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An Open Letter to the Court Reporting Community

by on September 27, 2018

September 6, 2018

Geoffrey L. Hunt, President

American Association of Electronic Reporters and Transcribers

This is an open letter to the court reporting community of official and freelance court reporters, court reporting firm owners, and court reporting schools.  For those who have been staying informed of the evolution of the court reporting profession, you are aware of the internal and external forces and the resulting changes that are occurring.

Demand for court reporters is high. The supply of court reporters, however, is low and dwindling at an alarming rate.  The shortage of reporters is critical in the freelance market, which comprises approximately 72% of our profession.  The pressing question is, where do we find qualified court reporters to fill the demand we have now?  Some court systems rely on unmonitored recordings to preserve the record.  Do we stand by and allow the integrity of the record to be compromised, when viable solutions are available? If these shortages continue, it is inevitable that an alternative solution, one that may not include us, will be pursued.

The practice of recruiting stenographic students to a two- to four-year curriculum to learn the theory and speed build has failed, resulting in a continuous decline in enrollment. Schools have lost their funding and are closing their stenographic programs.  As this educational system collapses, so does the supply of stenographers.  As a result, stenographic shortages have forced court reporting agencies to consider alternative methods to meet the demand.

One of the solutions is digital reporting.  Digital reporters are trained to provide quality recordings from which highly accurate verbatim transcripts are produced.  Digital reporters can be trained and certified in a few months. Graduation rates from schools teaching this technology are high.  Current training and certification programs ensure high standards for digital reporters and transcribers nationwide.  When best practices are implemented, digital reporting provides an accurate record and a positive experience for courts, litigants, and reporting professionals.

The American Association of Electronic Reporters and Transcribers (AAERT) is a certifying body that promotes the education, certification, continuing education, and public awareness of digital reporting.  Standards for best practices and a school curriculum already exist.  AAERT is working closely with schools to initiate digital reporting and transcription programs.  Additionally, our government relations team is working at the state level to advocate for the interests of the Association and its members regarding policies, laws, and regulations.  The AAERT Certified Electronic Reporter (CER) and Certified Electronic Transcriber (CET) certifications are widely recognized and accepted by the courts, government agencies, and the business community.  AAERT supports the court reporting community and those who are interested in learning more about digital technology.

For the past several decades, digital reporting has provided millions of hours of verifiable recordings.  It has provided millions of pages of transcripts for countless trials, depositions, hearings, and meetings across the globe.  In this digital age, change is inevitable.  AAERT and digital reporting are positioned to embrace new technologies and continue moving forward with verifiable solutions.

For more information about digital reporting and AAERT, we invite you to visit us at AAERT.org and review the links to further information below:

  • Demand for reporting services in the freelance market is high
  • The shortage of stenographic reporters has forced agencies to consider alternative technologies to service their clients
  • Digital reporters are trained to provide quality recordings from which highly accurate, verbatim transcripts are made
  • Coursework requirements for training programs mirror stenographic requirements
  • AAERT provides the framework for best practices and certification
  • AAERT certification ensures standards for digital reporters and transcribers nationwide
  • Digital reporting provides a verifiable record
  • AAERT is open to all those who provide services within the court reporting profession
  • Standards for Coursework in Court Reporting
  • Standards for Coursework in Legal Transcription & Proofreader
  • Code of Ethics
  • Certification
  • Continuing Education

This is an exciting time for the digital reporting industry.  We welcome your interest – as a student, reporter, firm owner or school.  If you should have any questions, please reach out to us at info@aaert.org.

Thank you,

Geoffrey L. Hunt. President

 

 

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