2 to 6 transcribers. So we’re really talking about multiplying your current workforce by 56 to 168 times, or just creating larger backlogs than exist today. By not using stenographers, Verbit and digital proponents are setting themselves up for an epic headache.

Of course, this is met with, “well, there’s a stenographer shortage.” But what you have to understand is that we’ve known that for seven years now. All kinds of things have happened since then. You’ve got Project Steno, Open Steno, StenoKey, A to Z, Allison Hall reportedly getting over a dozen school programs going. Then you have lots of people just out there promoting or talking about the field through podcasts, TV, and other news. Showcasing the shortage and stenography has brought renewed interest in this field, and we are on track to solve this. Again, under the current plan, you would need as many as 60,000 transcribers just to fill our gap, and the turnover will probably be high because the plan promotes using a workforce that does not require a lot of training. So if you’re talking about training and retraining 60,000 people again and again over the next decade, I am quite sure you can find 10,000 or so people who want to be stenographic court reporters.

Look, I get it, nobody goes into business without being an optimist. But trying to upend a field with technology that doesn’t exist yet is just a frightening waste of investor money. How come when you sell ASR, it’s 99 percent accurate, but when Stanford studies the ASR from the largest companies in the world, it’s 60 to 80 percent accurate? How come when you sell digital it’s allegedly cheaper and better, but when it’s looked at objectively it’s more expensive and comes with “numerous gaps and missing testimony?” These are the burning questions you are faced with. There’s an objectively easier way of partnering with and hiring stenographers. If you don’t, you’re looking at filling a gap of 10,000 with 60,000 people, or multiplying the current transcription workforce of 50,000 by 56 (2.8 million). In a world of just numbers, this sounds great. Three million jobs? Who wouldn’t want that? But not far into this experiment you’ll find that people don’t grow on trees and the price of the labor will skyrocket unless you offshore all of the work. What happens when attorneys catch onto the fact that everything is being offshored and start challenging transcripts? Does anyone believe that someone in Manila is going to honor subpoenas from New York? Again, epic headache.

So if I could get just one message out to Verbit leadership and all the people begging for us to “just accept technology,” it would be to really re-examine your numbers and your tech. The people under you are going to tell you that a new breakthrough is just around the corner, that things are going well, and that you shouldn’t worry. But you should worry, because you very well might find yourself a pariah in your industry like Peter Molyneux ended up in his. If you’re not familiar, Peter became famous for promising without delivering. One of the most prominent examples of this was 2009 E3, where he stood up on stage and introduced Milo. This tech was going to be interactive. It was going to sense what you were doing and respond to it. It turns out it was heavily scripted, the technology did not and still does not exist to do what was being talked about and presented to consumers. Now, anyone with a bit of sense doesn’t listen to Peter.

If the ASR tech worked, why not sell it to us at 10,000 a pop multiplied by the 25,000 stenographers in your graphic and walk away with a cool 250 million dollars? It does what we do, right? So why aren’t we using it? Why aren’t you marketing it to us? It’s got to be a hell of a lot easier to convince 25,000 stenographers than it is to convince 1.3 million lawyers. Sooner or later, Legal Tech News and all the other news people are going to pick up on the fact that what you are selling is hype and hope. So, again, consider a change of direction. Stop propping up STTI, shoot some money over to the organizations that promote stenography, and partner up with steno. You’d be absolutely amazed how short people’s memories are when you’re not advocating for their jobs to be replaced with inferior tech. Take it from somebody who’s done the sleepless nights and endless hours in front of a monitor transcribing, this business isn’t easy. But if you trust stenographers, we’re going to keep making it look easy, and we’re going to make every pro-steno company a lot of money.

The Impossible Institute

Let me set the timeline for everybody. It’s 2008. Schools are seeing some pretty nice numbers, maybe 60 a trimester where I was. Court reporting steno schools are saying this is a timeless, guaranteed profession. Obsolescence is impossible and there will always be tons of work. 2010 comes along, and my class of reporters is told by the market there’s no work. There’s a glut. Too many reporters, not enough work. We’ll start you at what they made in 1991 because we’re such benevolent people. And by the way, rate increase is impossible. By 2014, there’s news of a shortage incoming. and by 2018, the shortage is in full swing, and even here in New York, where you had agencies like Diamond not paying their people copies, unless they really liked them, they started paying copies to a larger percentage of their reporters. That was after almost a decade of such a terrible cost to the agency being deemed impossible. Thanks, partner.

So it’s interesting whenever someone tells me something can’t happen, won’t happen, or is impossible. It’s equally interesting when someone comes out with an authoritative and definite prediction, that something must happen. So I briefly reviewed some materials out of STTI, the new mouthpiece of the anti-steno business coalition. Completely ignoring the resurgence of American stenography and my series of ten shortage solutions, the STI says crunch the numbers, it’s impossible for schools to meet the forecasted shortage of 8,000 reporters by 2020. Well, maybe, when we go by the information from 2013, it seems unlikely. But when you can log into the Open Steno Discord and see almost 100 people online on a Saturday morning in 2019, and you can see for yourself the constant efforts of A to Z, Project Steno, and private schools, it seems like these so-called experts have little more than a BA in BS.

Don’t take it from me, look at their own words. They try to pin the blame on NCRA for not adopting voice writing wholesale. But what kind of argument is that? Voice writing has been around since World War II, but the NCRA didn’t adopt it, so now it’s too late, digital wins. If anything, that tells me that if the NCRA doesn’t adopt it, it doesn’t fly. If we, the stenographers in the marketplace today, do not accept your inferior methodology, and keep marketing ourselves, we stay on top. If they’re so sure that these steno-centric programs won’t work, why bother saying they cannot win? Simple. They’re guarding an empty city. If they get you to give up recruiting, educating, and empowering your fellow reporters, the market’s open for them to come in and pick up the pieces. You decide whether that happens. Are you going to let five people scare off 20,000 of you?

Look no further than their straw man future predictions to see how weak their argument is. What will the market look like in 2039? What will happen in 20 years? You don’t know. Nobody knows. So when the “experts” tell you what’ll happen, they hope it’ll give you a sense of security, and you’ll act or fail to act, and become a participant in their version of the future. That’s how that works. It’s an echo chamber claiming steno will fail in the hopes that that’s how things roll. Are you going to fall for it?

