JCR submissions contact

Jacqueline Schmdit
Email: jschmidt@ncra.org

JCR Writers Guidelines

General guidelines

The JCR is always looking for well-researched, well-reasoned articles on topics touching on the various aspects of the profession. Articles may be based on the personal experience of the author or may involve research into a topic. Articles that offer a personal opinion or a certain perspective on a topic may be submitted for the “Viewpoint” or “Food for Thought” sections of the magazine.

Articles may be submitted by mail or by e-mail. Soft copy is preferred.

The JCR welcomes articles from many perspectives. The opinions expressed in articles are those of the author unless they are specifically identified as NCRA policy. The JCR Editor may edit submissions for space, clarity, appropriateness, and style in accordance with generally accepted editing principles. The JCR reserves the right to reject material that is inappropriate or to avoid duplication with other submissions.

If the JCR agrees to publish an article, the author will need to release some rights to the publisher.


Manuscript preparation guide

Editorial objectives

  1. To inform our readers about the reporting profession. Even though we have a 10-week turnaround time from copy deadline to delivery of the magazine, you'll often learn of something for the first time through the JCR. The magazine serves as a meeting point where members of our industry can discuss, debate, or simply pass along information about court reporting.
  2. To inform our readers about NCRA. The leaders of NCRA discuss Association projects and goals in our magazine. At the same time, with the full support of our publisher, the Association, JCR publishes many diverse articles, reports, and opinions about reporting and the Association's work in order to encourage new ideas and wide Member participation.
  3. To educate. If you're reading our articles, you're getting quite a lot of continuing education. We seek, for example, to instill in our readers a love of and respect for words and how to write, spell, and use them.
  4. To foster professionalism and high standards of ethics among our members.
  5. To guide, help, and encourage reporting students and beginning reporters. 
  6. To make us better acquainted with each other. 
  7. To remind us of our heritage. Our profession is an old and honorable one, and as we dip into the archives we frequently discover that the problems we face today also beset the reporters of yesteryear. We might even find some solutions there. 
  8. To entertain. Court reporters (and reporting students) are among the hardest-working people in today's world. If a cartoon, a humorous article, an amusing story, a snippet of testimony from a case, or a puzzle can add a bit of relaxation to our high-pressure lives, we're all for it. 
  9.  To maintain the professionalism required of a national professional journal.


Writing style

The JCR imposes no rigid criteria about writing style. We do generally prefer informal, crisp, active-voice writing. We encourage writers to avoid bureaucratic jargon (such as "impact" as a verb, and tired phrases such as "viable alternative").

Our overall style guide is the Associated Press Stylebook and Libel Manual, Sixth Trade Edition (Addison-Wesley Publishing Co., Inc.). Other good writing references include:

American Usage and Style, The Consensus, Roy H. Copperud. Van Nostrand Reinhold Co.

The Careful Writer, Theodore M. Bernstein. Atheneum.

The Chicago Manual of Style, 14th Ed., University of Chicago Press, Chicago.

The Elements of Style, William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White. Macmillan Publishing Co.

On Writing Well, William Zinsser.

One Word, Two Words, Hyphenated? Mary Louise Gilman. National Court Reporters Association.


Manuscript preparation


We prefer ASCII or Word format for submissions which can be emailed to jschmidt@ncra.org, but please let us know to expect it.

People often ask how long an article should be; however, length should not be goal. If you can tell the story in 200 words, that may be right for that story. Other stories may need 1,000 words or more to include the necessary materials on the subject. Just tell the story, and we will edit as needs determine. We contact writers regarding questions or major changes.


We can use various clear, well-focused photographs. Hi-res digital photos, including many taken with phone cameras, are usually sufficient for printing purposes, although they may run smaller in the magazine. We need to know the names of people pictured. If you are sending physical rather than digital photos, send them to us protected by cardboard and write "Photos -- Do Not Bend" on the outside of your package.


Writing for CEUs

NCRA members can receive continuing-education credit for writing certain articles that are published in the JCR. These are the two requirements:

  1. The article must be primarily based on the author's research rather than his or her opinion or personal experiences.
  2. You must submit a thorough outline detailing the article you plan to write.

If you don't submit an outline to the editor, you will not receive CEUs. If the JCR accepts your completed article for publication, you'll receive 0.3 CEUs.


Editing style

The following alphabetical list presents some of our editing style preferences.

all caps: When referring to the names of governmental agencies (such as the FBI) and the like, we follow the modern trend of eliminating periods when possible.

area codes: We use hyphens to separate all elements of a telephone number: 703-556-6272. We do not use in editorial matter the prefix 1 that is required in some localities to dial long distance.

Association: Capitalized only when referring to NCRA. This is done mainly to differentiate NCRA easily from other associations.

Board of Directors: Capitalized only when referring to the NCRA Board. See discussion under "President."

capitalization: Our general rule is to avoid unnecessary capitalization, as suggested by the standard authorities. The major exceptions to this policy are described under "Association" and "President."

captioner: Preferred over “captionist.”

CAT: All caps, no periods, when referring to computer-aided transcription.

CART: All caps, no periods, when referring to communication access realtime translation.

centuries: We use figures and lowercase the word "century" (i.e., "18th-century artwork").

CIC: All caps, no periods. See "computer-integrated courtroom."

