The Joy of Judging in the 2011-2012 Summit Competition for Technical Communication

Apply Now to be a Judge!

Photo Credit:
NASA/USGS/Landsat 5

Judge Applications are now being accepted.

Entries are arriving for the Washington, DC – Baltimore (WDCB) chapter’s 2011-2012 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.

See the Competition website for

  • Call for Judges
  • Judge Application form
  • Schedule for Judges
  • Competition Categories

The Call for Entries in our technical communication competition was announced on 1 October. More announcements will appear in websites, blogs, tweets, and lists. This year, the deadline for submission of entries is 18 November. The competition is coming together but it can not be held successfully without the commitment of a group of qualified and enthusiastic judges. The judges are recruited from among professional communicators in the Washington, DC and Baltimore metropolitan areas, and beyond. For both entrants and judges, membership in STC is not required.

During 18-29 November, team judging assignments are made for each category to be judged and the entries are logged and sorted into packages for each team.

On Saturday, 3 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.

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, 14 January, the judges meet again to discuss the entries and decide which ones deserve an award. 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 based on specified criteria, not against each other. The competition committee begins the process of choosing the Best of Show, choosing the Best Student Entry, notifying the winners and non-winners, and sending the very best to the STC International Summit Awards Competition. 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 will be eager to do it all over again in future years.

If you are ready to experience the joy of judging, we need your help. For more information about judging entries and the types of judges needed, see the Call for Judges on the Competition website.

Thank you!

IDL SIG 2009 Scholarship – Applications Deadline Extended

From: Jackie Damrau, STC Fellow
Manager, STC IDL SIG
cell: 214-505-0100
email: email hidden; JavaScript is required


Are you currently pursuing an undergraduate degree, graduate degree, or certificate in the area of Instructional Design? If so, apply for the 2009 STC Instructional Design & Learning SIG Scholarship today! We will award:

  • One (1) $500 scholarship for undergraduate students
  • One (1) $1,000 scholarship for graduate students

Visit and click Scholarships. From there, follow the instructions for downloading, completing, and submitting the scholarship application.

Application Deadline has been EXTENDED to March 25, 2009 at 11:59 p.m. CST. Get your application ready TODAY!

Thanks so much!

Jamye Sagan
Technical Writer
H-E-B Pharmacy Marketing
646 S. Main Avenue – Arsenal S-1
San Antonio, TX 78204
email hidden; JavaScript is required

Calling All International Judges

International winner

While local and regional competitions are underway, it’s not too early to think about becoming an international competition judge. At the international competition level, we draw the very best entries from all STC communities and judging internationally is a great professional development opportunity.

You can be a competition judge on one of the remote teams or during the final consensus onsite judging. Remote judging is the first round and entries are shipped to the judge. Remote judging will be open to everyone regardless of location.

This year STC will implement a 3-year pilot program for the consensus judging. Historically, the location for the judging event is announced and all judges travel to that location. The travel and lodging expenses in the last few years have grown astronomically. The pilot program that will begin in 2009 will bring a regional approach to the judging. Rather than bring the judges to the competition, we will bring the competition to the judges. A geographic region will be selected based on the possible number of judges available in the area. The competition will be arranged and judges from the surrounding area that are able to drive in for the day will be recruited. For 2009, the international judging will be held in New England. For 2010 and 2011, we will solicit nominations from the chapters or groups of chapters for locations to hold those competitions. Judges whose company will pay expenses will still be considered as usual.

We hope that this will bring about two things: a savings in travel and lodging costs and the opportunity for more to participate in this professional development opportunity.

What qualifications do you need to judge in the international competition?

  • You must have judged in a local or regional STC competition at least twice.
  • You must meet two or more of the following criteria:
    • 96Master’s degree or higher in technical communication or related field.
    • Senior membership in STC.
    • Seven years in technical communication or a related field.
    • Strong technical publishing and/or web or graphic design background.
    • Teaching experience in communications or a related field.
    • Winner of an STC or other communications competition award.
    • Certification by a communications-related professional organization.
  • Your schedule should be flexible enough to allow adequate time for judging and communicating with your co-judges.

What’s in it for you?

  • Judging in the STC competitions is a professional development opportunity.
  • You will learn more about technical communication and about the medium and categories you judge than through your work experience, your educational background, or any other courses or conferences you have attended.
  • You can expand your network internationally: when you judge at the international level, your co-judges may be from anywhere in the United States or beyond!
  • You’ll have the opportunity to review materials created by employees from IBM, GE, Dell, Microsoft, or even NASA.

Judges on each team are responsible for evaluating the assigned entries and providing each participant with constructive, detailed feedback. The deadline for judge applications is 12 January 2009. Consensus judging for all three competitions will be completed in March 2009.

Apply to be a judge by using the STC ISA Judge Application Form at under the heading International Forms and Files.