LCC Court Reporting graduate places at international competition
Lenoir Community College graduate and court reporter Tori Pittman of Wake Forest recently won a fourth gold medal at Intersteno, the International Federation for Information and Communication Processing.
Participants come from around the world to participate in competitions including word processing, text production, summary report, speech capture (speed) and realtime speech capture. Intersteno holds Congresses every two years and allows information processing professionals the opportunity to network and to learn about new technologies and practices from across the globe.
Her passion for the profession has opened doors to travel the world doing what she loves and she would tell you “I love what I do every single day.”
Pittman received her Court Reporting degree from LCC in 1999 despite health challenges. “I was going through chemo and radiation and had taken two extra semesters to finish the speed classes for the court reporting program,” she said. “I finished my last radiation (treatment) on the day I passed my last speed test. That was a good day – July 23, 1999.”
She said she actually “fell into court reporting” as a career. “I answered an ad in 1990 for an office manager for a freelance reporting agency in Raleigh. I then determined I needed to become a court reporter,” she said. “I spent two years as the office manager and then became a freelance scopist, which is an editor for court reporters.
“Then, in 1996, right after Hurricane Fran, I started the program at LCC and continued my scoping at the same time,” Pittman said. “I moved from Raleigh to Kinston so I didn’t have to spend four hours a day on the road. That was a tough time in my marriage, but my husband and I both agreed it was a good decision. We have been married for 30 years as of this year!”
Nancy Glynn Braswell was the instructor at that time. “We were a NCRA (National Court Reporting Association) approved program at the time and that was a big deal,” she said. “Nancy is still my mentor and friend.
Pittman grew up in upstate New York, Canajoharie, and came to North Carolina at attend the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill where she earned her bachelor’s degree in history.
While she has been in the court reporting business since 1992, she started her current business as The Amanuensis, which means scribe, in 2011. “Amanuensis was a vocabulary word that was part of an LCC court reporting quiz that I just knew I had to use.”
Looking at the changes in the industry since Pittman started, she said that realtime technology has really blossomed. “The demand for our services is felt not just in the judicial realm (courtrooms and deposition suites) but also in education facilities, civic functions, corporate venues, and television for the captioning services that we as stenographers can provide to the hard-of-hearing community.
“The ability to work remotely has really opened up a lot of avenues for people to stay at home and still provide realtime services across the country and the world,” she said. “I performed courtroom reporting from Wake Forest, where I live, to a courtroom in rural Colorado. Amazing! A friend of mine wrote the captions at the Coachella music festival. There are no limits if you can do realtime translation.”
Pittman said if anyone is interested in this profession, some of the things she thinks help her and her colleagues perform well are a keen interest in world events, a thirst for knowledge of any kind as you never know what you’re going to hear, good listening skills, the ability to be flexible with your schedule, great hand-eye-ear coordination, some aptitude for working with technology, a good grasp of the English language and grammar and a great, positive personality. She said if you have anyone who is bilingual., there is a need for Spanish–speaking captioners.
“This is a profession that’s for a self-motivator and someone who is okay working by themselves. We generally don’t see another court reporter unless we are at a professional meeting, but when we are there, it’s like old home week and we really do socialize.
“It’s also important for anyone who works in this profession to be highly ethical and to be aware that we are customer service driven and our utmost duty is to the record so we can’t post much of anything on social media about what we’re actually doing,” she said. “It’s a profession that has taken me to places I’d never have imaged – the Sugar Bowl, the International Peace Palace, Hong Kong, Panama, France, Italy, Germany, Belgium, and all across the United States. If you have a thirst for travel, you can write your own ticket if you reach the highest echelon of our profession.”