The march continues to educate the public about the art of writing. Who better to take the lead than my best friend, Joshua Edwards?
Create Content for Stenonymous!
When I started Stenonymous in 2017, I had a vision of a platform where many of us would come together sharing perspectives and ideas about the court reporting/captioning and stenotype services industry. I didn’t get many people that wanted to write on Stenonymous, and I rode things out mostly on my own writing, research, and perspective.
Times are changing. While this blog is not yet the economic powerhouse that I have calculated it could become, I am in a much better place to offer prospective writers and content creators something for their time. If you’d like to create for Stenonymous, please read my pitch!
Stenonymous utilizes WordPress. I can send you an e-mail invite to become a contributor and you can sign up in a matter of minutes.
I cover the cost of running the website through my own funds and donations that come in. Writers won’t be asked to pay anything upfront.
By pairing up with this blog, you’ll have some viewership automatically. At the present time, we get about 2,000 visitors (4,000 views) a month, with large increases when the ad money is flowing in. You could go out and build your own platform, but do you need to?
I’d like to work together to get writers paid and expand the diversity and depth of content available. If you can get an advertiser for your content, feel free to keep 100% of that. If I get an advertiser for your content, let’s split that revenue. If you get people to send you money directly, feel free to keep 100% of that. If you want to use my platform to take payment, utilizing the new “Sell Downloads” feature, I can also track how many people want to support a specific writer, and I’d be willing to give you 90% of what comes in for you. For an example of how this works, check out the page I made myself. Since we are early in the process of building Stenonymous, writers that come in will be helping me shape the direction the blog takes with regard to feel and monetization.
There Are Few Limits.
If it’s about court reporting, captioning, or stenotype services, it pretty much flies. While I do intend to exercise some discretion, and wouldn’t publish “just anything,” I don’t want this to necessarily be an echo chamber where every writer agrees with me. That’s boring.
If you’re considering giving it a try, feel free to write me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll get you set up. Thank you!
Press Release Services by Christopher Day – Stenonymous Network
Why Press Releases?
One of the core issues we face together in our industry is the reach of our media. For years, we allowed the big players to dominate the paid-for press release space. When journalists go to find information on our field, the mergers and announcements of those players would be just about all that was available. Our professional journal and association newsletters are very important, but communicating who we are and what we provide to the world is also important.
To this end, I’ve gotten very familiar with the EIN Presswire service. The service takes a press release in a standard format and republishes it to many sites across the internet, resulting in more potential exposure for your business, nonprofit, or event. The $100 price tag of EIN per release is pricy. I buy press releases in bulk, so I’m able to help reduce that cost to our community of stenographers and related services.
For $50, I can use my press releases to get your news out there. High expectations for the next quarter? Announce it. Congratulating one of your favorite independent contractors on an achievement? Let the world know. We have so much news in this industry that we could easily fill a newswire with our own media. If you would like to submit a press release to me, just write me at email@example.com.
How To Do It:
The EIN system is simple. Give me a press release title and a subtitle or summary along with the city, state, and country of your release. Give me the date you want the release to go out as well.
Next, I need the body of the press release. You may also add three links to the press release by telling me the keywords in the body text and where they should link.
Next up, I need the contact information for the press release submitter. This is who you want journalists to contact if they’re interested in learning more about your announcement. I will also need the Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or other social media link you want in your press release. If you don’t want social media links, that’s fine too.
As for stock symbol, if you have one, let me know the exchange that your company is traded on. Most stenographic corporations are privately owned, so there would not be a stock symbol.
Also, pick a quote from your press release that you would like to stand out. Short and powerful quotes are very effective at grabbing readers’ attention.
Finally, you can give me up to five images you would like in your press release, one video, and one website embed. This can draw more traffic to your content and site, and should not be overlooked.
At that point, I can send a press release preview to you for approval. I’ll also select the industry channels that make the most sense for your content.
If you want me to do the work:
I understand that some feel uncomfortable creating their own content, and I’m happy to do the work for a fee, but in order to create content, we need to set a realistic budget. If you expect me to write your press release for you, expect to spend $300. If you want to create a video together, expect the cost to be more within the $500 range. Time and effort goes into my work, and while I can’t guarantee a journalist will pick up your story, I can guarantee that the story will be reprinted across many outlets and that you will get a full report of all the reprints.
