Meet the TCG Team – Donna Crossan
Donna is an experienced stenographer with over 20 years of experience. In her spare time, you can find her reading a good mystery novel, drawing, or painting.
We’ve asked Donna to tell us more about herself, and we hope you enjoy her responses below!
1. How did your education in the steno world begin?
When I was a junior in high school, my criminal law teacher brought in a stenographer for Career Day, and I became intrigued with that little machine, and that’s where my journey into steno began.
I actually wanted to become a lawyer. After being a court reporter for 20 years and dealing with attorneys every day, I’m so glad I dodged that bullet! LOL
2. Do you have a funny on-air moment?
Not me per se. But I read something online awhile back where the captioner was captioning a story about a fire and they were talking about evacuating to the street, and the captioner wrote the FIREMAN EJACULATED in the street (instead of EVACUATED)! I can see how that easily could happen and felt terrible for the captioner, thinking, Thank God that wasn’t me!
3.What was the most difficult thing you’ve ever had to caption in your career?
I would have to say budget hearings were the most difficult thing I’ve captioned because they’re talking at a crazy speed and constantly throwing out numbers and names of companies. And there’s a TON of prep involved.
4. What is your favourite part about having captioning as a career?
I love the fact that I have a career where I’m constantly learning something new all the time, and I love writing on the steno machine.
5. If you’re willing to share–have you ever captioned something so heart-wrenching you got emotional on-air and had a hard time continuing? What did you do?
The hardest thing I had to caption was the Orlando Nightclub shootings. It was the deadliest mass shooting in the United States and the nation’s worst terror attack since 9/11.
What was extremely heart-wrenching was listening to the texts that were being read from patrons inside the nightclub who were texting their loved ones, saying goodbye and how they weren’t sure if they would make it out alive.
I literally started sobbing, and my husband quickly ran over to me and saw what I was captioning and told me I needed to pull myself together because I had a job to do. As heartless as that seemed at the time, I’m glad he was there to tell me that and bring me back to reality.
6. What do you see as the advantages of captioning over court reporting, AND what are the disadvantages of captioning over court reporting?
The advantages of captioning over court reporting is the fact there are NO TRANSCRIPTS and there are NO ATTORNEYS to deal with! I personally don’t see any advantages of court reporting over captioning. I would NEVER go back to court reporting. I did my time, 20 years too long.
7. What has been the biggest hurdle so far in your captioning career?
As crazy as this sounds, finding a consistent way to write proper names all the time. Proper names are the bane of my existence, LOL.
Written by Donna Crossan, July 2019.