re: The Big Lie (was 'Are You a Writer?')

Subject: re: The Big Lie (was 'Are You a Writer?')
From: lestatvampire39 -at- hotmail -dot- com
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 26 Mar 2002 7:32:4

It insists that the
person thinking is more important than the tools used or the system
acted upon." ? Russell Rutter, pg. 135 of "History, Rhetoric, and
Humanism: Toward a More Comprehensive Definition of Technical

I believe this would be great if true, but statistics seem to prove
otherwise. Not so long ago a technical writer was just that - a technical
writer. Today, it seems that the job is focused much more on tools than
the ability to write technical documentation which is clear, concise, and
easy for the users to understand.

After searching technical writing jobs (about 60) on five different job
boards, I found the following:

52% - specified requirement for tool usage only;
36% - specified the ability to write; and
12% - wanted a combination of both skills.

Just for kicks I did the same test for editing. The results were:

60% - interested only in the ability to edit;
10% - specific requirement for tool usage only; and
30% - tools specified but not required.

I also verified Electrical Engineering and found that 80% only mentioned
engineerings skills with the degree to back it up.

To me, the numbers speak for themselves. It also shows we are perceived
more as desktop publishers than writers. A quick review of the archives on
this list also shows heavy interest on the side of tools.

Does this mean that we are simply using the tools of our trade? Do
creative authors care about such things? I know many large organizations
that have writers, editors, and EPS (Electronic Publishing Services). The
writers research, write and perform peer reviews. The editors ensure the
documentation conforms to standards. The EPS does just that - EPS. In the
end, the hourly wrap rate for page production output is cheaper than having
a technical writer perform all tasks.

Mouse Potato

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