I have worked on or helped distribute several press releases for Stenonymous, as well as various businesses and nonprofits. Here are some highlights:
Stenonymous Becomes StenoKeyboards Affiliate
You can now purchase StenoKeyboards products through my affiliate link. If you do, send me a picture with your product(s), a receipt, and your preferred rebate method, and I will give you 2% of your sale price back by PayPal, Zelle, or Venmo. This rebate is being offered by me as an incentive to use my affiliate link and is not backed by StenoKeyboards.
*Offer is only good for as long as my affiliate link is active.
Breaking Barriers? Open Steno Leads the Way
Yesterday, many professional stenographers came together with hobbyist stenographers from the Open Steno Project. Open Steno proponents presented how they have brought the cost of trying and using steno from the thousands of dollars it used to cost down to about $100. One example of this is the Uni, which is now, according to members from the community, in mass production mode. Please get involved in the various Open Steno communities, but especially the Discord chat. For anyone that missed the meeting, you can watch it here. The entire event was put together over the course of one week by Dineen Squillante, and without her, the event would not have happened. Captioning was provided by Open Steno founder Mirabai Knight. Moderation was performed by Quaverly Rothenberg. Check out my timeline of events below:
11:00 Dineen Squillante begins the meeting.
14:47 Mirabai Knight speaks about how the community has continued to grow and captions at the same time.
15:56 National Court Reporters Association President Debbie Dibble spoke about the honor of the invitation to join and noted she would be taking vociferous notes.
17:00 British Institute of Verbatim Reporters President Leah Willersdorf gave us a breakdown of BIVR’s membership.
18:06 New York State Court Reporters Association President Dom Tursi presented to us the history of machine shorthand. 1827 in France is the earliest attempt to mechanize shorthand that Dom has been able to unearth.
After that lineup, the Open Steno Community members spoke and shared with us several important things.
28:30 Software Engineer (140 WPM) Sammi De Guzman gave us a great introduction. Sammi spoke about the financial barriers of getting into stenography and talked about how the Open Steno Project has eliminated or substantially reduced those barriers through cheaper hardware and free software (Plover). She also mentioned how this barrier reduction allows everyone to use stenography and not just those in court reporting and captioning. Sammi also mentioned the large ecosystem of plugins/tools available.
38:14 Aerick, Open Steno Content Creator, spoke about hardware options for hobbyists. Aerick has over a thousand subscribers on Youtube!
44:00 Peter Park from Stenokeyboards.com spoke next. Peter is currently a law student, and he designed the Uni keyboard mentioned at the top. Peter spoke about his background and how he got into stenography.
48:45 Abby, a high school student and hobbyist stenographer (60 WPM), talked about the Stenogotchi by Anodynous.
51:26 Crides, a keyboard designer, spoke about embedded steno and a custom-made steno engine that can run on keyboards, as well as its pros and cons.
54:10 Ted Morin, a software engineer and Lead Developer of Plover, was up next. Ted created Art of Chording, just one way for people to learn stenographic theory for free. Ted spoke about the challenges of people learning stenography on their own. Ted also talked about Steno Arcade!
1:00:15 Joshua Grams, hobby programmer and the creator of Steno Jig was our next speaker. The exercises create pseudo-sentences that keep users on their toes and vary what they hear.
1:03:34 Diana MacDonald (Di), creator of Typey Type, spoke about the history of tools that existed to learn when she started and her creation of Typey Type for accessibility.
1:07:26 Sammi De Guzman spoke again. Fun fact, the meeting is hosted on her YouTube! Sammi got into various tools available, including Steno Explainers.
1:12:16 Quaverly Rothenberg, a stenographic transcriber and intern reporter, was up next and spoke about more tools for learners, including Anki flash card decks and Plover cards. She also spoke about Kaoffie’s steno font tool, recently used by Dineen Squillante with Team Turtle. We also got to hear about stroke frequency analyzer tools by Emily (EPLHREU).
