Competition Awards Celebration: 7 Feb. 2009

photo of Ginny Redish
Keynote Speaker: Ginny Redish
Location: DACOR Bacon House, 1801 F Street, NW, Washington, DC 20006; Directions to the event (It is several blocks from the Farragut West Metro station (Blue/Orange line).) Keynote speaker: Janice (Ginny) Redish, Ph.D.) Keynote: “Content Strategist”—Why and How Technical Communicators are Naturals for this New Role.
$30 Judges, entrants, students, volunteers
$45 STC members
$55 Non-members
Attention: Registration for this event is now closed. If you have already registered but have not yet paid, go to to to make a secure online payment through our PayPal page using your credit card, debit card, bank account, or by paying money from a funded PayPal account. Or, you may send a check made out to STC Washington, DC Chapter to:
Steve Whitney
STC Washington DC Chapter
PO Box 11186
Takoma Park, MD 20913

Registration link:
Download a PDF of the event description and registration information.

You’re Invited

The STC Washington, DC Chapter Administrative Council and Competition Committee cordially invite you and your guests to the annual Competition Awards Celebration for the Technical Publications, Online Communication, and Technical Art competitions. Whether or not you participated in the competitions this year, come out and see the winning entries, meet the judges, cheer on the winners, and enjoy a delicious lunch. This is a perfect opportunity not only for networking but for getting your eyes and hands on the state of the art in technical communication. Documentation managers, bring your teams to encourage their competitive spirit. Maybe you’ll be encouraged to enter the competition next year!


Get the banquet flyer. (.pdf)


  • 10:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. Tour of DACOR Bacon House (optional)
  • 11:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. Banquet check-in, display of winning entries and networking
  • 11:35 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. Lunch
  • 12:15 p.m. – 12:45 p.m. Keynote
  • 12:45 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. Awards Program


The full meal includes a choice of Chicken Florentine or Eggplant Parmesan.

About the Banquet Keynote

Many companies are wakening up to the need to make their web sites coherent and consistent. They are seeing that the content is as critical to their "brand" and their success as the design and navigation. The days of everyone posting whatever they want to a corporate or agency web site are disappearing. The new buzzword is “content strategy.” The new role is “content strategist.” Ginny Redish muses with us about this new development and what it can mean for your career.

About the Keynote Speaker

Dr. Janice (Ginny) Redish is a user researcher and expert in usability, clear communication and documentation. She is an independent consultant and the principal founder and owner of Redish and Associates ( Ginny is the author of a number of books, including Letting Go of the Words, which won the Best of Show Award in the 2007/2008 WDC STC Technical Publications Competition and a Distinguished Award in the 2008 International STC Technical Publications Competition.

Ginny is an STC fellow and a longtime member of WDC. She co-founded the STC Usability & User Experience Community. She also belongs to the Usability Professionals’ Association, and several other professional societies, communities, and organizations.

Ginny is the recipient of many prestigious awards, including the STC Ken Rainey Award for Excellence in Research (2008), the 2004 STC President’s Award, the first Outstanding Plain Language Leader in the Private Sector award (2006); the Goldsmith award (2001), and others.

Ginny is a graduate of Bryn Mawr College and has a Ph.D. in Linguistics from Harvard University. See for more information about Ginny.

About DACOR Bacon House

DACOR Bacon House
DACOR Bacon House

The historic 1825 Federal-style mansion, Diplomatic and Consular Officers, Retired (DACOR) Bacon House) is an historic Federal-style mansion, furnished with period furniture. The house is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

The house was built in 1824-1825 by Tench Ringgold, a close friend of President James Monroe, and until 1831 U. S. Marshall for the District of Columbia. During the years 1831-1835 many noted figures including Chief Justice John Marshall, Associate Justices Joseph Story, William Johnson, Gabriel Duvall, Smith Thompson, John McLean and Henry Baldwin (all members of the Supreme Court), lived in DACOR Bacon House. In 1835 the house was bought by the former Governor of Maryland, Samuel Sprigg. Today DACOR House is the home of the Diplomatic and Consular Officers Retired (DACOR) Bacon House Foundation, whose goal is to contribute to the development of mutual international understanding and the strengthening of ties between the people of the United States and other nations. Diplomatic and Consular Officers Retired (DACOR) is an association of retired officers of the United States Foreign Service and of other foreign affairs agencies founded in 1952. Go to for more information about the DACOR Bacon House.

The Joy of Entering the 2008-2009 Competitions

Deadline is 20 October.

Landsat image of WDC
Put your best work on the map! Photo credit: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.
In the fall, STC chapters hold local competitions. As the 2008-2009 Competitions Manager of the Washington DC chapter, I am continuing the tradition of presenting some of the reasons that technical communication professionals might enjoy entering the competitions.

Would you like to be an award-winning technical communicator? For those of you who haven’t entered before, let me explain the basics. Washington area experts gather to evaluate the entries in the Technical Publications, Technical Art, and Online Communication Competitions. Our competitions receive entries from DC, Maryland, and Virginia, as well as from other states and from other countries. The judges provide comments on the strengths of each entry and make recommendations that you can apply in 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 feedback from 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 the Awards Celebration, where you will be able to see what others in our field are producing. The Awards Celebration is also the place to network with the technical communication community.

Fall is the time to submit your best work to the scrutiny of your fellow professionals. Now is the time to consider what you want to enter and to get it prepared. Check the Chapter Competitions page at for all the details on categories, requirements, and instructions. Good luck!

The Joy of Judging

The STC Washington, DC Chapter’s annual Technical Publications, Online Communication, and Technical Art Competitions are open to receive entries. Would you like to see them? Are you ready to help evaluate them? If you think you may be, here’s the gist of what’s in store.

The Call for Entries in over 20 categories of technical communication goes out in late August. This year, the deadline for submission of entries is October 20. The competitions could 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 DC area and beyond. Membership in STC for both entrants and judges is common, but not required.

Early in November, 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 four weeks, judges read and examine the entries. They discover—or rediscover—the joy of encountering excellence in published manuals, brochures, magazines, help systems, and Web sites. As they begin to form opinions and record their evaluations, the judges apply all the knowledge and experience at their disposal.

WDC competition judging.
WDC competition judging.
They prepare their comments for the entrants and a defense of their decisions for the consensus meeting.

In December, 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. By the end of the meeting, a consensus is reached on award levels and the Competition Committee can begin the process of notifying the winners and non-winners, choosing the Best of Show, and sending the very best to the STC International Competition. The judges, both veteran and new, leave 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 Competition website for

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

Thank you!