I’m generally not going to cover the STI too much on this blog. Who wants to give clicks to a cherry picking propaganda outfit? But look at the beginning of this post again. Look at all the people who made claims that turned out to be untrue. I’ll give you one more. In 2017, I was told more or less not to bother with this blog because nobody would read it or find what I had to say credible. It was impossible. This year I had 13,000 views and 6,000 visitors. Here’s a prediction. You can do that. You can do anything you’ve got motivation for. And you can do it a heck of a lot better than the experts. I’d say the people out there working every day are the experts. To wrap this up, let’s just say that if someone is telling you that something is impossible, or that something is definitely going to happen, you want to look at their motives before you buy in. Last question. What’s your next move?

The Resurgence

It was looking pretty bad for steno for a while. Schools were closing. Courts were pushing stenographers out. Easy example, a few decades ago, stenographers started getting pushed out of New Jersey courts. The wheels of progress and the winds of change are slow, but I was fortunate enough to see this spot for a stenographic reporter pop up in Elizabeth, New Jersey. This is evidence to me that we can recover lost ground.

And there is certainly ground to recover. The Workers Compensation Board of New York moved to recording and having their stenographers transcribe. Our NYSCRA and others pushed to have the legislature mandate use of stenographic reporting, and the bill to do so was passed by the assembly and senate, but vetoed by Governor Cuomo. Needless to say, whenever New York decides to elect a new governor, it will be time for us to try again.

But seeing such a push by stenographers everywhere to educate the public and continue training each other to provide the best quality records possible, there’s no doubt in my mind that we can continue to take back any areas of the market that were lost.

I’ve gone over the math many times. There are more of us and so many ways to spread the message that stenography is still relevant and superior in this modern world. Old keyboard, new tricks. The best part of it is that as the push continues, people and companies are rising up to start new education programs. Just this year, by my own count, we’ve had something like a half a dozen programs open up and enrolling future stenographers.

The sweeter irony is that digital reporting very well may face the same shortage it tried to use against us. As word about stenography spreads, many transcribers are realizing that stenography can save them time and money in their transcription work, or that they can use stenography as a springboard into a career that is, on average, about double the pay. I’ve seen at least two social media posts in the last seven days about transcribers and digitals switching to steno. Let’s face it, anyone saying stenography is equal is running on intel that’s six years old. At that rate, they’ll catch on and get back on the wagon sometime in the next sixty. We can’t wait for them.

The truth is that from independent people like myself or Mirabai Knight, to major stenographic organizations like ASSCR or NCRA, to all the many consumers, judges, lawyers, stenographic court reporting has a lot of allies. It’s not going away. The New York State Court System said as much. We know the truth. All that’s left is to get out there, tell it, train our students to be the best they can be, and see the resurgence of stenography spread across the country.

Recording Grand Jury (NY)

So I’ve been following the facts on a series of cases picked up by the Batavian and Daily News. The very short story, with some extrapolation, is that a grand jury stenographer contracted by the district attorney was apparently using the AudioSync feature in our modern stenotypes. This caused the defense attorneys to seek dismissals of the indictments. As best I can tell, and after writing Batavian author Howard Owens and one of the attorneys, who had stated it was a Judiciary Law misdemeanor, I pieced together the following with regard to grand jury recording law in New York:

Criminal Procedure Law 190.25(4) makes it very clear that grand jury proceedings are secret. Judiciary Law 325 gets into how it shall be lawful for a stenographer to take grand jury proceedings, and doesn’t explicitly allow audio recording. Penal Law 215.70 talks about unlawful disclosure and lists the crime as a class E felony. Finally, Penal Law 110 tells us an attempted E felony becomes an A misdemeanor.

What can we further infer from all that? Well, as best I can tell, the indictments are only dismissed if it’s shown that the recording altered the testimony or proceedings in some way, and the defense is given the burden of proving that. As of writing, no indictment has been dismissed because of recording. That said, this opens up a serious concern for grand jury stenographers across New York. Recording the grand jury proceedings may be construed as attempted unlawful disclosure, and thanks to Judiciary Law 325, it may be difficult or impossible to argue that such recording is in the course of your lawful duties. Like Frank Housh in the video linked above, I was shocked that we could work in this industry for years and not ever be told the law surrounding that. Admittedly, I was a grand jury stenographer in New York City for months, and while I understood that not recording was a condition of my employment, I did not know that recording could theoretically give rise to a criminal prosecution. It is up to us to keep ourselves and each other informed, and now we know. This is not a joke, and you could go to jail for up to one year and have a criminal record for up to ten years on an A misdemeanor.

That caution stated, as of writing, there has been no prosecution of any grand jury stenographer for that specific reason, so it seems that the district attorneys or assistant district attorneys involved in these cases disagree with defense’s contention that this rises to the level of a misdemeanor. It also appears that recording of the proceedings does not automatically invalidate indictments.

The court rules Part 29 and Part 131 did not come up in my correspondence with anyone involved in this matter, but they are tangentially related and may be worth a review. And remember, nothing written here pertains to federal grand jury proceedings. We are talking strictly the New York State courts.

Any future updates to this matter will be posted right here.

The vTestify Lie

I’ve often worried we too often buy into hype from voice recognition sellers. Dragon represents itself as being 99 percent accurate, but only has about a 3-star rating. Opened up to scrutiny, VR and digital recording companies don’t make the cut.

So we had a company mentioned on Facebook called vTestify. They brag about all the money they can save people on depositions. Just knowing what I’ve reported in the past, other voice recognition companies have raised a lot of money. Verbit raised $20 million. Trint raised something like $160 million. As far as I can tell, vTestify raised $3 million. Either they’re 50 times more efficient than everybody else or they’re woefully underfunded and their investors are set to lose while the company lurches along burning capital. Let that sink in for the next time somebody is trying to sell you the future, investors!

I would’ve left it there, but then another reporter brought up that they have a calculator. The claims there are laughable. They claim that they can save attorneys $3,198 per deposition. I don’t know what reporters in North Carolina are charging, but I know here in New York I could get somewhere around $4.00 a page, and maybe on a great day a $100 appearance fee. A pretty thick day is about 200 pages, only ever getting to that 300 or 400 page count occasionally. So take 200 pages multiplied by 4. 800. Add on that sweet appearance fee, and maybe it comes to 900 bucks. Even real-time reporters only charge a buck or two a hookup, so even with 6 hookups, we’re still only talking maybe a $2,000 day. We can all acknowledge that these glamorous multi-thousand dollar days exist, but the bottom line is that’s not the norm and vTestify isn’t actually saving anybody a dime. Their calculator doesn’t even make any sense. When I added the numbers they gave, I got $3,646. Somehow their calculator comes up with $4,329.

