Court reporter and CART captioner Jo Ann Betler, FAPR, RDR, CRR, CPE, CLVS, from West Virginia, tells us how she found stenography, and shares some insightful pieces of advice from her years of experience. Keep up the great work, Jo Ann! We’re proud to serve you.
How long have you been a court reporter or captioner? I have been a court reporter since graduation in 1982. Doing the math – 39 years. Hard to believe – it seems like yesterday.
What led you to a career in stenography? I enjoyed typing and shorthand in high school. While growing up my mother was a legal secretary and typist for court reporters. I often went with her to pick up dictation (reel-to-reel tapes and then later cassette tapes) and to turn in her typed pages. I was intrigued and encouraged by both her and the reporters she worked for. After going to college for a couple years and not really settling on what I wanted to pursue, I started court reporting school. I finally found what I liked and wanted to do!
What is the most rewarding part of your career? There are so many things that I find rewarding in my career that it’s hard to pick just one. I enjoy the challenge, the satisfaction of actually writing on the machine, the education that I gain from the witnesses and attorneys. On days when I am providing CART, knowing that I am the one that assists that person to be able to actually attend the class and understand what is going on is a wonderful feeling.
What advice would you give a prospective student looking to enter the profession? Be ready to put the time in to practice and learn your software and machine. Try to find a mentor or another court reporter or captioner to talk with and shadow.
What was the best job you’ve ever taken or show you’ve captioned? That’s a really hard question to answer. There are many memorable trials that have gone on to make new law. There are some that the facts of the case were just memorable. Of course there also those that you don’t remember.
What was the most important thing you learned in 2020? Be adaptive. Don’t be afraid to branch out and learn new things like Zoom.
What is the best show you watched on Netflix in 2020? Honestly, I don’t watch Netflix. I do have DirecTV and do tend to watch The Big Bang.
Do you have pets? Oh, yes, I do!! I have 10 dogs, 12 cats, 1 horse, and lots of ducks and chickens. All of the dogs and cats have been either dropped off or rescued from a situation. It’s never dull or quiet at my house.