As court reporters we handle cases that are confidential making many people assume social media has no place in our professional lives. Pardon the pun but that’s simply not the case. Like any professional, we need to be strategic in how we use sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to be sure we’re protecting confidentialities while at the same time telling our story and sharing industry news.
It is estimated that by 2018 there will be a nationwide shortage of more than 5,000 court reporters [Source] due in part to the retirement of reporters but also to the lack of new people entering the field. In Nevada, we’re set to be short at least 120 reporters.
While this hasn’t hit populated areas, there are rural counties across the nation that are already experiencing a shortage. The result? Modifications to the law of the type of cases where a live reporter is required and a greater need for travelling freelance reporters.
Social media is important to court reporting because it brings attention to the shortage as well to the benefits of court reporting. Benefits include entering a profession without carrying large student loan debt, earning potential in the six figures, and lifelong learning. The more we can tell people about us, the higher the chances we attract them to our field.
The average age of reporters is 53 years old which is about ten years more than the average for other American workers. That means that we’re retiring sooner than in other industries and that we have experience to share. Blogging and LinkedIn publishing are opportunities for us to share our experiences, offer advice, and get people interested in what we do.
Not only that but we can connect with other reporters, professionals, and prospective clients in Facebook and LinkedIn groups. We’re often asked questions like these and offer our insight as experienced reporters:
There is so much we can all offer to each other and social media is a great way to do that without compromising our clients and cases. The more we can do now, the less likelihood that shortage will happen.