It gets better — or worse — you decide! Then we have this snippet about the court reporter shortage. Using their numbers and assuming it’s totally true, they say there are 23,000 reporters to cover 3 million depositions. What a crisis! Except when you take three million and divide that by 23,000, you get 130 and change. If every reporter took 131 depositions a year, using vTestify’s own numbers, we’d be just fine. There are about 260 weekdays in a year. Succinctly, if every reporter worked half the weekdays in a year, by vTestify’s own argument, there’d be no shortage. Let’s not forget all of the steno-centric initiatives like Open Steno, A to Z, Stenotrain, and Project Steno, that have taken place since the Ducker Report to bring people into this field. Are we really expected to believe there was zero impact and things went exactly as predicted? I don’t, and you shouldn’t either. Let’s put this another way. If the median salary of a reporter is about 57,000, reporters are only taking home, on average, 5,000 a month gross. So how can vTestify be saving anyone 3k or 4k per deposition when the average reporter is only grossing 5k per month? They can’t. But that doesn’t stop them from saying they can.

We have one decision to make in this field. Are we going to get out there and educate the consumer, or are we going to lay down and let these irresponsible companies fake it until they make it? There’s zero compunction with lying to make a buck, and customers need to know. Smart purchasers have already seen through this BS and stuck with stenographers through thick and thin, and they’ve done better for it. Tried, tested, efficient; stenographic reporters are the way to go. Maybe vTestify will figure that out and make the switch themselves!

Remember all this next time you see somebody peddling a similar product. And next time you’re making a sales pitch, ask your buyer what their monthly budget for depositions looks like. If it’s more than $5,000 a month, I have a few numbers above that say they can save a whole lot by switching to stenography.

Can’t Outspend? Outsell.

When many of us were in school we were given a line, steno sells itself. Many of us can probably relate to that. Most steno companies, upon hearing you’re a professional stenographer, will give you a shot. Many of us in New York came out during a big slump (2010) where steno wasn’t selling itself, but even then, it was trivial to get work. All we had to do was say we’d been working three months, and “they’d” go from sorry no work for you to “oh, here are the keys to the kingdom.” Not all of us knew it, but that’s how it was. Agency owners are good at reading confidence, and what we’re offered is often linked directly to our confidence level.

Of course, the following may be an incorrect assumption on my part, but bear with me: We have entered an era where steno is not selling itself. Company owners are being pulled into the mindset that the voice recognition is “good enough,” and some of the major players, like Veritext, have been pushing recording.

I should note, in full disclosure, that I have not been able to corroborate what I’m about to say with documents or pictures as I usually do. It’s pulled from the social media sphere, so consider it anecdotal for now, and do not be surprised if agencies start railing against social media. Even as some claim that Veritext sent an email stating they were not using recording in states like New Jersey, others have come forward across social media to say yes, this is being done behind our backs. Many of us are reportedly asking lawyers what they’re seeing, and they are seeing digital getting peddled to them relentlessly.

So what do we do when we have major players putting their resources into our replacement? Who here thinks they have more money that Veritext or their owners? Hopeless, some would say. But there is something that many reporters are realizing: This alleged shortage is a great time get private clients and begin new businesses. If Veritext or some entity swears they can’t get a stenographer, some lawyers have allegedly called their insurers and gotten authorization to use a local stenographer or stenographic firm. All their marketing moves and salespeople count for nothing if a stenographer finds themselves in the right place at the right time.

We’re the boots on the ground. We have more contact with law office staff and employees. We have the keys to the kingdom. But the people at the top have made it very clear that they’ll do whatever is convenient for them. It’s time we do the same for the survival of our industry. We don’t work for them? Try it. It might just give us access to their clients. We work for them? Guess who already has access.

Even if we don’t want to handle private clients, we could always network with an existing firm owner out there and get them clients in exchange for the work or a share. If we’re even moderately successful, big companies will be offering to buy back their business from us in a few years, and the field will be a lot healthier once the market share is spread out. Our actions determine the future. The conversation today is steno or digital. Tomorrow it just might be stay steno or slam sand.

Table of Contents

On the suggestion of a reader, the table of contents has been revised to show articles in date order with summaries. Articles or posts that I believe have no more value are omitted from this page but may be found via the search box.

This table of contents is currently under construction. Please use the search box on the home page if
you are looking for something specific.


Open Steno’s Unprecedented Growth Continues 11/23/21
OpenSteno.org continues its push to grow the stenographic legion.

Stenonymous Promotes Naegeli’s Lawsuit Threat on Twitter 11/22/21
After Naegeli’s lawsuit threat I promoted it on Twitter to 8,000 people and Naegeli backed down.

Rumors that LiveLitigation is Linked to vTestify False, says President 11/21/21
Though both companies may have used the branding “LiveDeposition,” the president of LiveLitigation says they are competitors.

Naegeli Threatens Legal Filing Against Stenonymous 11/20/21
Due to my 11/19/21 post, Naegeli threatened to sue me.

Naegeli Charged $11.50 Per Page on a Copy Sale 11/19/21
This post exposed how Naegeli charged $11.50 on a copy sale, even if that’s not what was ultimately received.

Day 1 of Stenograph Boycott, Company Releases Pro-Steno Teaser 11/18/21
After I called for a boycott, Stenograph put out pro-steno images to appease customers.

NCRA Joins Battle, Calls Out Potentially Illegal Conduct 11/17/21
NCRA announced to the country that procedural rules were being violated in many states, so I reported on it.

Is Stenograph Sabotaging Stenographer Software Support? 11/16/21
This post memorialized the deterioration of Stenograph customer service in 2021.

Orange Legal, A Veritext Company, May Share Location with BlueLedge 11/12/21
This post explored the fact that Orange Legal appears to share a location with BlueLedge.

BlueLedge Connected with Veritext and Stenograph 11/11/21
This post showed the friendliness of BlueLedge, a digital court reporting training program, with Stenograph and Veritext.

Identimap Offers Free Trial to Court Reporting Businesses 11/10/21
This post explained Identimap’s offer to court reporting businesses.

US Legal Support Switches to Ultimate Staffing in Its Bid to Betray Industry 11/9/21
After months of daily LinkedIn posts searching for digital court reporters, US Legal switched to using Ultimate Staffing to post the digital court reporter jobs.

Court Reporter EDU is FoS 11/7/21
This post exposes CourtReporterEDU.org, a site that appears to be dedicated to providing resources for people looking to become court reporters / stenographers. The site actually redirects people to Ed 2 Go / BlueLedge.

US Legal Terrified of Stenonymous, Donates $50k to Project Steno 11/6/21
A jab at US Legal Support for donating a comparatively trivial amount of money to Project Steno while doing everything in its power to undermine, underpay, and eradicate stenographers.

