One of the major stories in the news recently has been the sentencing of the murderer involved in the 2012 Colorado movie theater shooting. Headlines announce his life sentence, as newspapers, social media and broadcasting stations detail the ins-and-outs of the case. There is focus on the killer, the prosecution, the defense, the jury. But there is one person we never seem to hear anything about, even in these high profile cases, though the job they perform is among the most significant.
Unsung heroes of the courtroom
They sit in the courtroom, visible to most and largely unheard but for the slight clicks of the stenotype machine as their fingers fly over it, documenting every spoken word of the trial. Court reporters get very little attention amidst the proceedings, but where would we be without them? It is not only vital to record what takes place in the courtroom for the sake of the trial, but also for the sake of historical precedence and the ability to look back at particular scenarios. Court reporting services, with beginnings long preceding video and instant playback, allow a judge to immediately revisit relevant facts of the case that could influence the ultimate ruling.
Breaking onto the court reporting scene
Court reporting is a growing profession. A projected estimate states that over the decade between 2012 and 2022, the employment of court reporters will rise 10%. Those working as court reporters are generally freelancing, which is an attractive option, allowing one to create his or her own schedule. But many who begin training in the profession fail to complete it. Court reporting requires great attention to detail, and can often be tedious. The National Court Reporters Association, or the NCRA, requires applicants to be able to record 225 words per minute in order to qualify for certification. The education and certification programs typically take just over 33 months, which is just a few months shy of three years. And the work itself requires a great deal of concentration, as well as learning shorthand and the ability to multitask. If you can put up with it though, imagine the skills you’d have! If you can manage to listen to everything in a courtroom, type several syllables at once to create words that most people couldn’t decipher, and keep your emotions from interfering, think of how productive you could be in every other area of your life!
Court reporting isn’t for everyone. But it is essential to our judicial system, and how that affects our world. If we didn’t have the opportunity to learn from the trials of the past, how would we progress as a society in the future?