1:28:13 Sammi gave us more information about decentralizing stenography and creating accessibility to more people in more places. The work of various creators was mentioned at 1:34:17, including SanSan by Sammi, Hachidori by Kaoffie, and Thai Steno by Parnikkapore.
1:34:32 Jim McAllister spoke about his work to create theory in other languages, including Spanish, and introduced his Spanish theory language group on Facebook.
1:41:16 Elizabeth Tremmel, an official court reporter in Ramsey County, Minnesota was the next presenter. She spoke about the Plover demographics survey. She spoke about schools and community, and how Plover helped her achieve working speed. One very important point made by Elizabeth was that NCRA’s testing policy is ambiguous.
I need to hijack the point Elizabeth made. Because of the nature of the Open Steno Community’s work, they need clarification on “special accommodations” and “stenographic writer” in NCRA testing. “Stenographic writer” is incredibly important because of the wide variety of writers that Open Steno has produced. Thanks to modern technology, people can swap out square keys for steno keys on an NKRO keyboard and perform stenography. When I took board training, I learned that associations don’t exclude vendors because that might cause antitrust complaints. If OSP has to crowdfund a lawyer to engage with NCRA to get these answers or represent people lost in the shuffle, it will be a dark day in the history of our profession. I have to ask my colleagues to help legitimize this community rather than illegally exclude it. I believe that’s where we are headed, but I must insist we be proactive: Let’s not be shy about pushing for a better, more-inclusive organization.
1:51:54 Matt “Sooty” Morgan spoke about his quest to teach himself stenography and how scarce stenographic writers are in Australia. Without Plover, Matt would not have made the professional milestones he’s made. He has hope for the future of shorthand in his country thanks to Open Steno. Knowing the
1:54:12, Stanley Sakai joined us from outer space. He talked about teaching himself stenography, the infancy of Plover, and how that evolved into work with coding an app for accessibility and captioning at Coachella with Isaiah Roberts. In Stanley’s words, any way someone can appreciate our craft is a beautiful thing.
2:07:30 Aerick came back and showed off the Discord chat, which professionals are encouraged to join.
After the conclusion of the Open Steno presentation, professional stenographers got a chance to speak.
2:13:16 Yvette Heinze spoke about Team Turtle and the importance of community. Main takeaway? Working together and surrounding ourselves with people that challenge us to learn and grow is vital to the profession’s survival.
2:19:21 Rich Germosen spoke about the court reporting practice community that he runs and how they support each other and keep the drama and politics low.
2:22:18 Christopher Day got to speak about how there’s a tech buzzword going around, the democratization of technology. He pledged to use Stenonymous to boost the community. He also mentioned how dummy pages were put up to lure students away from stenography with lies published about NCRA projections.
2:26:28 Traci Mertens, a stenographer of 34 years in nearly every area of the field that works as an Official Legislative Reporter for the United States House of Representatives. We need voice writers, Plover people, and everybody on board was the core of Traci’s message.
2:30:33 Mirabai Knight was the official close to the meeting, noting how she was blown away by all of the contributions made and how she loves being able to use Plover for captioning, as she has for almost a decade.
2:32:10 Dan Glassman got to come in and explain his experiences and knowledge from the last four decades in the history of stenography. From there, the meeting floated to general discussion and Q&A.
In only one week, Open Steno pulled together this monumental presentation. That, by itself, makes it worthy of our support.
The transcript of the event is available publicly.
Notably, I failed to mention StenoMasters, a speech club open to everyone and run by my best friend, Joshua Edwards. For those that want to sharpen their skills in speaking, it’s worth the $146 first-year cost. StenoMasters is very much like Open Steno in its quest to be accessible and open. Most of the fee goes to Toastmasters, the umbrella organization over StenoMasters, and the rest goes to club expenses.
I also failed to mention Glen Warner’s Cheap & Sleazy blog. My blog, is the biggest blog in the industry commercially. Glen’s is arguably the best blog in the industry, and if you’ve never seen it, it’s time to take a look. His work inspired my work. I hope to inspire others the way he inspired me. His work in the Open Steno Community and promoting the Facebook page cannot go unnoticed.
