Upcoming Events

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First Friday Lunch (Lebanese in Rockville, MD)

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Writing for Small, Writing for Touch

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InfoDevDC Meetup — Getting Organized: Practical Guidelines for a Scalable Project Architecture

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ProductCamp DC Fall 2014

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Join the STC IDL SIG for “Webinar School” on October 13, 2014

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Design for Action 2014

STC WDCB Chapter Admin Council Meeting

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Eye Tracking in UX Design Conference

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User Focus 2014

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Wearables + Things 2014

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Wearables + Things 2014

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Wearables + Things 2014

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WritersUA East–The Conference for Software User Assistance

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WritersUA East–The Conference for Software User Assistance

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WritersUA East–The Conference for Software User Assistance

Speed Mentoring and Portfolio Review

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+ Export Listed Events

Michelle Chin shows us how to make a professional portfolio

At the #UserFocus2014 conference on October 17th, Michelle Chin made a presentation about building a professional portfolio that all technical communicators should see.

Highlights from this presentation include
• Let it go
• Inventory your work
• Show the process
• Create a project
• Design it well
• Tell a story
• Be unique
• Less is more

Have a portfolio to share? Come to Speed Mentoring and Portfolio Review on October 29th, show us your work, and get feedback from your fellow communicators.

Many thanks to our friends at The Washington DC Chapter of the User Experience Professionals Association for bringing such a great conference to the DC area and for sharing Michelle and her wisdom with us.

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First Friday Lunch (Mexican in Tysons)

Some of the most delicious Mexican food in Virginia can be found at La Sandia in Tysons, so that’s where we’re heading for our First Friday Lunch in November. If you don’t work nearby, you might consider taking Metro’s new Silver Line to the Tysons Corner station and walking to the mall from there.


Remember that even though a ticket here on EventBrite is free, each person pays for their own meal. Come on out for casual conversation and good food and meet some new techcomm friends.

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First Friday Lunch (Good Stuff in Crystal City)

We can’t get enough of this place. Delicious and fun food, pay at the cashier, convenient seating, near a Metro, and it’s even got a Prez Obama Burger. Who else can claim that?


We’re looking forward to chatting with you about career topics both big and small over a salad, burger, and/or shake on the first Friday in December at the Good Stuff Eatery in Crystal City.


As usual, a ticket here on EventBrite is free but lunch isn’t.

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The Joy of Judging in the 2014-2015 Summit Competition for Technical Communication

We are Looking for Competition Judges!

Landsat image of the Chesapeake Bay region

Photo Credit:
NASA/USGS/Landsat 5

Judge Applications are now being accepted. We will accept judge applications through 8 December 2014.

If you are ready to experience the joy of judging, we need your help.

Entries are arriving for the Washington, DC – Baltimore (WDCB) chapter's 2014-2015 Summit Competition for Technical Communication. Would you like to see them? Are you ready to help evaluate them? If you think you may be, here's a brief summary of what's in store.

The Call for Entries in our technical communication competition was announced on 6 October. More announcements about the competition will appear in websites, blogs, tweets, and lists. The competition is coming together but we cannot hold it successfully without the commitment of a group of qualified and enthusiastic judges. We recruit judges from among professional communicators in the Washington, DC and Baltimore metropolitan areas, and beyond. Membership in STC is not a requirement.

Judges Training

Between 29 November and 9 December, entries are logged and team judging assignments are made for each competition category. The entries are sorted into packages for each team on 10 December for the Entries Pick-Up and Judges' Training meeting.

On Saturday, 13 December, the judges assemble to receive their judging materials, entries, and instructions. They meet the other members of their judging team, get training from experienced judges on how to evaluate an entry, and have their questions answered.

Judging Teams and Consensus Judging

Over the next five weeks, judges read and examine their assigned entries. They discover—or rediscover—the joy of encountering excellence in published manuals, reports, training materials, journals, brochures, marketing and PR materials, magazines, help systems, websites, user support materials, and more. As they begin to form opinions and record their evaluations in the judging forms, the judges apply all the knowledge and experience at their disposal. They prepare their comments for the entrants and a defense of their decisions for the consensus meeting.

