Overview

Court reporters are responsible for making a verbatim record of all kinds of hearings. The record is used primarily for discovery in preparation for trial, or for the purpose of an appeal to a higher court after trial. The record may be produced in realtime and displayed on monitors at the hearing, or as a hard copy printed later.

An explanation at an open house of the income of reporters takes 15 to 20 minutes. However, the income of official and freelance reporters in Western New York ranges from about $30,000 to $130,000. In some cities, freelance reporters can make significantly more, but the national average for all officials and freelance is around $64,000. The New York State Department of Labor statistics as of 2008 put the median income for court reporters in the state at $72,640.

The limited number of closed captioning positions with national companies range from $50,000 to $100,000; local captioning is much lower. CART services are as often as not provided at little or no charge.

The U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that job opportunities will increase by 25% from 2008 through 2016, a growth rate higher than the average for all fields.

Official Official reporters are found in a number of different courts. Most officials are employed by the Office of Court Administration, in salary grades ranging from 15 to 28. Officials are normally assigned to one judge, but some may “float” between judges and/or courts. Some officials share an item, that is, they share the work week with another reporter. This may be by working alternate weeks or alternate days of the week.
Freelance

New reporters in freelance normally start with a freelance firm. The firms provide the office space, the clients and the support staff. They also supply most of the equipment, including CAT (computer aided transcription) systems. Firms range in size from as few as two or three reporters to, in some large cities, a hundred or more. A firm is likely to want a new reporter to be available on a full-time basis; experienced reporters usually have very flexible schedules. There are also independent reporters, most of whom work out of their home.

Freelance reporters most often take legal depositions, but they do cover other areas, including Public Service Commission hearings, town courts, zoning hearings, arbitrations, and Internet-based hearings and conferences.

Captioning







CART

This is the process which provides realtime text captioning of television programs. The reporter writes from the audio, and that text output is encoded in the broadcast signal by the TV station. Television broadcasts are local and national, and the captioning coverage tends to be provided in the same way: locally either by individuals or freelance reporting agencies, nationally by closed captioning companies. Captioning is often done remotely, the reporter being in a different location from the program origin, in some cases working from home.

CART is similar to the verbatim realtime translation of legal proceedings, but is a service primarily for the hearing impaired, usually on a one-on-one basis. There is very little if any funding for CART in Western New York. Therefore, it is not currently a career opportunity in this area.