When saw an ad online for, “Washington DC-based media company looking for court reporters to attend, record, and take notes of Congressional hearings,” we had confirmation that politics and court reporting were a good match. It’s positive for the industry which moves us beyond the courtroom and proves value to people beyond lawyers and judges. Not that we don’t feel appreciated by our legal teams, but with technology being brought to the court system, it’s questionable as to what our role is moving forward.
Will technology replace court reporters?
The real answer is that we don’t know. The implementation of systems like For the Record (FTR) leaves some of us shaking our heads wondering the long-term impact and questioning the quality of those recordings and transcripts. While we have a voice, it’s often not left up to court reporters to decide when a municipality implements technology versus leaving reporters in place. Often it’s simply a question of the cost of FTR and the salary and benefits paid to courtroom reporters.
The reality is that while technology may not completely replace reporters today, it’s heading that way in the not so distant future. It’s okay when we have other opportunities available.
Where can you find court reporters?
In addition to a need for reporters to record and transcribe political events, there’s a need for real-time reporters who can transcribe in an instant and with accuracy in politics, business, and community events. If you’re looking for a growing field, court reporting has a growing number of opportunities that’s for certain!
The challenge for the industry is to have enough of a supply of reporters to meet a growing demand. In Florida, there are four court reporting programs but only three are currently accepting new students. (Source) There’s an estimated need for about 900 reporters in the next year which is about the number we have trained currently but the need is growing annually. Without enough programs nationwide, there’s likely going to be a court reporter shortage.
What’s the impact of a court reporter shortage?
The shortage means that as an industry we’re not able to serve a growing demand for our skills and experience. Not only that but we’d like to see an influx of new reporters. They may not be ready for the speed and accuracy of real-time reporting needs in politics, entertainment, and professional sports, leaving a gap. The good news for those with experience is that the earning potential increases as the demand grows in wake of a shortage.
Whether or not you choose to work outside the legal field, there are opportunities for court reporters with legal teams, and in politics, business, and more. Contact us today to learn more about how we serve our clients and how you can become a court reporter!