On Saturday, 10 January 2015, the judges meet again to discuss the entries and decide which ones deserve an award based on specified criteria. Entries are not judged against each other. Some entries stand out as award winners; others elicit debate. The judges relish the opportunity to compare notes on design, presentation of information, layout, and overall quality of an entry. By the end of the Consensus Meeting, a consensus is reached on award levels for each entry. The Best of Show judging team then selects the Best of Show and the Best Student Entry. Veteran and new judges leave the Consensus Meeting with a sense of a job well done. They have judged the work of their peers and shared their passion for excellence in communication. Many are eager to do it all over again in future years.

Thank you!

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The Joy of Entering the 2014-2015 Summit Competition for Technical Communication

Landsat image of the Chesapeake Bay region

Photo Credit:
NASA/USGS/Landsat 5

Entry deadline: 7 p.m. Eastern Time,
Friday, 29 November 2014

Now is the time to submit your best work to the scrutiny of your fellow professionals. Consider what you want to enter and get it prepared.

The STC Washington, DC – Baltimore Chapter continues to hold a local technical communication competition. This post continues our tradition of presenting some reasons that you might enjoy entering the STC WDCB Summit Competition for Technical Communication.

Are you an award-winning technical communicator?

For those of you who haven't entered before, let me explain the basics. STC competitions recognize and encourage excellence in online communication and technical publications. Our competition receives entries from DC, Maryland, and Virginia, as well as from other states and from other countries. Washington, DC metropolitan area experts and some remote online judges gather to evaluate the entries in the competition. The judges provide written feedback on the strengths or weaknesses of each entry with reference to a standard in each category. The judges make recommendations that you may apply to future endeavors.

Some of the joys of entering are the pride you have in putting forth your best work, the validation you feel by being measured against the highest standards in our profession, and the opportunity to receive a knowledgeable and thoughtful critique of your entry. As an entrant, you are proud of your accomplishments. You and the judges realize that the final entry represents months of planning, writing, editing, and publishing. Submitting a publication or online entry is a great way to keep growing in a fast-paced industry. Having your decisions and standards recognized by industry experts is real insider validation!

As an entrant, you'll be invited to our Awards Celebration, where all winning entries are on display. You will be able to see what others in our field are producing. The Awards Celebration is also a place to network with the technical communication community.

Who is Eligible to Enter?

Anyone is eligible to submit entries. You do not have to be a member of STC. You can be a full-time student or a professional. You may enter work as an individual or for a colleague or member of your department.

What Can You Enter?

Technical, scientific, medical, or similar content for external or internal audiences produced or revised within 24 months preceding 1 September 2014. These include websites, blogs, journals, teaching material, computer software and hardware manuals, books, magazines, periodicals, research papers, posters, scholarly or trade news articles, online help for software applications, and user support materials. Entries may also include marketing and PR material from a technical organization such as brochures, catalogs, flyers, technical advertisements, promotional websites, corporate identity, newsletters, annual reports, policies and procedures, and employee guides. For more information, see the Chapter Competition Entry Rules and the descriptions of the Competition Categories.

Entries by full-time students prepared for and accepted for publication can go on to the international-level competition. (Student entries not prepared for and accepted for publication may still benefit from review by professional technical communicators by entering our local-level competition. Only the chapter's competition will accept those student entries.)

Good luck!

International-Level Competition Notes

All Distinguished Technical Communication (DTC) and Excellence award winners in the STC local-level competitions are eligible to enter the STC international-level competition, named the "STC International Summit Awards". If you think your entry to our competition is capable of going to the international level, be sure to reserve an extra four (4) copies of your entry to send to the international competition.

Winners in the local competition will be notified by email in late January 2014. Local-level Distinguished Technical Communication and Excellence award winners submit to the international competition on their own by 8 February 2014. Submitters who want to participate in the international competition must complete the STC International Online Entry Form, pay the International Competition entry fee, and pay for postage of their entry.

As part of the award for our Best of Show winner (BOS), the chapter will pay the international entry fee expenses. The BOS winner will still need to submit their own entry to international, fill out the online entry form, and pay the fee, which we will reimburse.

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Last modified: October 17, 2014