The 2014 Court Reporting Championship took place recently In San Francisco, California where nearly 40 of the country’s most skilled and experienced stenographers competed for the coveted industry crown.
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One of the competitors, Mark Kislingbury, has been a staple of the competition for years now and is considered by many in the national court reporting community as the “Michael Jordan” of stenographers. With a confirmed rate of transcription of 360 words per minute, Kislingbury boasts the title of ‘World’s Fastest Stenographer. When asked how he manages to maintain such a consistently rapid pace for typing, he said the key is to minimize the number of keystrokes by using a wide range of abbreviations and word shortcuts, which he teaches as part of the curriculum at his court reporting academy.
But Kislingbury was only part of the story at this year’s championship event. Organized and hosted by the National Court Reporters Association, the event itself is a source of intrigue and pride for those in the court reporting and professional stenography industries.
The championship has been held annually for over a century, having its roots firmly planted in the days long ago when court reporters relied on noting more than a pen and paper to perform and master their craft.
The event began as a means to offer a greater degree of recognition of and appreciation for the court reporters of the day by allowing them to compete against one another. While it may seem like a somewhat silly notion to compete in court reporting, those who participate take the competition seriously.
The rules are extremely rigid, with margins of victory being determined by factors as seemingly insignificant as the inclusion of a hyphen or a comma.
This year’s crown went to Jo Ann Bryce, a 59-year-old court reporter from San Francisco who next year will be celebrating her 40th year in the profession.