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Roving Reporter in Hollywood Q1


Guardians of the Record:  Hollywood-style

Many of Hollywood’s biggest stars gathered at the prestigious 96th Annual Academy Awards recently. With the rolling out of a 900-foot-long, red carpet swept down Hollywood Boulevard, they arrived with flashing smiles before a battery of clamoring tuxedo-clad photographers. Behind-the-scenes was a court reporting team reporting, scoping, and proofing winners’ interviews in real-time as fast-talking winners expressed their gratitude to supporters walking on and off the stage in front of a worldwide TV audience totaling hundreds of millions. 
The pace is quick. Names often vary in spelling, and accents are from all over the world.   
A sprawling press room where court reporters work alongside Oscar librarians answering the media’s most random questions – from the history of each category to the current and future projects each nominee is working on.




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No easy task for this court reporting team. Unlike depositions, a court reporter cannot always see the questioner – just the star-studded responder. There is no opportunity to interrupt, request a slowdown, or even ask for spellings or word repeats.
Yet every year the court reporters complete the transcriptions (ready for archive) by the end of the evening. Not bad for a most prestigious and exciting awards show.
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A world of unlimited possibilities awaits aspiring court reporters, says Tera Walker, who introduced court reporting to Hollywood award shows in the mid-nineties.

“When I was in school, I just happened to be at the Grammy’s backstage,” she explains. “I was a 225 words-per-minute student and said what you ‘guys’ need is court reporters.”

What started with a proposal to multiple award shows, resulted in a 13-member court reporting team writing the Academy Awards, also known as the Oscars, for twenty-six straight years. That team consists of an all-star cast of Court Reporters, Scopists, and student assistants worthy of their own “walk of fame...”

“The Oscars really opens students’ eyes. I want students to see that there are so many things you can do with court reporting. Just think. How many students can add the Oscars to their resume?” muses Tera. “I really want kids to stay in the profession.”

Erika Sjoquist, a lead reporter on the Oscars team for 19 years, does as well. A mentor, she will find students for the Oscars team and assist them along their court reporting journey. Erika is an advocator for the profession and an active member of the NCRA (National Court Reporters Association).

Tera notes that Erika is integral to the profession as is Huseby’s very own Linda Nelson. Linda not only opened her office for the team during the pandemic but set it up with everything needed to write the Oscars remotely.

It was a time of masking, social distancing, and restricted travel. That meant team members from Seattle, New York, North Carolina, Arizona, and Nevada could not fly in and that a new group needed assembling. Like Erika, Linda was also instrumental in lining up the help they needed.

“There’s no limitations to what court reporting can do,” concludes Tera, who adds that writing the Oscars led to writing the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards and the ABC International Press Tour, too.   Here are scenes.

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Shown left: Court Reporters in San Francisco, California (also referred to as the “City by the Bay”) shined “halfway to the stars” as they were celebrated by Huseby’s West Coast Team.