Stenograph’s Public Relations Problem 11/5/21
This post explains that Stenograph’s good will towards stenographers is manufactured to appease so that Stenograph can sell to both stenographers and digital court reporters. I explain that it is in stenographers’ best interest to boycott unless and until the company ceases all digital court reporting promotion and why stenographers have that power.

Proof STTI is a Propaganda Machine 11/4/21
In this post I revealed that if STTI’s claims about stenographer shortage were accurate, 16% of jobs would be uncovered.

Is US Legal Giving Digital Reporters Benefits? 11/4/21
A post comparing the temporarily good treatment of digital court reporters to the historically atrocious treatment of stenographic court reporters.

StenoMasters Membership Free to Seven Students — Charter Imminent! 11/3/21
A post revealing StenoMasters would soon be chartered. Several students were given their first year free.

My Transformation 11/1/21
A post revealing more of my thoughts on human psychology, how I used that to help myself and others, and how I hope others will use my discoveries for good.

U.S. Legal Support Charged the Equivalent of $4.90 on a Copy Sale in CA 10/31/21
A post revealing how U.S. Legal charged $4.90 a page on a copy. A court ruled $2.50 was reasonable.

Tipping Points Are Hard! 10/27/21
A post revealing my letter to the FTC and Twitter campaign exposing Peter Giammanco’s behavior.

Support A Steno Streamer Today! 10/26/21
A post announcing my support for VaderBabe87, a steno Twitch streamer.

Veritext and US Legal Lied to the Public About Stenographer Shortage 10/23/21
This post explored how two major court reporting companies inflated the required enrollments to solve the stenographer shortage by a factor of six.

Want a Press Release? Write Me Today! 10/21/21
My post offering press release services.

Becki Joins the Stenographic Legion! 10/20/21
Becki’s TikTok took the steno world by storm months prior to this post. She unboxed her new stenotype on camera, and this post memorializes that.

Verbit Continues Trying to Brainwash an Industry 10/19/21
A post that pits actual numbers against Verbit’s overblown claims of stenographer shortage.

Steno101’s Spotify Ad Has Taken Off 10/18/21
A post memorializing Steno101.com’s Spotify ad launch.

A Little About Copyright and This Blog 10/16/21
A lighthearted post where I explained I would not enforce any copyright that I own related to this blog and encouraged readers to use it in whatever legal way they wanted.

Arizona Asked for Public Comment on Recording and We Responded 10/14/21
A memorialization of Arizona’s attempt to change the court rules and our response as a field.

My Open Email to Readback Active Reporting 10/12/21
A post where I revealed an e-mail I wrote to Readback Active Reporting, a firm attempting to sell digital court reporting under the ruse of being a new classification, “active reporting.”

Upcoming Appearances with Stenographers World and PYRP 10/8/21
A post where I announced a weekend of online appearances and said something controversial.

BLS Statistics on Our Field May Be Unreliable 10/7/21
A post that exposes how the Bureau of Labor Statistics data has changed over time and why it may be accurate as of October 2021.

AI Researchers Have Similar Expectation & Belief Problems to Ours 10/6/21
A post that discusses AI winter and points to the importance of funding and investor perception.


We Defeated The Stenographer Shortage Twice Before I Was Born and Will Again 10/4/21
A look at historic stenographer shortages and what that might mean for our current shortage.

When Autocraptions Fail, Stenographers Step Up 10/2/21
A post memorializing when a stenographer stepped up to help people suffering from bad captions.

Upcoming Online Events Court Reporters Are Invited To! 9/29/21
A post that announces Ana Fatima Costa’s 9/30 workshop and AAUW’s 10/5 workshop.

U.S. Legal Support Continues Its Attack On Minority Speakers 9/28/21
A post that lines up and explains more succinctly my case for why U.S. Legal is exaggerating and exacerbating the shortage.

Zombie Corporations in Court Reporting (2-minute video) 9/27/21
A video post explaining zombie corporations and a brief reasoning for my belief that much of the private equity money in court reporting is devoted to zombie corporations.

Big Companies Are Not Using Digital Reporting Because of Stenographer Shortage 9/24/21
A post showing that despite claims that the use of digital reporting is due to stenographer shortage, few good faith attempts to recruit stenographers or build interest in the field are made.

Find Your Voice With StenoMasters 9/23/21
A blog post promoting StenoMasters, a nonprofit dedicated to helping stenographers and the public with public speaking.

If You Think I’m Your Enemy, Watch This Video 9/20/21
Realizing that some of my message gets lost in writing, I took to video to explain myself to my fellow court reporters.

How 60 Stenographers Changed Reality 9/17/21
This post urged reporters to see their own power as individuals.

Verbit Published Kentuckiana Proceeding Audio Online Without Anyone’s Permission
9/15/21
This post exposed how Verbit posted family court proceeding audio on the internet and paved the way to the audio being taken down.

Investors Misled, Verbit Lies, Media Buys It 9/14/21
This post explored various claims by Verbit and why they were misleading or untrue.

US Legal Rep: Does It Really Matter If Done Legally and Ethically…? 9/13/21
This post exposed that US Legal Support may be lying to court reporting consumers about the stenographer shortage.

How Corporations Gaslight Stenographers Into Fighting Each Other and How To Beat That 9/9/21
This post exposed the gaslighting that causes infighting in our field and distracts us from talking about actual issues.

The Layperson’s Guide To Why Stenographic Reporting Is More Efficient Than Digital Reporting 9/8/21
This post laid out some facts about digital reporting that are rarely talked about and dives deeper than “what if the microphone doesn’t pick it up.”

Allison Hall — $20 to Sponsor a Student in Need 9/7/21
This post celebrates the anniversary of Paying It Forward, a group of stenographers coming together to help students and newbies break down financial barriers to entry in our field.

NYSCRA Offering RPR WKT Test Prep September 2021 9/4/21
This post advertises NYSCRA’s September 2021 test prep.

How Science and Psychology Help This Blog Beat Digital Reporting CEOs 9/3/21
A post that explains the importance of narratives, psychology, recruiting digital reporters, and sharing information.

I Figured Out Why ASR Is So Hard To Perfect 9/2/21
A post I put out with an epiphany as to why automatic speech recognition is not closing the gap to 100%.

Was Ducker Worldwide Wrong About Stenographer Shortage? 9/1/21
A post about Ducker Worldwide’s Court Reporting Industry Outlook 2013-2014.

What Court Reporters Can Learn From Y2K 8/31/21
A glance at the history of Y2K and how we can use that as a model for solving the stenographer shortage.

Stenographer Energy & Social Media Recruitment 8/30/21
A review of a popular TikTok about stenography and a jab at the dishonesty of US Legal Support.

What Is Realtime Voice Writing and Why Is It Better Than Digital Reporting? 8/22/21
An explanation of voice writing and why it blows digital reporting out of the water.

