Court clerks participate in Oral History Project

Official clerks for the North Carolina Judicial Branch participated in a charitable project during their annual educational conference held in Concord last week, using their unique talents and skills to compile oral histories.

“My grandparents have spent a lot of time compiling their stories and making sure all of their grandchildren get copies so family histories aren’t lost, but a lot of people don’t have the time or resources to do that,” Court Reporting Manager David Jester said: “So we, as court clerks, can apply our unique skills to capture a person’s oral history and instantly create a transcript that they can send home and share with their family and friends.”

Official Court Clerks are certified professionals who typically work in higher courts, capturing the verbatim record of court proceedings using either stenographic machine or speech-writing technology. While a typed transcript of these records can be produced upon request, nearly half of North Carolina court clerks are capable of “real-time reporting,” meaning they can create the transcript live during the court hearing.

“We know how important our work is,” Jester said, “but it’s been wonderful to be able to use our skills and abilities in a different way to help more people preserve their stories.”

During their conference, the court reporters invited local seniors to interview about their life experiences, while real-time court reporters recorded every word.

“Participating in the Oral History Project was an honor and an experience I would happily participate in again,” said Ranae McDermott, a clerk in District 5 (District of Neu-Hanover). “Using court reporting skills to capture the speaker’s life experiences and precious memories in real time reflects the uniqueness and nuances of speech patterns and brings to life the stories of this wonderful individual who will live on forever in this project.”

Learn more about North Carolina court coverage by listening to our All Things Judicial podcast episode on court coverage that was recorded earlier this year.

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