The Joy of Judging

The STC Washington, DC Chapter’s annual Technical Publications, Online Communication, and Technical Art Competitions are open to receive entries. Would you like to see them? Are you ready to help evaluate them? If you think you may be, here’s the gist of what’s in store.

The Call for Entries in over 20 categories of technical communication goes out in late August. This year, the deadline for submission of entries is October 20. The competitions could 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 DC area and beyond. Membership in STC for both entrants and judges is common, but not required.

Early in November, 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 four weeks, judges read and examine the entries. They discover—or rediscover—the joy of encountering excellence in published manuals, brochures, magazines, help systems, and Web sites. As they begin to form opinions and record their evaluations, the judges apply all the knowledge and experience at their disposal.

WDC competition judging.
WDC competition judging.
They prepare their comments for the entrants and a defense of their decisions for the consensus meeting.

In December, 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. By the end of the meeting, a consensus is reached on award levels and the Competition Committee can begin the process of notifying the winners and non-winners, choosing the Best of Show, and sending the very best to the STC International Competition. The judges, both veteran and new, leave 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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