2022-2023 Florida Court Reporters Association President

       As we welcome in every new year, we all set those “New Year’s resolutions,” whether it’s to exercise more, lose weight,  get in shape, run a marathon, get more rest or get more organized… the list goes on.   Before you set out to accomplish those new goals, take a few minutes to reflect on 2022’s challenges, happy times, and how much you’ve learned along the way.   Each year brings about its own challenges, and 2022 sure had its share.  

       There are many aspects of our personal and professional lives we can control, but there are many aspects we cannot.  This lack of ability to control things is one of the biggest stressors and fears we face.  

       In our professional world, a perfect example is the rise in use of different methods of reporting.    We are proud steno and voice writers, as we should be, but we also live in a world where technology is evolving at lightspeed.   It’s a reality that is difficult to accept, so our natural instincts are to fight it, to hope it goes away, to disparage anyone who dare embrace it.    Hey, I get it.  I’m steno to the core, but AI is here and is not going away.  AI cannot, however, top live reporting via steno or voice.   

       Stenographers resist change and are leery of technology.  We always have been.   However, through use of technology, we evolved from manual paper machines and dictating to CAT software, to paperless machines, to audiosync, to e-transcripts, realtime, remote proceedings, and now CAT software that offers AI to aid the stenographer, not to replace them.   I remember when I graduated in 1986, I was told that tape recorders will replace us within ten years.  Well, 36 years later I’m still using a steno machine and state-of-the-art technology to do my job.  Those 22 keys combined with the amazing human brain is untouched by any artificial intelligence.

       As we start this new year, let’s not dwell on the other methods’ existence.   Take the high road and resist the temptation to bash these other methods.  Instead, let us distinguish excellence from adequate,  as it is excellence that we bring to every proceeding.   Competing methods will try to normalize an “adequate” record over an “accurate” record.   We will not allow this to become the new norm.  Let’s focus our energy on educating judges and lawyers on the unmatched superiority of our craft and how an “accurate” verbatim transcript is so very vital to our legal system.   The skills, knowledge of legal rules and common-sense ability of discernment the live verbatim reporter possesses is something AI NEVER will.  

       Our collective New Year’s resolutions for 2023 should be:

  •  Get back to practicing to keep your skills sharp.   Maybe consider joining an online practice group that holds you accountable (and they’re fun.)    

  • Make this the year you join your state association. 

  • Volunteer at career days to promote this wonderful career.

  • Work toward attaining certifications.

  • Update your software. 

  • Learn one new feature of your CAT software each month – help it help you.

  • Consider giving back by mentoring a student or new reporter.

  • Realtime is our future – hone those skills and make the leap.

  • Get back out there on in-person jobs where you can educate and advocate the verbatim method of capturing the record.  

       Most importantly, we need to stop all the negativity surrounding our profession, fellow reporters, lawyers and agencies.  We are our own worst enemy at times.   I get it.  I really do.  So much about reporting today angers me, too, but I love this profession and want to make 2023 a year of positivity and the year stenos and voice reporters continue to soar higher than any other methods. 

       I wish you all a very happy, healthy, productive, positive and prosperous new year!

With warm regards,

Laura J. Landerman, RDR, CRR, FPR-C

 FCRA President

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