The Joy of Judging in the 2014-2015 Summit Competition for Technical Communication

We are Looking for Competition Judges!

Landsat image of the Chesapeake Bay region
Photo Credit:
NASA/USGS/Landsat 5

Judge Applications are now being accepted. We will accept judge applications through 8 December 2014.

If you are ready to experience the joy of judging, we need your help.

Entries are arriving for the Washington, DC – Baltimore (WDCB) chapter's 2014-2015 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 6 October. More announcements about the competition will appear in websites, blogs, tweets, and lists. The competition is coming together but we cannot hold it successfully without the commitment of a group of qualified and enthusiastic judges. We recruit judges from among professional communicators in the Washington, DC and Baltimore metropolitan areas, and beyond. Membership in STC is not a requirement.

Judges Training

Between 29 November and 9 December, entries are logged and team judging assignments are made for each competition category. The entries are sorted into packages for each team on 10 December for the Entries Pick-Up and Judges' Training meeting.

On Saturday, 13 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.

Judging Teams and Consensus Judging

Over the next five 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, 10 January 2015, the judges meet again to discuss the entries and decide which ones deserve an award based on specified criteria. Entries are not judged against each other. 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. The Best of Show judging team then selects the Best of Show and the Best Student Entry. 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 are eager to do it all over again in future years.

Thank you!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Cynthia A Lockley

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