In the fall, many STC chapters hold local technical communication competitions. This post continues our tradition of presenting some reasons that you might enjoy entering the STC WDCB Summit Competition for Technical Communication.
Note: Because the Society no longer allows local chapters to submit winning entries to the international-level competition, we have reduced our entry fees! We no longer need to plan to cover possible international entry fees and postage costs.
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 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 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 2012. These include websites, blogs, journals, teaching material, computer software and hardware manuals, error messages, 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. (Only the chapter’s competition will accept student entries not prepared for and accepted for publication.)
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. Competition rules and entry forms are at https://competition.stcwdc.org/
International_Level Competition Notes
All Distinguished Technical Communication (DCT) and Excellence award winners in the local competitions are eligible to enter the STC international-level competition, named the “STC International Summit Awards”. Distinguished Technical Communication and Excellence award winners may submit to the international competition on their own. 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. 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.
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.
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.