LET’S PLAY BALL!
BY VICKI McCONNELL
Iarrived in Reno for the 2003
Annual Convention and Exposition
like a bright-eyed rookie
attending my first major-league
camp. I was eagerly looking forward to
manning the NCRA Scopist Booth and
the Internet Scoping School booth and
meeting “Guardians of the Record”
from all over our great nation.
I was not disappointed. Word of
mouth spreads quickly when you’re giving
free hand massages and paraffin dips
at the ISS “Be Stress-Free — Hire a
Scopist!” booth. My palms and fingers
began to wrinkle from all that lotion.
But how interesting it was to speak with
so many different reporters with just as
many different needs.
When I asked reporters if they used
scopists, the replies were as varied as the
faces looking back at me:
• “I prefer to do my own editing. I
don’t want someone else to see my
notes.” Puh-leese! Ladies and gentlemen,
we are our own worst critics. We
take pride in our work, and we want to
be perfect all the time. But I would think
that after a while, it would make me a
better writer knowing someone else
would be looking over my shoulder. As
professional scopists, we’re there to help
you, free you up so you can go out and
write rather than stay in and edit, so you
can make more money and save those
precious hands for reporting. Take a step
out of that comfort zone, and you’ll
wonder why you didn’t do it sooner.
• “I used a scopist once and ended
up redoing her work.” That’s unfortunate,
but just as there are good and bad
car mechanics, teachers, doctors, and
court reporters, there are good and bad
scopists. I once overheard someone say
that finding a good scopist match is
much like finding a good boyfriend or
girlfriend. Building that relationship
takes time and communication — and
the first person you try may not be a fit
for you. But if you have patience and
persistence, you may end up with the
perfect teammate who will meet your
• “Absolutely! I don’t know what I’d
do without my scopist!” That happy
remark needs no further comment.
By the end of my rookie-camp convention,
I had made many contacts while
staffing the scopists’ booths, attending
When I asked reporters if
they used scopists, the
replies were as varied as
the faces looking back at
seminars, and, of course, partying
at the social events. I see much
success in the future for reporters
and scopists who find each other
and form that world champion,
home-run-hitting, profitable team.
IN A DIFFERENT LIGHT
BY SUSIE VAN NGUYEN
Scopist: One who edits
transcripts for court reporters.
As the plane touched
down on the runway at Reno, I played a
guessing game with myself to
figure out who else on the
plane was going to the Convention.
Before I entered the scoping profession
about a year ago, I really had no contact
with court reporters and the court
reporting world, except some brief
glimpses through my best friend, who
is a court reporter, and from the few
depositions that were held in the
law firm where I was working.
About a year ago, I was looking for a
new profession that would allow me to
work from home and actually live with
my new husband, an officer in the Navy.
We had been married for less than a year,
and we had spent most of that time apart
because of the Navy and my own job.
My court reporter friend suggested that I
try scoping. My educational background
and varied work experience had apparently
laid a great foundation for a profession
I knew nothing about.
I started scoping and found that I
really enjoyed it. As my skills and
knowledge of scoping grew through
the help of my friend and the training course I
was taking, I began learning more about
the court reporting world, including a
new vocabulary of court reporting
terms, as well as the knowledge of what
it takes to get a transcript started and
finished. It’s a lot of hard work!
One day, my friend suggested that we
go to the Convention in Reno together.
It would be a chance for me to learn
more about the court reporting profession
and meet other reporters, as well as
fellow scopists. I went, not knowing
what to expect. What I found was a
group of dedicated professionals who
worked hard and liked to enjoy their
down time (which, of course, could be
substantially increased with the use of a
scopist). Getting to meet all of these
reporters helped me to realize what I
knew all along: that I had made the correct
career change. And in talking with
hundreds of different court reporters,
my perception of what I do as a scopist
also changed. Going to the Convention
helped me gain a new perspective on the
court reporting field and my profession.
I hope the Convention next year will be
just as enlightening.
Scopist: One who does editing and is a
friend, confidante, sounding board,
cheerleader, supporter, etc., of a court reporter.
Vicki McConnell is a scopist from Arlington,
Texas, and can be reached at vmcconnell@
msn.com. Susie Van Nguyen is a scopist from
Seattle, Wash., and can be reached at hvs