RE: A sobering encounter (So now what?)

Subject: RE: A sobering encounter (So now what?)
From: "Barb Einarsen" <barb -dot- einarsen -at- nettest -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 4 Dec 2002 10:49:49 -0500

Krista said:
"In my experience, a tech writer adds real value when he/she saves the
engineers' and product owners' time. {snip} I have a lot of experiences
when writers won't write release notes, for instance. They want the
product owner or an engineer to give them everything they need and then
they'll just format it. My feeling is that if they read the
requirements, the change requests, and the functional specs, they should
be able to write 90% or more of the entire release notes. Then the
developers and product managers will be simply reading a solid draft,
not writing it themselves."

I say:
Thank you Krista! You understand the difference between a professional
technical writer and an administrative assistant. I wish more writers
(especially the contractors I hire) understood this critical difference.

Understand I'm not commenting on the Content versus Style issue.
Frankly, both are key skills required by technical writers. Let me
define what I mean by those terms:

Content meaning the ability to parse out important information from web
searches, specifications, marketing materials, SME interviews, and
product use, as well as the ability to learn new technologies very
quickly (almost by osmosis; definitely not by rote).

Style meaning the ability to create useful information and present it in
a consistent, clear, usable, and thoughtful manner.

Barb Einarsen | Manager of Product Information Development
email barb -dot- einarsen -at- nettest -dot- com <mailto:barb -dot- einarsen -at- nettest -dot- com> | dir
905 948 7527
NetTest (Canada) Inc | 55 Renfrew Drive, Markham, Ontario L3R 8H3|
web <> | tel 905 479 8090 | fax
905 475 6524

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