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Mary Ann Payonk, Realtime Excellence
Washington, D.C.
Independent Freelance Realtime Court Reporter
Recent Activity
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Our court reporting world is plagued by commoditization and has been for years. This post is written in 2018, and while I see some reporting agencies working very hard to differentiate our services from ER transcription, or videographer-only depositions, others waste no time in going straight to ER or video, bypassing their most expensive cost of doing business: YOU. ME. Some reporting agencies do not accept work unless they are assured they will be able to provide a stenographer for their client. That way, they do not have to relegate the client to second-class citizen status by sending second-class coverage.... Continue reading
Posted Nov 18, 2018 at 99point5
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It's very simple. Be better than others. Deliver on your promises. Build your personal brand. Continue reading
Posted Nov 18, 2018 at 99point5
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Over the course of my career, I've been fortunate enough to have great success in the reporting field. Along the way, I've attempted to share my institutional knowledge -- that collective set of facts, concepts, experiences, lessons learned, and know-how that seasoned reporters accumulate over time. Institutional knowledge works to the benefit of all. If you are successful in your chosen path, "sending the elevator down" is your obligation. The purpose of this blog is to make good reporters better, and to share institutional knowledge with the fresh new faces that are the future of our profession. Continue reading
Posted Nov 18, 2018 at 99point5
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I opened the door to the apartment this morning and stepped out to get the newspaper. Alongside the newspaper was a small envelope ... from our newspaper carrier. I glanced down the long hallway and saw everyon'es paper neatly placed in front of their door ... just as they are every morning ... and a small envelope tucked in at the top. The eyes are the windows to the soul. And the soul contains all your hopes and dreams, your happiness ... and our collective sadness as a nation right now. How many people pass through our lives every day,... Continue reading
Posted Dec 17, 2012 at 99point5
I've been following a thread about scoping on one of my favorite message boards. After some long back-and-forth, a scopist posed the question, "Why does it feel like court reporters vs. scopists?'' I'd like to share my thoughts on that. It feels like court reporters versus scopists because the quality of work of many court reporters nowadays can be downright scary, with lick-and-a-prayer effort put into writing it right the first time, with some reporters expecting scopists, let's face it, to do their job for them. Further, the quality of work done by scopists can be equally as scary, with... Continue reading
Posted Oct 30, 2012 at 99point5
I must ask, where is the training for young lawyers today? Seriously. Where - is - the - training? Law schools teach lawyering. I realize that not every law school graduate will set their sights on litigation, but for those who have, are law schools offering training in the real-world skills necessary to take an effective deposition? The art of the pause? Style? Deposition etiquette? Realtime? And finally, common courtesy? Through this blog, I will offer advice to attorneys who wish to become trial attorneys. Names will be changed to protect the innocent, but every teaching moment will come from... Continue reading
Posted Dec 4, 2011 at 99point5
There's a growing phenomenon in the court reporting profession, and it's been coming on for several years. Court reporting agencies have two faces: The image the project to their clients, and the reputation they make with their reporters. In September of this year, Alexander Gallo Holdings LLC filed for bankruptcy protection, hundreds of millions in debt. The image projected to the client might be business as usual, but independent court reporters, videographers, and even other reporting agencies across the country are now standing in a long line of creditors. I have had one account outstanding for reporting services for nearly... Continue reading
Posted Dec 4, 2011 at 99point5
"If you misrepresent what's in this plan, we will call you out." So said President Barack Obama in a speech on health care some years ago. "Know this," he said. "I won't stand by while the special interests use the same old tactics to keep things exactly as they are. If you misrepresent what's in this plan, we will call you out. And I will not -- I WILL NOT -- accept the status quo as a solution. Not this time. Not now." It was important at that time that simply maintaining the existing state of affairs was not acceptable.... Continue reading
Posted Dec 3, 2011 at 99point5
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Mar 16, 2010
A reporter asked the question on the Depoman site: "Are digital court reporters as skilled as steno reporters?" Reading the thread, including the choices given to answer the poll, I saw some things that weren't exactly spelled out: Fear and anger. We're fearful because our work has slacked off. Fearful because insurance companies insist on sharpening the bottom line, even when it means cutting out unnecessary depositions -- a kick in the gut for court reporters. We see transcription of digital recordings taking some of the work we used to do, and that scares the crap out of us. As... Continue reading
Posted Dec 6, 2009 at 99point5