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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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Competition Consensus Judging Day

Teams of judges discuss their comments with their team members to determine the final ratings of each entry (Distinguished, Excellence, Merit, or no award). Lead Judges and Team Judges then choose the Best of Category for each of the categories their team is judging.

The ones selected by each team as a “Best of…” will be entered in the Best of Show Judging.

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InfoDevDC Meetup

Save the date for InfoDevDC
Tues 12/9/14 6:30 PM to 9:00 PM
at Appian in Reston
More details to follow

Save the date for InfoDevDC!

Tuesday, Dec 9, 2014, 6:30 PM

11955 Democracy Drive Reston, VA

7 Information Developers Attending

Save the date! InfoDevDC is holding its next meetup on December 9th at Appian. More details to follow soon.

Check out this Meetup →


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Resources for Finding a Job in Science and Health Communications

Many thanks to Kit Brown Hoekstra for researching this list.

Mike McCallister’s presentation on using LinkedIn to find clients:

Job shops that are active federal contractors:

Results of Google search for “federal contractors”

Results of Google search for CDC contractors

Search string for USAJobs.gov in the DC area:

Other resources

  • Writer’s Market identifies science magazines and journals that hire freelancers.
  • Search for not-for-profits in the DC area and identify their communications specialists.
  • Source for names: http://www.newswise.com/institutions/list
  • Foreign Exchange, SDL, Acrolinx, or Tedopres are possible clients for webinars or online training in plain language.
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Last modified: October 9, 2014