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Call for Judges

Call for Judges

If you would like to volunteer to be a competition judge, complete the electronic Judges Information Form  (click the link, complete and Submit) by Monday, October 30, 2017.   If you judged last year and filled out this form, just send us any updates/changes to your profile.

Training for all judges will be done by Carolyn Reynolds and a representative from STC International. Judge Training is mandatory for new judges.  

If you have questions about judging in the STC Regional Competition, please contact  our Chapter Representatives:  Tim Esposito , STC Philadelphia,  Phoebe Forio ,STC Atlanta, (404.210.2053) , Scott McCoy , STC New York Metro, (551.427.7420) , Bobbi Werner   STC Rochester,  (315.345.3796) and Erika Frensley, Houston, (713.498.7618)

Why volunteer to be a judge? 

See the latest trends first-hand in technical communication, instructional design, promotional, informational and user support materials.  You are exposed to new ideas and a chance to discuss content development and design with professional peers. 

If you have good experience in technical writing, learning design, editing, or developing documentation or marketing communications, we're looking for you. If you are adept with technical illustrations, video editing, posters or packaging, you will be delighted at this opportunity to see great examples of work from others in the profession.

STC membership is not a requirement. We provide extensive training for judges. More experienced judges will serve as Team leaders and guide you through assessments.

Competition Schedule


September 18, 2017

Call for Entries and Judges 

  • Deadline for Entries - November 15, Wednesday, 6:00 pm
  • Deadline for Judges - October 30, Monday
October 30, 2017  Monday

Deadline for Judge Applications

November 15, 2017  Wednesday 6:00 pm

Deadline for Entries (both Print and Online)

Week of November 26

Training for Judges and Training for Team Leaders. Judges are assigned to Teams.   

November 15, 2017, Wednesday

Deadline for submission of entries (online or hard-copy) by 6:00 PM, EDT

November 18, 2017, Saturday

Packing Day: Entries are organized and sent to Judges

November 2, Wednesday

All Judge teams should have received their assigned entries and Login instructions for the Judges' website. 

December 3-9 (Week 1)

Milestone 1: Judges provide First Impressions to Team Leaders. Team Leaders provide first impressions to the Judging Co-Managers.

December 10 -16 (Week 2)

Milestone 2: Judges provide draft Assessment 1 to Team leader for at least one entry. Team leader provides draft comments for at least one entry to Judging Co-Managers.

December 17-23 (Week 3)

Milestone 3: Judges provide feedback on draft Assessment 2 to Team Leader. Team Leader provides draft comments to Judging Co-Managers.

Dec. 24 -January 5  (Week 4 & 5)

Christmas and New Year Break - HO-HO-HO!

January 7-12 (Week 6)

Milestone 4: Judges complete draft Assessment 3 and by now should have completed all 3 assessments. Team Leader sends drafts to Judging Co-Managers.           

 January 14-10  (Week 7) Milestone 5: Judges finish assessment sheets and collaborate on writing an Overview for each assigned entry. Team meets to decide if the entry deserves an award and at what level. The team may decide to recommend the entry for Best of Show and prepare for it.

January 20, Saturday

Consensus Day: Final judging. (Locations: NY, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Houston, Rochester and virtually)

  • All written comments for all entries are refined and given to Team Leaders and turned over to Judging Co-Managers.
  • Teams determine recommendations for awards, including Best of Show. 
  • Group discussion and presentation of winning entries
  • January 27 - If a Best of Show was not decided on January 20, a separate meeting will be organized and an appointed Sub-committee will review and decide on the BEST of SHOW.

February 2018

Regional Best of Show, Distinguished, Excellence and Merit awardees will be announced.

March or April 2018

STC Joint TechComm Roadshow Event with other chapter competitions

May 20-23, 2018

STC International Summit in Orlando, FL, Awards announced before the Summit.  


What does a Competition Judge do?

Judges are responsible for evaluating every entry they receive. They must provide feedback to each entrant. The assessment should provide clear, impartial, and constructive feedback. Judge duties include:

  • Check the contents of the package as soon as possible after receiving it to ensure that everything assigned is included.
  • Review each entry. Provide constructive feedback on each entry.
  • Meet with team members for consensus on awards. Contribute to writing any Best of Show recommendations.
  • Complete and return assessment forms by the specified method and date.

Judges are grouped into teams of three including a Team Leader.

The Team Leader is usually someone with previous experience as a local/regional or international judge and/or someone with a wide degree of technical communication experience. The Team leader also has  a few additional responsibilities to make the judging run smoothly:

  • Ensure that all team members have the same entries and that all entries are complete (that is, all submission forms are present and properly filled out), compliant with competition rules (for example, produced during the correct time window), and placed in the appropriate competition category. 
  • Monitor the team’s progress vs. the scheduled Milestones
  • Answer team members’ questions about the entries and the judging process. The team leader is the liaison between the team and the competition managers to resolve problems.
  • Make sure all team members have completed all their assigned entry assessments by consensus judging day. 
  • Team leaders should check with their team members regularly throughout the evaluation period. Lead the consensus meeting and make sure entries and assessment forms are correct, professional, acceptable thorough, and delivered to the judging co-managers on time.
  • Schedule team meetings as necessary. 
  • In the consensus meeting, communicate award levels and any Best of Show recommendation to the Judging co-managers

How much time will it take?

Judge Training normally takes 1.5 - 2 hours and is conducted over the web. Each judge is assigned an average of  3 entries and judges follow a schedule of milestones culminating in Consensus Day.  We estimate that judges will devote a minimum of 15-24 hours for judging. Most meetings between team members can be done over the phone or web.

Criteria for evaluation depend on the entry category. Here are some examples:
  • User Support materials - For online help, is it easy to find the information you need and are topics explained thoroughly?
  • Instructional materials - Is the eLearning / mlearning compelling and does it enable the audience to complete learning objectives?
  • Promotional materials - Do the marketing brochures and web materials excite you about the products or processes described?
  • Informational materials - Is the website a good example of content strategy and make you want to view more pages?  Can you find what you want quickly?

The answer to the above questions and more may convince you and your team members that an entry is worthy of awards: Distinguished, Excellence or Merit. You might even recommend the entry for the Best of Show award!

On Consensus Day, all judges converge for the final judging and selection of Best of Show, (usually 4 hours with lunch). We meet in live locations (NY, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Houston and Rochester) and provide virtual access to those who cannot be present for the activity.