Massachusetts Moves Towards Digital Reporting

Massachusetts Moves Towards Digital Reporting

In a world so focused on cutting costs and implementing different strategies to save a quick buck, technology is becoming the ever-popular money saver, leaving many court reporters without work. A recent story from shows this exact scenario unfolding in Springfield, Massachusetts.

The long history of having human court reporters in this region may be ending soon. The plan is for them to be replaced by digital technology. The Trial Court in Massachusetts is currently in the process of implementing a new digital recording system in over 450 courtrooms, costing about $5million for equipment and installation. The plan is sure to have quick return on investment, but will leave many reporters without a job in the near future.

It was reported that as many as 40 reporters wait patiently as the future of their jobs is not guaranteed until after June. These 40 reporters who work for the state Trial Court average above 40 years in age, have plenty of experience, and are now struggling to make ends meet while the true fate of their positions lie in the balance.

Laura Gentile, Hampden Superior Court clerk, said she has great concerns the digital system may be implemented too quickly. She said “Assistant clerks who sit in trials are keepers of the record, not makers of the record like court reporters. The clerks have their own jobs to do in the courtroom and should not be expected to constantly monitor an audio recording system.”

Many others in the area are beginning to speak up, saying things like, “You can’t really trust technology over seasoned court reporters” and “I think it will make it more complicated in court.”

As more and more citizens begin to speak up, many of us begin to speculate whether the State of Massachusetts has made the right call on the installation of these systems. At this point, the installation has already begun and it appears that all we can do is wait and see how this all plays out in June.

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