Competitions 20032004

What the Competitions are About

By Joan Wotkowicz

Each year, the Boston and Northern New England chapters of the Society for Technical Communications (STC) hold competitions for technical communicators. You can enter your work or judge in one or more of three competitions:

Competition Type of Documentation
Technical Publications Physical media (printed documentation)
Online Communication Online media (electronic documentation such as Online Help and Web sites)
Technical Art Physical media or online technical art products.

The competitions accept entries in a wide range of categories, including hardware and software user documentation, training materials, marketing materials, reference guides, magazine design, technical illustrations, quick reference cards, annual reports, and more.

Judging in the Competitions

Judges in each competition attend a Judges Orientation session in October. During Orientation, you will learn about the consensus judging process, review the criteria for evaluating entries, and spend time practice judging.

All judges attend consensus judging sessions in early November. Judges work in teams to review their assigned entries, discuss their evaluations, agree on an award level, and fill out feedback forms for the entrants.

In some cases, you will be able to review your assigned entries prior to consensus judging day. Judges in the Technical Publications competition receive their entries to review in the weeks preceding consensus judging. In addition, judges in the Online Communication competition who elect to judge Web entries will be able to review their assigned entries via URL until consensus judging day. However, all judges attend consensus day to complete their evaluation with their judging team members.

For more detailed information about judging in the competitions, go to the Judges Overview page. When you are ready to register to judge in one or more competitions, fill out the electronic registration form.

Entering the Competitions

To enter your work, you must register online and make your entry available for consensus judging in early November. For more detailed information about entering the competitions, go to the Entrants Overview page.

You need not be an STC member to enter the competitions, and you can submit more than one entry. Your peers judge your entries, and you will receive detailed feedback from judges experienced in technical writing and art.

When you are ready to enter your work, fill out the electronic registration form.


Some entries earn an award from the STC, which represent levels of accomplishment based on STC standards. Three levels of awards are given, as follows:

STC International Competition

Entries that receive a Distinguished award at the local level are automatically entered into the STC International Competition and compete with entries from around the world.

Joan Wotkowicz is a member of the Boston STC and is a Principal in Sebring Design, a technical communications design and development firm.