Re: A sobering encounter (So now what?)

Subject: Re: A sobering encounter (So now what?)
From: Andrew Plato <gilliankitty -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 2 Dec 2002 08:37:37 -0800 (PST)

"Steven Brown" wrote

> Craig Cardimon wrote about a Pink Slip Part where a
> recruiter said they'd gotten rid of all their
> technical writing positions because the engineers
> write all of the documentation.
> Well then, the Big Question of the Moment is simple:
> What are we or the STC doing about the situation? Is
> there a concerted effort to organize a public
> relations campaign to educate the IT and other
> industries about the value that we add?

How about a fundamental reassessment of the value tech writers truly add? The
message from anecdotes like this seem pretty clear. Some organizations do not
see value in retaining technical writers on staff.

The other sobering fact is that most engineers CAN write. Accomplished
engineers are usually college graduates. And pretty much all colleges require
graduates to be decent writers. They just don't obsess over writing in the same
manner that tech writers do. Engineers generally don't care about fonts,
styles, maturity models, and the litany of marginally valuable one-off stuff
that consumes some writers to madness. They care about - gasp - content.

Readers also care about content.

Forget STC and focus on what you can deliver above and beyond the ability to
write or use FrameMaker. Demonstrate an awareness of the larger technical,
economic, and business issues. Then you really will be adding value to their

Andrew Plato

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