Drillmaker for Students/Educators 8/6/21
A post introducing a simple computer script that anyone can use to help make lists of random words for drills.

Fear Public Speaking? Try StenoMasters! 8/4/21
A post announcing the birth of StenoMasters, an non-for-profit online speaking club for court reporters.

The Magic of Cost Shifting – How Big Companies Beat the Working Reporter
8/4/21
A post that gets into cost shifting and how some court reporting companies can shift costs to make it harder for the working reporter to compete directly with them.

Is VITAC Paying Below Market Rates for Captioners? 7/27/21
A post that explores job postings by VITAC and compares it to providers’ past experiences in captioning.

Will Verbit Go Public in 2022? 7/23/21
This post gently critiques a Forbes article and points out possible futures for the Verbit company.

The Importance of Plover and Open Steno 7/19/21
This post talks about the Open Steno 2021 survey.

PCRA Wouldn’t Say Whether It Sees the Future Generation as Being Digital Reporters
& What You Can Do About It
7/17/21
This post describes a webinar held by PCRA on June 26, 2021 that platformed digital reporting, why digital reporting is not an adequate court reporting technology, and what court reporters can do to safeguard their associations.

NCRA News. Career Launcher and President’s Party 7/14/21
This post describes NCRF’s Career Launcher, a series of modules to help new reporters. It also mentions the NCRA convention president’s party.

Why I Resigned From the NYSCRA Board and NCRA Strong, and the Future of this Blog 7/7/21
This post dives into why I resigned from several volunteer activities and announces my intention to continue providing industry news.

John Belcher on Winning Depositions 7/1/21
This post showcases information from John Belcher with regard to depositions.

Gartner: 85% of AI Implementations Will Fail By 2022 6/30/21
This post talks about Gartner’s prediction that 85% of AI business solutions will fail and explains why that might be the case.

PAF Steno 6/29/21
This post mentions PAF Steno and the work it is doing to train stenographers.

Thinking of Taking Private Clients? New York Reporter: …Trust Yourself and Go Do It. 6/28/21
This post showcases a Q&A with a New York reporter that was able to double their money by taking private clients.

Over-Engineering Will Hurt Your Business 6/24/21
This post explores over-engineering and the dangers of it in a general sense. It also explains how automatic speech recognition and AI relates to over-engineering.

Steno & Me (Under the Sea Parody) 6/24/21
These lyrics are a parody of Under the Sea from the Little Mermaid set to a steno theme. Immediately after this post was launched, it was discovered that more than 10% of stenographers are also mermaids.

Share Something For Me? 6/22/21
This post touches briefly on how social media algorithms can hamper the spread of information and asks court reporters to share my 6/19/21 article in order to counter false perceptions about stenography in the media.

Relationship Conflicts & What You Can Do When It All Goes Wrong 6/21/21
This post talks about the types of personalities you might run into when buying something from someone. It also proposes a process for resolving conflict. It is geared toward business relationships but can be used for personal relationships also.

Journalists May Be Reporting Black People’s Stories Wrong 6/19/21
This post was utilized in an ad campaign to bring more attention to our field with regard to the study Testifying While Black. Many outlets reported false or misleading headlines regarding the study. This article dives into the dishonesty of several media sources when it comes to stenographic court reporting.

Recording Endangered By Stenography’s Retirement Cliff 6/17/21
This post talks about how the stenographer shortage can hurt the record-and-transcribe modality of taking down the record. In brief, it shows how stenographers are used to transcribe work in many places that have “switched to digital.”

Outreach Webinar by Project Steno – June 6, 2021 6/2/21
This post boosted the 6/6/21 Project Steno/NYSCRA webinar pertaining to high school outreach.

1 in 4 Court Reporting Companies May Be Unprofitable 5/28/21
This post describes a 2019 report by Kentley Insights, explains what zombie companies are, and goes on to suggest that the unprofitable companies in the field are the ones using digital reporting.

Does Stenonymous Spend More On Steno Ads Than US Legal? 5/27/21
In this post US Legal’s LinkedIn campaign to recruit digital court reporters is exposed. The post also shows how Stenonymous has been used to expose thousands of people to stenographic court reporting and contrasts that with US Legal’s apparent lack of a stenographic recruitment strategy.

Vote Yes! NCRA 2021 Proposed Bylaw Amendments 5/25/21
This post advertises the 2021 proposed bylaw amendments and gives my opinion of each.

Court Reporters Speak Up For The Record On Future Trials 6/2/21
This post explores the April 2021 report by the Future Trials Working Group to the New York State Unified Court System. It also showcases association and union response to the report and the reply received by the court system.

MGR Interviewed on the Treatment of Reporters 5/18/21
This post shares my interview with Marc Russo, owner of MGR Reporting, on the treatment of reporters.

CART v Autocraption, A Strategic Overview For Captioners 5/13/21
This post gives information to CART providers to help them cope with the hype and lies surrounding automatic speech recognition (ASR) and sentiments by some that they are replaceable. It talks about how captioners can protect consumers and why consumers need that protection.

Literal v Readable, A Primer on Transcribing What We Hear 5/10/21
This post describes several issues stenographers may run into on the job, including whether to edit something that is spoken or leave it completely verbatim. It explains how context matters in our work.

Paying It Forward with Allie Hall 5/4/21
This post mentions Allie Hall’s efforts with regard to Paying It Forward and how reporters can contribute.

A Primer on ASR and Machine Learning For Stenographers 4/22/21
This post explains some of the technology behind automatic speech recognition and machine learning in simple terms so that stenographers can understand it and educate their clients.

How We Discuss Errors and Automatic Speech Recognition
4/12/21
This post explains automatic speech recognition’s word error rate metric and compares it to how court reporters measure errors.

For Digital Court Reporters and Transcribers, Check Out Steno! 3/1/21
This post was used in an ad campaign to expose digital court reporters and transcribers to stenography and express to them in simple terms why it is better to learn the skill of and work in the field of stenographic court reporting.

Facebook Boosting 101 2/26/21
This post explored the power of paid advertising and showed stenographers how they can multiply their reach by 20.

For Students Saddled With Unpayable Student Loan Debt 2/24/21
This post presents links and resources relating to options students in debt have.

Aggressive Marketing — Growth or Flailing? 2/22/21
This article dives into Fyre Festival and describes how sometimes companies talk a good game even when their product or idea is unprofitable or poorly executed. It also takes a look at VIQ Solutions, parent of Net Transcripts, Inc., and how despite making millions in revenue, VIQ reported over $300,000 in losses.