Check Out 225 and Beyond (Beware of Busywork)
A few days ago I came across something in the Facebook feed of Realtime Rich. It was an upcoming newsletter by a new professional among us, Euan Williams. Aptly named 225 and Beyond, it came with a bold statement. There’s a lack of quality written content out there for court reporting. Williams wants to change that. I joked, I said I object, and I signed up. As promised, the newsletter came in my e-mail today. It’s definitely worth the read.
Without stealing any thunder, it describes busywork. It describes how, in our quest to optimize our quest, we can fail to start our journey. It is something every professional and student should get familiar with, and you can read it right here. Logging your practice is also discussed, which I support.
I anticipate this becoming something I’ll blog about often. Great job, Euan. Keep up the great work!
Persuasive Writing Tips For The Stenographic Legion
I’ve received some phenomenal drafts and works from stenographers around the country. This burst of activity and people creating stuff to get each other talking and educate attorneys is great. Let’s all keep it up — and for those who haven’t yet jumped in, definitely do, there is a spot for you.
Dozens of stenographers are creating blog posts and informational flyers for attorneys, and now is the time to help each other with that.
Some common writing tips that I’ve used in my most popular posts, and what I hope will make everything you all write popular:
- Narrow the scope. Too many topics at once gives the reader mental overload.
- KISS your work. Keep it simple, silly. Big or sophisticated words are great, but if your piece reads like a technical textbook or manual, it will only attract readers who like that.
- Organize. By far my own weakest point. Try to make information easy to access and process. The order you do things can make your piece look professional or chaotic.
- Think of the audience. A lot of us are writing informational pieces for lawyers or law firms. These are highly intelligent people and we can expect them to understand what we have to say. But they’re also very busy people, meaning we can expect them to crumple up and throw away anything that doesn’t get to the point pretty fast.
- The less you write in one piece, the more people remember and/or misremember! We don’t really get to talk much on the job so when we sit down to write we can get verbose. Verbosity isn’t inherently bad but can turn audiences off.
- With the above in mind, writing different pieces targeted at different audiences can increase your impressions and impact the spread of your message.
- Sales and Persuasion. A lot of what we put out is trying to convince people stenography is better. It boils down to a sales pitch with some facts and/or law thrown in. Just bear in mind that anything you state as fact ought to be fact, and anything you state as opinion ought to be opinion, or you may find your enemies discrediting you with your own words.
- What you write can be as important as what you don’t.
- Opinions shape markets. The best thing you can sell is an experience. If you make reviewing your writing a pleasant experience, people will come back. Same for steno. Sell it as a positive experience to use a stenographer — because it is!
- The cheap v. good argument. We are throwing ourselves under the bus if we reinforce the notion that audio recording is cheaper than stenography. Stenographers in certain places around the country have worked for 3.65 a page or less. That boils down to close to 140 an hour. Even the most boastful transcription companies like Rev have said a dollar a minute, sometimes with upcharges for multiple speakers or terminology easily doubling the price. That 120 v 140 doesn’t impress me, and probably doesn’t impress you either. Let’s face facts, we’re better quality, same price, and any alleged savings are not going to the lawyers that purchase our time and talent. Succinctly, take note of people like Milestone, who talk about how inexpensive they are, but as of writing, don’t bother to put their price up. They’re not cheaper. They’re playing the same middleman game of hiding the price to cut the most profit from the middle.
Now we run through a few quick examples. If you are designing a class for lawyers or stenographers to take, then that is a time when you want to expound and get in depth. You’ll have, more or less, a captive audience, and it’s okay to get to the details in. If you are designing a flyer or brochure, you want it to be pretty short and sweet, relevant law and how it impacts a business or individual.
A last and final note: What you write is going to get out there. You will likely have fans and haters. What you have to remember is that if your work is receiving this attention, it is making an impact. Even if it is not yet receiving this attention, content creation takes time and energy. If you feel yourself burning out, it’s good to take a break. Feel free to jot some notes about what you’d like to write on or improve during your break, but don’t feel forced to continue a strenuous campaign of information dispersal while your energy is low.
All that’s left is to say get out there and show the world what you’ve got. Whatever your project, good writing can give it the boost it needs.