CMRS, CLVS, RPR, RMR, RDR, CRR, CBC, CCP: Partly to further the attainment of the Association's certificates, we use titles in bios or other places where they seem appropriate. To conserve space, we generally avoid these titles in photo captions.

Note that these alphabetical designations contain no periods and that when a reporter holds an RPR, RMR, and/or RDR, we use only the highest designation. The CRR may be used in conjunction with whatever other certification the reporter holds.

chief examiner: Lowercased. Refers to a position in NCRA's testing procedures.

computer-aided transcription: Hyphenated as shown, and our first choice as the meaning of the acronym "CAT."

computer-integrated courtroom: Lowercased and hyphenated as shown.

copyright: See discussion under "vendors."

court reporter, court reporting: Lowercased.

convention: Lowercased, except when referring to the NCRA Annual Convention & Exposition.

CSR: No periods. This is generally not used as a title in articles unless it is pertinent to the article.

database: One word. See discussion under "freelance."

dep, depo, EBT: We generally avoid these abbreviations for the terms "deposition" or "Examination Before Trial," as all three abbreviations are used by varying segments of our readership. In general, we refer to such a document or procedure as a deposition, as this is its most common title.

director: Lowercased, unless it refers to a Director of NCRA or immediately precedes the person's name (i.e., Director Smith).

executive director: Lowercased, unless it refers to the Executive Director of NCRA or, as is the case with all such titles, it immediately precedes the person's name (i.e., Executive Director Smith).

freelance, freelancer, freelancing: Our style is to make a few common industry terms one word, though most or all dictionaries would disagree. This is due to the common pairing of these words in everyday usage among court reporters. This is the oldest example in the short list.

Immediate Past President: Note there is no hyphen. See discussion under "President."

italics: Our general style is to avoid italicizing words for emphasis. If doing so seems to legitimately add something to the communication that cannot be achieved with the words alone or by recasting those words, we will consider an exception to this style.

notereader, notereading: One word. See discussion under "freelance."

numbers: We spell out only numbers one through nine. The rest are represented with figures, unless they occur at the beginning of a sentence.

President: Capped only when referring to the President of the U.S.A. or NCRA. This form is followed for all Officers and Directors of NCRA. Therefore, the following offices of NCRA are capped even if they don't precede the person's name: President, Immediate Past President, President-Elect, Vice President, Secretary-Treasurer, Librarian-Historian, Director, and Executive Director.

President-Elect: Note the hyphen. See the discussion under "President."

readback: One word. See discussion under "freelance."

realtime: One word. See discussion under "freelance."

scopist: Preferred to "scoper," "text editor," or "text processor."

seminars: Lowercased, even when referring to the NCRA seminars.

states of the United States: We use the state abbreviations listed in the Associated Press Stylebook and Libel Manual.

The word "state" is lowercased in the following example, unless the sentence refers to the corporate body: "The state of Ohio was the site of …." The same holds true for "city," "county" and so on.

trademark: See discussion under "vendors."

vendors: Company and product names are, whenever possible, spelled in the custom of the company involved. Therefore, our editorial references to CAT vendors and products usually retain the unusual capitalization prevalent in that field.

We attempt to capitalize generic trade names that have not entered the common parlance (i.e., "a Xerox copy"). Hence, we capitalize the reference to a Stenograph machine, but use lowercase when speaking of the stenotype or stenography.

words per minute: Preferred to "words a minute"; abbreviate as "wpm."



Letters to the Editor

The "Letters to the Editor" section of the magazine is meant to facilitate free and civil debate among the readers of the magazine. If you have comments you would like to make about topics in these pages or issues you feel are important to the community of members, please send your Letter to the Editor to JCR Editor Jacqueline Schmidt, NCRA, 12355 Sunrise Valley Drive, Suite 610, Reston, Virginia 20191 or by e-mail to jschmidt@ncrahq.org.

We will strive to publish as many letters as possible in the pages of the JCR itself. Should we receive more letters than there is space to publish within the pages of the magazine, a representative sample of comments received will appear in print and a fuller presentation will be published online. (Space available in the printed version of the JCR for letters is limited not only by the number of letters received but also by the volume of other materials in the remainder of the magazine.)

There may be occasions when we are unable to publish a letter to the editor or must insist that the author edit its content, but this is never a matter that we take lightly. We encourage vigorous debate and the presentation of a diversity of points of view but cannot permit the publication of materials that create exposure to potential legal liability for the author, NCRA and/or the JCR. Items that may trigger increased scrutiny include (but are not limited to) discussion of rates, calling for boycotts, making libelous statements, and other  maters prohibited under antitrust, libel, or other governing laws. In these cases, there may be a need to restructure a letter, and the editor would be happy to give guidance on how to do so.

Statements of fact and opinion contained in letters to the editor (in print or online) and within the editorial content of the magazine are and will remain solely the responsibility of the author and do not necessarily express the opinion or endorsement of NCRA or anyone connected with NCRA.


Earning CEUs for articles

In some cases, you may earn continuing education units for writing an article that is published in the JCR. To earn CEUs, there are two requirements:

  1. The article must be primarily based on the author's research rather than his or her opinions or personal experiences.
  2. You must submit a thorough outline detailing the article you plan to write.

If you do not complete these two steps, you will not be eligible to receive CEUs.

(You can also receive CEUs if you write a test to go along with your article or based on another article.)

Opinion pieces, such as for “Viewpoint” or “Food for Thought” and letters to the editor may not be submitted for CEUs.