doug.jpgKudos to Writing Competition Judges and Volunteers

by Doug Brown, Vice President of Volunteers & Recognition

Happy New Year to all, and best wishes for a great 2008! This is the time of year for STC Houston members to get together to congratulate each other on a job well done, and enjoy a little recognition for our efforts. That’s right, the STC Houston Awards Banquet is right around the corner! This year our Awards Banquet will be held on February 22, 2008, at The Houston Club. To reserve your seat for a fun evening of colleague banter and samples of the very best that STC Houston has to offer in technical communication, see the STC Houston website at

Without the contributions of numerous volunteers, this event would not be possible, and I’d like to call out a few folks in particular. Thanks to the competition judging management team, consisting of Jowell Lydon, Jeremy Hart, Julie Garrison, and Brian Galloway. These folks received all the Houston entries, coordinated the swap with the Atlanta chapter, assigned judges to entries, arranged the meetings for distribution and collection, and handled countless other tasks throughout the process. And of course, thanks to all the volunteer judges who gave their valuable time to make the event such a success.

If you missed the chance to serve as a judge this year, don’t worry, 2008 will provide plenty of opportunity! This is a fantastic way to gain exposure to new techniques and spark some of your own project ideas. You can file away the good ones in your idea gig bag and call on them when needed. Of course, with your discerning technical communicator eye, you can also note the habits you don’t want to pick up!

This year, judges each reviewed six documents. This was based on the number of entries received and the number of judges available, so that number could change next year. Judging teams were instructed to spend about an hour per document, looking at the overall layout, appropriate formatting, and overall quality. After reviewing individually, each team held a brief consensus meeting to determine the award levels. Finally, all judges met for a catered lunch meeting (yes, free lunch!) to return the entries and discuss candidates for best in show. Our Atlanta winner was a tremendously helpful help system from IPS-Sendero, a software and services provider for financial institutions. Our recommendation sets them up for an automatic entry into the International Writing Competition, so good luck, IPS-Sendero!

If you received an award from our Atlanta counterparts, congratulations, and we’ll see you at the banquet. Next year, don’t miss your chance to get in on the action and return the favor!

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