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High-tech skills for a successful career

Reporters, and students learning to become reporters, must be able to meet deadlines, work well under pressure and concentrate for long periods of time. The most essential skill taught to reporting students is machine shorthand. Once a student has mastered the basics of machine shorthand, he or she will concentrate on building speed and accuracy.


Some of the coursework students typically study includes civil and criminal law, grammar, stenographic theory, legal and business terminology, anatomy, medical and forensic terminology, computer technology, business management and judicial procedures.

Three 5-minute timings must be passed in each of the following categories with a minimum of 95 percent accuracy:

  • Two-voice testimony @ 225 wpm
  • Jury charge @ 200 wpm
  • Literary @ 180 wpm
  • Judicial Reporting Internship must be taken within 18 months of graduation.

Reporters use computers and a specialized machine called a stenotype to do their job. The stenotype enables reporters to write words by their sound rather than how they are spelled letter by letter. This allows them to write much faster than they can on a standard computer keyboard. A technology called computer-aided transcription, CAT, electronically links the stenotype to a computer, which translates the reporter's notes into English text that can be researched, corrected, telecommunicated, stored on CD-ROM or other computer media, integrated with an audio or video file- or simply printed out in a conventional or condensed-format transcript. CAT makes the work of preparing a transcript easier and faster. More important, the computer-based transcript is a powerful tool for the attorneys and an aid to the judge. They can search the transcript for reference to specific names or words that come up during the proceeding.

Students are required to rent a stenograph machine and laptop computer through the rental program available at LTC.