The North Carolina Judicial Branch's official court reporters participated in a community service project during their annual educational conference which was held in Concord last week by using their unique talents and skills to compile oral histories.
“My grandparents spent a great deal of time compiling their histories and making sure all of their grandchildren received copies so that family stories will not be lost, but many people don’t have the time or resources to do that," said Court Reporting Manager David Jester. "So we, as court reporters, can apply our unique skills to capture a person’s oral history and produce a transcript right then and there to send home with them to share with their family and friends.”
Official court reporters are certified professionals who typically work in superior court and capture the word-for-word record of court proceedings using either a stenographic machine or voice-writing technology. While a typed transcript from these records can be prepared upon request, nearly half of North Carolina's court reporters are capable of “real-time reporting,” which means they can produce the transcript live as court proceedings are happening.
“We know how crucial the work we do is,” said Jester, “but it was wonderful to apply our skills and abilities in a different way to help more people preserve their stories.”
During their conference, the court reporters invited local senior citizens to be interviewed about their life experiences while real-time court reporters captured every word.
“Participating in the oral histories project was an honor and an experience I would love to engage in again,” said Ranae McDermott, a resident official court reporter in Judicial District 5 (New Hanover County). ”Using court reporting skills to capture the speaker’s life experiences and valuable memories in a real-time setting reflects the uniqueness and nuances of speech patterns and brings to life the stories of this wonderful individual, which will live forever in this project.”
Learn more about court reporting in North Carolina by listening to our All Things Judicial podcast episode on court reporting that was recorded earlier this year.