The Joy of Judging in the 2017-2018 Technical Communication Competition

We are Looking for Competition Judges!

medium image of Chesapeake Bay and Mid Atlantic states
Chesapeake Bay and Mid-Atlantic States
Photo credit: NASA/USGS/Landsat

Judge Applications are now being accepted. We will accept judge applications through 30 November 2017.

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 2017 Technical Communication Competition. 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 12 September. More announcements about the competition have appeared in websites, blogs, tweets, and lists. The competition is coming together but we can not 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

The deadline for entries is 27 November 2017. Between 27 November and 30 November, entries are logged and team judging assignments are made for each competition category. The entries are sorted into packages for each team on 1 December for the Entries Pick-Up and Judges' Training meeting.

On Saturday, 2 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, 13 January 2018, the judging teams meet 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. When a judging team reaches a consensus about an entry, they assign an award level and nominate one or more of their Distinguished Technical Communication awardees for consideration as the Best of Show. 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!

For questions, contact the competition manager, Tavia Record, at competition manager.

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Cynthia A Lockley

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