STC WDCB Joining Regional TechComm Competition

Logo for STC Regional TechComm Competition-Atlanta, Houston, New England, New York, Philadelphia, and Rochester
Starting this fall, our chapter is joining forces with several other STC chapters to deliver our annual technical communication competition, which we have been running consistently since 1962. Since 2012, when the New York Metro chapter joined with the Philadelphia chapter to create the STC Regional TechComm Competition, other chapters have joined their federation. We now join the Atlanta, Houston, New England, New York Metro, Philadelphia, and Rochester chapters, making our title of “regional” a fairly loose definition.

STC discontinued the International Summit Awards (ISA) after the 2016-2017 competition cycle. Until that year, local chapters submitted their highest award winners to the ISA for another round of judging. Winners of that award were proudly displayed at the STC Summit conference for all to see. Since the discontinuation of the ISA, chapters such as DC’s ended their competition cycles without offering that additional matriculation option. Despite this disheartening change, our volunteers continued to work countless hours to pull off the organized and fair competition our chapter is known for throughout the world.

The new regional approach allows the DC-Baltimore chapter to benefit from the online forms and mature processes that the regional competition team, under the leadership of the New York Metro chapter, have created to run the competition. We benefit from shared volunteer labor and ideas. Although we expect and encourage our local judges to apply to judge in the regional competition, given the larger numbers of entries and judges in the new federation, our entrants will likely be exposed to evaluations from new judges. We expect the larger judging pool will provide a fresh perspective to our entrants while still maintaining the same standards STC has always held. Besides this possible change to evaluations, we expect that that entrants will notice the change to the entry process, with a simple, online form. Judges will notice a more streamlined approach to receiving entries. Here in the DC area we will still hold a competition awards celebration in the spring to celebrate our local winners like we always have. It all seems like a win-win proposition to me and I hope you agree!

An exciting event is coming up on OCTOBER 15, 6-8 PM EDT to inspire you to enter the competition called the Virtual TechComm Roadshow. This online event is FREE but you must register to get the web conferencing information. During this event, some top winners from STC competitions around the country, including DC-Baltimore, will show their work, discuss their backstory, challenges, learning, and planned improvements. We hope you will attend!

The STC Regional TechComm Competition’s entry deadline is December 6, 2019, 6:00 PM EDT. While the link to enter the competition will eventually be on the DC chapter’s competition site and the New York Metro chapter’s site, I encourage you to sign up to receive email updates as they arise.

We hope you are excited as we are to join such a distinguished group of chapters, along with their passionate volunteers, to produce our competition going forward. STC chapters are no longer in competition with one another for the most entrants or even the most members. Everyone wins when we unite our efforts to promote the advancement of our profession of technical communication.

The Joy of Judging in the 2018-2019 WDCB Technical Communication Competition

We are Looking for Competition Judges!

medium image of Chesapeake Bay and Mid Atlantic states
Chesapeake Bay and Mid-Atlantic States
Photo credit: NASA/USGS/Landsat

Judge Applications are now being accepted. We will accept judge applications through 26 November 2018.

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

  • Call for Judges
  • Judge Application short form to indicate interest in judging
  • Judge Application full details form, please apply to judge by 26 November 2018.
  • Schedule for Judges
  • Competition Categories

Entries are arriving for the Washington, DC – Baltimore (WDCB) chapter's 2018-2019 Technical Communication Competition. 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 10 September. More announcements about the competition will appear in websites, blogs, tweets, and lists. The competition is coming together but we can not 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

The deadline for entries is 10 November 2018. Between 11 November and 26 November, entries are logged and team judging assignments are made for each competition category. on 27 November, the entries are sorted into packages for each team for the Entries Pick-Up and Judges' Training meeting.

On Saturday, 1 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 six 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, 12 January 2019, the judges meet for consensus 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. You will review how each judge evaluated an entry in their team's categories and concur on the award to be given to each entry. After discussing an entry with the other judges on your team, you may decide to change your evaluation scores or comments to come to a consensus for the award your team will give an entry. After each award is determined, the judging team will select one or two from your team's entries to nominate for Best of Show. The Best of Show judging team then assesses the nominees and 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.

For questions, contact the competition manager, Tavia Record, at email hidden; JavaScript is required.

The Joy of Entering the 2018-2019 WDCB Technical Communication Competition

medium image of Chesapeake Bay and Mid Atlantic states
Chesapeake Bay and Mid-Atlantic States
Photo credit: NASA/USGS/Landsat

Entry deadline: 7 p.m. Eastern Time,
Saturday, 10 November 2018

You are invited to submit your best work to the scrutiny of your fellow professionals in the chapter's 2018-2019 Technical Communication Competition. Now is the time to consider what you want to enter and get it prepared. See the Competition website for

  • Competition Entry Forms
  • Competition Entry Rules
  • Competition Categories
  • Schedule for Entrants

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

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 technical publications, both online and print. Our chapter competition receives entries from DC, Maryland, and Virginia, as well as from other states and from other countries. Washington, DC and Baltimore 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. Many entrants regard this feedback as a valuable part of their participation.

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! Awards can bring recognition from professional peers and increased visibility with employers and clients.

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 research content for external or internal audiences produced or revised within 24 months preceding 1 September 2018. 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 Competition Entry Rules and the descriptions of the Competition Categories.

Full-time students may submit entries that are prepared for and accepted for publication by a client, employer, or publisher. The entries by student winners of Distinguished Technical Communication and Excellence awards may continue on to the STC international-level competition when it is held.

Students can gain much from professional evaluation of their work Student entries that have not been prepared for and accepted for publication by a client, employer, or publisher will be accepted in the STC WDCB chapter's competition. While such entries will be judged in our local competition, they cannot advance to STC's international competition because they do not meet the publication acceptance requirement.

STC is restructuring the international-level competition and will not be holding the International Summit Awards (ISA) competition for 2018-2019.

By entering the competition, you help educate clients and employers about what technical communicators do. Your entries demonstrate the value technical communicators bring to a product by providing the right information, in the right way, at the right time to make life easier and more productive for product support staff and users.

You are proud of your accomplishments. Enter the competition and enjoy showing us your best work. Good luck!

Notices will be sent in late January 2019 to let all entrants know if they won or didn't win an award.

For questions, contact the competition manager, Tavia Record, at email hidden; JavaScript is required.