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

Apply Now to be a Judge!

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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!

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