RE: Famous Technical Writers?

Subject: RE: Famous Technical Writers?
From: Curtis Matthews <cmatthews -at- cpcus -dot- com>
To: Bill Hartzer <BHartzer -at- cha-systems -dot- com>, TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 15 Nov 1999 16:51:06 -0500

Well, the standard model of "fame" as it refers to a specific profession
depends on how much a person's work penetrates into the common body of
knowledge all people in the profession are expected to have. Therefore,
"fame" only really occurs if your discipline has a strong academic presence.
I could guarantee you all particle physicists, for example, can tell you who
Schrodinger was, because they all had to learn about him as part of their
schoolwork.

Technical communication doesn't have a strong, standardized academic
presence yet. I doubt many who call themselves technical communicators
actually have degrees in TC or a similar discipline. They came into the
profession from other lines of work, and any formal training they received
was vocational in nature. Of those, only they who are STC members and/or
read professional journals are likely to know who the big names are and why
their work is significant to them.

That being said, I graduated Tennessee Tech with a B.S. in Technical
Communcation. The only name I remember from those days was Joann Hackos,
because her work figured prominently into the curriculum. I have friends at
Mercer University who used her "Managing the Documentation Process" as their
text. She may not be "famous" in the way that everyone who practices TC
knows her, but she seems to be the strongest presence in TC as an academic
discipline.

Are there other TC graduates out there who left school retaining a few
famous names? I'm curious.

Curtis Matthews
-----Original Message-----
From: Bill Hartzer [mailto:BHartzer -at- cha-systems -dot- com]
Sent: Monday, November 15, 1999 12:59 PM
To: TECHWR-L
Subject: Famous Technical Writers?


Hi all,

A recent discussion among technical writers at my company brought up the
following topic:

Are there any famous technical writers?
Has anyone ever become famous by being a technical writer?

Right now, the only "famous" technical writer I can think of would be
Joanne Hackos, who, in my book, has become "famous" by writing great
technical writing books. But that's only my opinion.

The technical writing industry has been around for a while, but is still
considered
by some to be "new." I know there are famous scientists, famous
pediatricians,
and famous football players, but is the technical writing industry 'big"
enough yet
so that we've created famous technical writers? Has our industry created any
famous people?

If you're subscribed to this list, and you ARE a famous technical writer,
has anyone
ever asked you for your autograph?

Cordially,
Bill Hartzer


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