If you are not offering transcripts with a synced audio file, then you are losing business to others who do. I'm not talking about video or videographers. We're talking about a clean, simple audio file created by the stenographer or voice writer which accompanies the transcript.
Within the past two years, attorneys have been telling me that they are turning to agencies that offer audio files with their transcripts. I'm sure you're hearing it too, yet so many reporters are not offering up their audio files, shooting themselves in the foot.
I can only come to one conclusion: You don't want the work.
Staying competitive means raising the bar. Today, in 2012, raising the bar means offering either instant rough drafts with the accompanying audio file, which simply makes the audio file searchable; realtime with an accompanying audio file; or delivery of transcripts with synced audio.
Clients are more than willing to pay an additional hourly fee to the reporter for this added service. So demand it.
If business is slowing down for you, this may be the answer. Only the best reporters will be able to fulfill this level of service, but that's where we're at.
If your ability does not fit within this business model, then transcription work will always be available to you. Digital audio reporters work closely with transcriptionists who implement stenography and QWERTY keyboards.
But the best of the best, across the board, are going to be either voice writers or stenographers offering what I've described above. They have the most potential for earning the highest income.
I've embraced this for a couple of years now, so I'm ahead of the game, but for the rest of you, I suggest you begin relaying this information to your crews of reporters. This is the world we are living in today.
I know it's a lot of work, and only the most skilled individuals can do this. So take charge, get training, keep improving, and open your mind to all different types of work.
It's imperative that we all adopt a larger, more realistic vision. Just accept the fact that the industry is changing, and perhaps it's changing for the better.
Everyone has natural gifts. We're not all meant to be realtime writers and we're not all meant to be audio transcriptionists. Some of us fall in between, but every single one of us has a meaningful purpose. Assume your role and keep learning.