The Joy Of Judging in the STCWDC Summit Competition

Apply Now to be a Judge!

photo of cherry blossoms and Washington Monument
Photo Credit: Kristen Sweet

Entries are arriving for the Society for Technical Communication Washington, DC Chapter (STCWDC) 2010-2011 Summit 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.

In October, the Call for Entries in our technical communication competition was mailed or e-mailed to potential entrants and posted on Web sites, blogs, and lists. This year, the deadline for submission of entries is November 19. 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 metropolitan area and beyond. For both entrants and judges, membership in STC is not required.

During 19-29 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, 11 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 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, technical art, and Web sites. 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, 8 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 meeting, a consensus is reached on award levels for each entry based on 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 Competition website for

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

Thank you!

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