RE: Contests for Technical Documentation?

Subject: RE: Contests for Technical Documentation?
From: Brent -dot- Jones -at- Level3 -dot- com
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 5 Jan 2001 13:47:59 -0700

David Berg wrote on Friday, January 05, 2001 12:23 PM:

> I also just received a brochure for a contest, called the Communicator
> Awards. From reading their information I'm a little skeptical


> Am I just being overly pessimistic? Ahas anyone ever heard of
> this outfit?

I just visited there site (, and found
the following:

"Excellence, Distinction and Honorable Mention winners will be recognized
with a foiled certificate at no cost [except for the $50 you sent in!--bj].
Excellence and Distinction winners are elgible for The Communicator Awards'
prestigious crystal jade glass award. [...] Since The Communicator Awards
makes it competition accessible to more people by keeping its entry fees
low, Excellence and Distinction winners will be charged $130 to cover the
cost if they wish to commemorate the achievement with an etched crystal
award. Additional certificates and awards are available."

hmmmmm. Then I looked at their list of 2000 award winners, and saw roughly
200 (!) winners. If enough of them bit on the $130, that adds up to a
significant amount of cash, especially in addition to the "low" entry fee of

I ask myself, "Who is running this thing?" The only mention in the site I
could find is this:

"The Communicator Awards is a national awards competition founded by
communication professionals to recognize excellence in the communication

hmmmmm again.

I ask myself, "Who judges the entries?" The site provides no information on
the judges or their qualifications.

hmmmmm. Draw your own conclusions. The entries can be in a ridiculous number
of categories, such as the following:

80. Marketing/Promotion
81. Product Introduction
82. Special Event
83. Other __________"

If there's an "other" category, how can there even be a competition in it?
If you write in a category and by some stroke of luck someone else writes in
the same one? bah. Imagine how many judges would they need to have to cover
all of these specialized areas adequately. bah.

FWIW, their award list for 2000 does include some fairly well-known
organizations, such as Big Brothers and Sisters, Boeing (in Mesa, AZ), and
(believe it or not!) NATO. Whether these orgs really applied and won is one
question. Whether NATO and Boeing (in Mesa, AZ) applying is relevant to
whether the competition is legit is another.

I'd be inclined to go to STC if I needed some outside entity to validate the
quality of my work--this competition sounds iffy to me. Be interested to
hear if anyone has experience or knowledge that implies the contrary.


Brent Jones
brent -dot- jones -at- level3 -dot- com
"In the Kingdom of Boredom, I wear the royal sweatpants."
--Mark Leyner, _My Cousin My Gastroenterologist_

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