The Joy of Entering the 2015-2016 Summit Competition for Technical Communication

Landsat image of the Chesapeake Bay and Mid Atlantic states

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,
Monday, 16 November 2015

You are invited to submit your best work to the scrutiny of your fellow professionals in the chapter's 2015-2016 Summit Competition for Technical Communication. Now is the time to 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 why 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 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 similar content for external or internal audiences produced or revised within 24 months preceding 1 September 2015. 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.

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 international-level competition.

Student entries not prepared for and accepted for publication will be accepted by our local-level competition only. Students can gain much from professional evaluation of their work. While such entries will be judged in our local competition, they cannot advance to the international competition because they do not meet the publication acceptance requirement.

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. Good luck!

International-Level Competition Notes

All Distinguished Technical Communication (DTC) and Excellence award winners in STC local-level competitions are eligible to enter the STC international-level competition, named the STC "International Summit Awards" (ISA). If you think your entry to our competition is capable of going on to the international level, be sure to reserve an extra (1) copy of your entry to send to us to include for the international competition entry. As part of the award for our Distinguished Technical Communication (DTC) and Excellence award winners, the chapter will pay the international entry fee and shipping cost.

Letters will be mailed in mid January 2016 to let all entrants know if they won or did't win an award.

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Cynthia A Lockley

Fellow of the Society for Technical Communication. STC member since 1974.