Help Chris DeGrazio Celebrate International Women’s Day! 2/19/21
Court reporter Chris DeGrazio sought to celebrate International Women’s Day by creating a collage. This post helped advertise it.

Court Reporter Humor – Stenoholics & Andy Bajaña 2/15/21
Stenoholics and Andy Bajana have some hilarious videos related to court reporting. You can get links to them through this post.

Finding Time 2/12/21
This article talks about time management, the importance of scheduling, and using common tools such as calendars and schedulers. It also cautions against taking too much time trying to find the “perfect” tool.

Scholarships & Contests For Students February 2021 2/11/21
This post provides information with regard to 2021 scholarships and contests for stenography students.

You Need 2FA Now 2/10/21
This post talks about two-factor authentication (2FA) and why court reporters need to use it wherever it is available.

Veritext “Provides More Work To Stenographers Than Any Other Firm In The Country” 2/9/21
After reaching out to Veritext for comment regarding what I perceived as a nonsensical and incongruent recruitment strategy, I reached out to Veritext for comment.

Need Continuing Education? Consider CCR Seminars. 2/8/21
This post breaks down the value of one private court reporting education company, CCR Seminars.

List of New York Agencies 2/5/21
This post provides a list of New York agencies in spreadsheet format.

The Ultimate Guide To Officialship (NY) 2/4/21
An anonymous person had been harassing me for several years. One of their “gibes” or implications was that I was an official reporter that posts a lot about freelance and I should post more about officialship. So I did.

Collective Power of Stenographers 2/3/21
This post is a mathematical demonstration of the power of stenographers. Often, stenographers share posts from companies or electronic recording companies as gospel. This post notes that reporters collectively have more money and power than any organization.

For The Record Documentary Goes Free 2/2/21
This post reported Marc Greenberg’s announcement that the For The Record documentary would become free.

NYSCRA’s CRCW 2021 & My Thoughts On The Future 2/1/21
This post announced several NYSCRA plans for Court Reporting & Captioning Week 2021 and explained why reporters must stand by their associations.

Can Freelancers Apply For Workers Compensation Benefits? (NY) 1/29/21
This post explored under what circumstances an “independent contractor” could attempt to claim workers comp benefits in New York.

GGU Presentation & Why You Matter 1/28/21
This post talked about Ana Fatima Costa’s presentation for Golden Gate University, Court Reporter Tips Every Lawyer Needs To Make the Best Record. It also went on to describe how any reporter can make an impact.

Beware Commercial Leasing Agreements for Equipment 12/27/20
This post explains commercial leasing agreements and how they can be very costly traps for reporters if reporters do not fully understand the agreement.

Can You Hear Me Now? Computer Parts For Steno Made Simple 12/22/20
This post explains to court reporters what they’re looking at when buying computers. It gives simple descriptions of components and how to make good purchasing decisions. It also provides simple troubleshooting tips or ideas.

What Law Offices Need To Know About A Court Reporter Shortage 12/15/20
This post was used in an ad campaign to explain the court reporting shortage to law offices. It focused heavily on combatting misinformation about our shortage and explained where stenographers could be found.

Remote Notarial Acts Executive Orders (NY 2020) 11/5/20
During the pandemic the governor of New York issued an executive order which allowed remote notarial acts. This post tracked the orders and extensions for court reporters.

Trolls and You 10/17/20
This post explored trolls-for-hire and exposed how cheap it could be to organize a misinformation campaign. The post also noted examples of likely trolls. It also counseled against the advice “don’t feed the trolls” and explained the importance of not allowing trolls to dictate the conversation.

The Question To Ask Yourself When Viewing An ASR Demo 10/10/20
This post compared several high-profile technology buys to automatic speech recognition technology and its dearth of such purchases. It also showed that ASR technology by the biggest players in the business was inadequate for court reporting.

Turning Omissions Into Opportunity 9/19/20
This post explored several omissions in the media regarding court reporting and demonstrated how court reporters can use these omissions to inform journalists.

What Verbit Leadership Needs To Know
9/12/20
This post appealed to Verbit leadership and pointed out how exaggerated claims could make the company look bad.

How To Spot More Better Marketing 8/25/20
A short guide on seeing through puffery.

Common Scams 8/18/20
A guide to spotting scams that may be adaptable to our industry.

August Asterisks 2020 (Jobs) 8/13/20
An August 2020 post about jobs that were available.

StenoKey, Stenographic Education Innovation? 7/1/20
A post about StenoKey, an educational program by Katiana Walton.

Stenonymous on VICE News Tonight 6/18/20
A post covering my TV appearance regarding the Testifying While Black Study by Taylor Jones, et al.

June Jettisons 2020 (Jobs Post) 6/16/20
A June 2020 post about jobs that were available.

Expedite Legal, Enhancing Coverage Nationwide? 6/15/20
A post covering Expedite Legal, an app service connecting lawyers to legal service providers like court reporters.

Check Out 225 and Beyond (Beware of Busywork) 6/14/20
A post promoting the work of Euan Williams.

How Organizations & Associations Work 6/13/20
A post that explains how associations work and the volunteer structure of them.

May Machinations 2020 (Jobs Post) 5/12/20
A May 2020 post that described available jobs.

NYSCRA Student Webinar May 2020 5/5/20
A post advertising the May 2020 NYSCRA student webinar.

Stenopalooza was POWerful 5/3/20
A post summarizing Stenopalooza 2020 and NCRA STRONG

Pricing Pages In A Market of Fear 4/6/20
A post that discussed supply and demand and the dearth of work in our field at the start of the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic.

April Applications 2020 (Jobs Post) 4/1/20
An April 2020 post about jobs that were available.

Steno Shortage Stats March 2020 3/14/2020
This post gave fast facts reporters could keep in mind when discussing the stenographer shortage.

What Verbit Investors Need To Know
3/4/20
This post investigated Verbit’s series A funding claims and compared them with series B funding claims. It also explained how a cost savings estimate by STTI was pathetic.

Trust Issues, Brought To You By Veritext 2/25/20
A post that examines the actions of Veritext versus statements made by the company.

Eastern District NY Hiring! 2/13/20 2/13/20
A post outlining a job opening in February 2020 for the Eastern District of New York federal court.

Stenonymous on Facebook 2/3/20
A post that announces the beginning of the Stenonymous discussion group on Facebook.

Fantastic February 2020 2/1/20
A post that lists jobs that were available in February 2020.

The Savior Chimera
1/29/20
A post that examines NCRA v AAERT and their relative abilities to combat the court reporter shortage.

Copyright and Stenography 1/24/20
A post that dives into the lack of copyright protection for stenographic court reporting.

