Court Reporting Program is more than just learning to type

DMACC has a new courting reporting program that was launched in August, 2014 on the Newton campus.

Dr. Patricia Ziegler is the program’s professor and chair. She was program coordinator at St. Louis Community College before coming to DMACC.

According to Ziegler, students develop to write 225 wpm with 95 percent accuracy.

“Students learn to write machine shorthand (basically a foreign language) on a steno machine (23 keys).  Multiple keys are used at the same time (much like playing a musical instrument),” she said.

Ziegler added in order to meet 225 wpm, students use a special technique of shortening words, briefs and phrases that is similar to writing text messages.

“For example, scene of the accident is written SNAX.  The word ‘today’ is written TOD; the word ‘tomorrow’ is written TORM,” she added.

Ziegler said court reporting is different from other forms of reporting: it makes use of what is called a steno machine.

“Court reporting is taking down the verbatim, word-for-word transcript of a court proceeding using a steno machine,” she said.

According to Ziegler, official court reporters are employed as official court reporters, but they could also work as freelance court reporters or broadcast captioners.

“Freelance court reporters are often self-employed or work with a freelance agency to take depositions, or short transcripts of an eyewitness account, an expert witness, etc.  Court reporters are also broadcast captioners, providing captions for all live television programs.  CART providers provide transcripts for deaf and hearing-impaired students,” she said.

According to the National Court Reporters Association, the average salary for a court reporter is $62,000 and can pay up to $100,000. Jobs relating to the court is projected to grow by 14 percent through 2020, that is according to the U.S. Bureau of labor Statistics.

What does it take to be a good court reporter?

“Attention to detail, good English skills, discipline to practice, interest in law and language,” according to Ziegler is a great way to start in earning their way to become good court reporters.

She has a BA in Business Education from Augustana College, Sioux Falls, S.D., Master’s Degree in Adult and Higher Ed Administration from University of South Dakota, Vermillion, S.D.

She also has a Doctorate Degree in Education Leadership & Policy from University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, Minn.

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