Shortage Solutions 12: Stenography 1/23/20
A post that gives mathematical reasons on why it is smarter to address the court reporter shortage with stenographers than transcribers.

Shortage Solutions 11: Logistics 1/22/20
This post discusses the possibility of getting clients to space out depositions instead of starting everything at 10:00 a.m. in order to improve the logistical difficulty in getting a stenographic court reporter at every deposition.

A Night In Brooklyn, PYRP 78 1/21/20
A post that details an initiative by Protect Your Record Project and gives examples of how every reporter can advocate.

Why & When Leaders Stay Silent 1/15/20
A post about why leaders do not always address or acknowledge adversarial organizations and/or detractors.

NYSCRA 2020 Survey, Lobbying
1/9/20
A post about NYSCRA’s 2020 survey as well as some ideas I wrote to the association.

January 2020, Just Apply! 1/6/20
A post regarding jobs available in January 2020.

Stenographers, Planet Depos Is Not Your Friend 12/10/19
A post documenting attempts by Planet Depos to attract digital court reporters.

The Economics of Caring
12/6/19
A musing about apathy and how it can cost you your job.

Pricing Yourself Out of the Market 12/4/19
A post that briefly talks about the potential of pricing oneself out of the market and then launches into a defense of why rates in certain markets could be higher.

December Dirigibles 2019 12/2/19
A post describing jobs available in December 2019.

The Impossible Institute 11/23/19
A post examining the Speech-to-Text Institute and why claims that the stenographer shortage is impossible to solve are false.

The Original and What? 11/7/19
A discussion about copies, happiness, and altruism.

Government v Gig Economy 11/6/19
This post explored the possibility of the government reclassifying stenographers and what could be done if that occurred.

November Niches 2019 11/4/19
A November 2019 job post.

Stenonymous Suite: Early Version 10/29/19
My early coding experiments resulted in the Stenonymous Suite, released in the hopes people brighter than me do better.

Historic Rate Data: New York 1990s 10/25/19
A review of court reporter rates that showed we were making less value in 2010 than in 1991.

MAPEC 2019 10/21/19
A review of the reporter Empowerment Conference in 2019.

Raise Your Rates 2019 10/4/19
A call to get reporters to raise their rates in accordance with supply and demand.

Loans, School, & You 10/2/19
An explanation of debt to assist students.

October Occupations 2019 10/1/19
An October 2019 job post.

Outfluence by Al Betz 9/23/19
This program presents a professionalism and communication program called Outfluence.

NCRA Virtual Town Hall, September 21, 2019 9/22/19
This post described a 9/21/19 NCRA Town Hall session.

Historic Rate Data: A First Look 9/21/19
This post took historic rate data from the west coast and adjusted it for inflation to show court reporters were behind inflation.

How To Create Timed Dictation 9/21/19
This post describes how to create timed dictation.

Buying Hype 9/17/19
This post described the dangers of buying hype instead of thinking critically.

Keep Enemies Closer 9/16/19
A caution against oversharing.

Forgiving Your Impostor Syndrome 9/13/19
A post regarding letting go of feelings of inadequacy.

Pattern Writing 9/12/19
This post describes how using patterns or groups of briefs can help you remember and use them.

Shortage Solutions 10: Contract or Employment 9/9/19
This post proposed employment structure changes to help with shortage.

September Submissions 2019 9/1/19
A September 2019 post talking about available jobs in 2019.

The Disappointment Paradigm 8/30/19
This post describes the importance of setting boundaries.

State Associations With Mentoring 8/23/19
This post released a spreadsheet of nearly every stenographic court reporting association in the United States and whether it had mentoring.

Achieve Your Dream Salary Using Retrograde Extrapolation 8/19/19
This post describes how one can meet goals by setting the goal and working backwards to see how that goal might be accomplished.

The Resurgence 8/16/19
This post remarked on the resurgence of American stenography.

Do You Log Your Practice? 8/13/19
This post described how tracking practice could enhance progress.

Shortage Solutions 9: Independent Listings 8/12/19
This post explored how available directories of court reporters could end the shortage.

Recording Grand Jury (NY) 8/11/19
This post documented an instance where grand jury proceedings were audio recorded and related New York laws.

Library of Congress Seeks Volunteer Transcribers 8/10/19
This post urged stenographers to assist in transcription for the Library of Congress.

Guarding the Record Against Misinformation 8/9/19
This post points out misinformation in the court reporting industry and the importance of speaking against it.

Global Alliance Founding 8/8/19
This post documented the founding of Global Alliance.

Combination Banking 8/7/19
This post discusses combination banking, a better way to do Q&A.

How Many Errors Allowed? 8/6/19
This post presents a spreadsheet to calculate how many erors are allowed on a steno test and points out that a student did this better than me.

The vTestify Lie 8/5/19
This post pointed out that vTestify’s claim that it could save $3,000 per deposition was false.

August Applications 2019 8/2/19
An August 2019 jobs post.

Steno Speed and the Youtube Angle 7/27/19
This post documented my effort to preserve the old stenospeed dot com audio files.

Can’t Outspend? Outsell. 7/25/19
This post provided anecdotal evidence on how stenographers were being outmarketed rather than outmatched.

Stenovate, Workspace Consolidation 7/22/19
This post highlighted Stenovate, a transcript management software.

Shortage Solutions 8: Retirement 7/19/19
This post discussed how retirees could stop the stenographer shortage.

Cert Shaming 7/17/19
This post discussed the importance of certified and uncertified reporters not fighting each other.

Review: A Court Reporter’s Guide to Leadership and Team Building, by Colin Yorke 7/15/19
A review of a very short book about leadership by Colin Yorke and a giveaway to get his writing out there.

New Speed Students, Learn To Let Go 7/10/19
This post details the importance of avoiding the asterisk key on test day.

Practice, Finger Drill, WKT, Dictation Marker Update 7/6/19
This post documented by attempts at coding computer scripts that could help create finger drills, NY Civil Service WKT practice, and automatically mark dictation.

Shortage Solutions 7: Recruitment 7/5/19
This post described how important recruitment for stenography was and gave mathematical examples for how court reporters could increase the number of graduates just by talking about the field.

July Jobs Jubilee (2019) 6/28/19
A post for July 2019 jobs available.

RE: Remote Judicial Reporting, WUNCRA 6/26/19
A post that pointed to the danger of remote judicial reporting, as well as offered both praise and criticism for the Wake Up NCRA blog.

Can Verbit Replace Verbatim? 6/21/19
This post described difficulties that I anticipated Verbit was going to have with perfecting automatic speech recognition technology.

Stenonymous Suite and Q&A Generator (Concept) 6/20/19
This post revealed a computer programming script I was working on called the Stenonymous Suite.

Shortage Solutions 6: Pay the Piper 6/17/19
A post where I explained one way to end the shortage would be to pay stenographers better.

Sexual Harassment for Stenos 6/11/19
A post describing sexual harassment in our field, and specifically New York law.

Law For Stenographers (US) (FRCP) 6/10/19
Federal procedural laws I feel stenographers should know of.

June 9 Burngirl CaseCAT Tips (2019) 6/7/19
A post promoting a CaseCAT tip event by Burngirl.

Shortage Solutions 5: Public Perception 6/6/19
A post that described the importance of public perception to stenography’s survival as an industry.

NCRA Bylaw Amendment Proposals 2019 6/5/19
A post memorializing the 2019 NCRA bylaws amendment proposals.

Be Smart With Social Media 6/5/19
A post with various cautions about social media and how to use it in a way that builds your brand instead of destroying it.

The Cost of Doing Business 6/4/19
A post giving general advice about expenses that revealed an old retainer I signed where $14.95 per page was in the contract for depositions.

Table of Contents 6/3/19
This is the table of contents you are currently reading. 6/3/19 is the day it went live.

To Our Litigators 5/31/29
A post to lawyers about our stenographer shortage.



















To Our Litigators

RE: Stenographic Reporters

If you’re reading, I’m going to hope you’re the kind of lawyer that we all look up to. You’re responsive to clients, you’re honest with potential clients about what you can do for them, and you’re ready when it comes to filings, motions, discovery, or trial. Maybe you’re the one at your firm tailoring your service to your client’s budget, or maybe you oversee someone doing that for you. But the end is the same, giving the consumer the best value for the budget.

That’s what urges me to write today. There has been a lot said about “AI” transcription and digital recording versus stenographic reporting. There has been a lot said in my field about the Ducker Report and a forecasted shortage of court reporters. Some brave companies are turning to remote reporting, where legal, to allow a stenographer to appear remotely. Other courageous reporters are doubling their workload to meet your demand.

There is one solution that’s come out known as digital reporting. The main idea is that someone will record the proceedings, run it through a computer program, and then someone will fix up what the computer does. Perhaps unsurprisingly, this is what we stenographers actually do. The major difference is we are stenographically recording (typing!) every word, and the computer is accepting that stenographic word and turning it into your English transcript.

The bottom line is: It simply ends up being more efficient to do it our way. One person, perhaps two, can stenographically record and transcribe an entire proceeding and have it to you that night or the next morning. For your dollar, there’s just not better value. Stenographers type four to five times faster than your average typist, so to finish the same proceeding, we are talking about four or five times the usual turnaround time for transcribers, or four or five times the staffing. Take the number of stenographers you have today, and multiply that number by 3, 4, or 5. If you think there’s a shortage and/or workflow issues now, imagine a world where you need five court reporters to put together your one proceeding. Imagine a world where the transcript is questioned and you need to bring those people in to testify instead of one stenographer.

Trust me when I say the firms switching to digital reporting or demanding you change your deposition notices to allow digital reporters are not saving you or your clients any money. Ever notice how there are almost never prices posted online for services? That’s because most of these companies act as middlemen. They make an agreement with you or the insurer, and then they make an agreement with us, the stenographers or transcribers, and they keep what’s in the middle. It’s really that simple. I would not be surprised, as a stenographer, to learn that I only made $3.25 a page on some of my old depositions with 25 cents per copy while the agency I worked with charged whatever they charged. 5? 6? 7? I don’t know. I only know that when I consulted a lawyer, the lawyer wanted almost 15 dollars a page if my case went to depositions.

I’ve been a stenographer for a long time, and I see two roads that you, the litigators, may take. You can let the sellers decide the market, and eventually stenographers won’t be an option, or you can make a sustained demand for a stenographic reporter at every dep. When lawyers start turning to direct market apps like Appear Me, Expedite Legal, and NexDep to get stenographers, those agencies pushing the digital and AI will jump on board and do whatever it takes to increase your supply of stenographers and get your business back.

Stenographers have been serving the legal community for decades. There’s been a push in recent years to do away with us because of a public perception that our methods are antiquated. Ironically, the people leading this charge are the companies we trusted with selling our services. So to our litigators: You now know all I know, and the customer is always right. Which will you choose?

The Audio Sink

We’ll try not to pontificate too much beyond the title, but it’s time to jump right into discussion on Audio Sync technology. For a quick overview to newbies, the aptly acronym’d AS is basically an audio recording contemporaneously taken with your stenographic notes that allows you to jump to that place in the audio where your notes were taken.

It’s a wonderful tool that’s revered by newbies and seasoned reporters alike. It’s a great thing. It was impressive when it came out and remains an impressive feat of technology today. All that acknowledged, it’s time to put out some caution for the newbie or seasoned writer that utilizes it. Many will have seen these ideas or perhaps assume everyone already knows these things. We’ll assume the weakest link doesn’t and strengthen the chain.

First thing is first, if you’re going to use it, it’s not good to rely on it. Computers are funny. Sometimes they appear to be recording but aren’t. Sometimes they’re recording so much background noise it makes the audio useless. Sometimes you, the operator, forget to turn on the mic. It can be beneficial to pretend you do not have it. As saying goes, if you didn’t hear that answer, don’t assume the microphone did.

It can be beneficial to take jobs without it for three reasons. Firstly, it gives you an accurate idea of where you’re at. If you need a repeat every few seconds it feels awful, but it gives you an honest understanding that when you find some time, you need to work on that speed, or work on that particular accent, or improve whatever is going wrong within your control. There are resourceful tricks we often only come up with if we are forced to get it and do not allow ourselves to “let the audio catch it.”

Then there is also a boon to your wallet. If you rely on audio, then you listen to the entire deposition over, and it can literally double or triple your transcription time to listen to something more than once. Time is money, and very few of us have time to spend listening to every job over. Learning to read misstrokes and getting to glide from word to word will save you time and money in the long run. In the short run, you can also listen to music while transcribing.

If you’re planning on taking an employment test, the ability to walk into a job without audio is priceless. Your transcription skills and on-the-spot resourcefulness will be as sharp as it gets. You will have the ability to cope with getting it under pressure.

In the view of many, AS has done wonders for the field, but also hurt us badly. We graduate at 95 percent accuracy. Many of us go on to let the audio catch it, resulting in lower accuracy, longer transcription times, and tougher times passing examinations for certification or employment. This isn’t to ostracize those among us that use it or even rely on it, but to encourage that occasional job where you shut it off and let yourself develop skills in polite interruption and writing resourcefulness that this generation of reporter just hasn’t had to develop.