Volume 42, Issue 8

April 2003


Features

Do Ethics Influence Your Documentation Deliverables?

by Jeff Staples, Information Developer, Kitba Consulting Services, L.P.

Are ethics in technical communication different from ethics in any other field? I would think that you either have ethics or you don't. Or perhaps you have ethics but your ethics change or are influenced by the situation or project.

In his book Ethics in Technical Communication, Paul Dombrowski identifies that one's ethics can be absolute (definite, unchanging, and inflexible) or relative (changing in relation to the situation) (Dombrowski, 11).

Before reading Dombrowski's book, when I thought of ethics-related situations, I thought of recent incidents in the workplace. These incidents involved management-related conflicts, such as managers not standing behind the word of their subordinates. However, I should have thought differently, based on another recent incident that reflects more on ethics in relation to the tech comm field.

In speaking with my doc group editor, she mentioned that some writers "were pulling information off the web and dropping the information directly into their documents, without referencing their source." When questioned, the writers responded, "Isn't the information on the Web in the public domain?" This particular editor was very knowledgeable in copyright issues. She has worked to educate the writers on do's and don'ts when using text resources, whether from the web or print, and has seen a decrease in practices of this type.

Dombrowski relates ethics with technical communication to the information provided in the documentation and how the information conveys the technology presented. Maybe I hadn't thought about my ethical role in delivering technical communication because I had envisioned my role as a technical communicator in more of the historical sense.

As Dombrowski describes, until recent years technical communication was viewed "as the articulation and dissemination of information about technology—the technology and information being assumed given" (Dombrowski, 2). Based on this definition, the ethics responsibility is more with the person providing the technical content rather than the person creating the documentation.

"Ethics is always involved in technical communication, though only in the last twenty or so years has it become an important topic in technical communication publications" (Dombrowski, ix). In recent years, technical communication has become more than just taking information and making it presentable. If given (or seizing) the opportunity, technical communicators can bring their expertise to the development process and, if included at the onset of development, can help deliver a more customer-focused product.

The technical communicator has become an information developer—researching and creating the content of the documentation deliverables that will accompany the product or service. Thus, if the technical communicator is creating information content rather than just reproducing the information given, the technical communicator also carries the ethical responsibility of the technical content delivered.

Have you faced ethical dilemmas while producing technical communication deliverables? If so, I would like to hear from you at jeffstaples1@yahoo.com. Currently taking a graduate class in ethics, I am interested in hearing about ethical incidents that other technical communicators have faced. Based on the responses I receive, I hope to have a future newsletter article on various ethical dilemmas faced by technical communicators.

References

Dombrowski, Paul M. Ethics in Technical Communication. Allyn & Bacon, 1999.

 


2003-2004 Chapter Elections

Candidates Election Links

For President: Jocelyn Williams
For Vice President: Cindy Pao
For Secretary: Monica Waddell
For Treasurer: Wayne Schmadeka
For Director: Phaedra Cook
For Director: Robin Jackson
For Director: Danell Landes
For Director: David Remson
For Director: Rebecca Taylor
For Director: Nicole Wycislo

STC Houston Election Bylaws
2003-2004 Ballot [PDF]

For President: Jocelyn Williams

Jocelyn has been a technical communicator for more than 10 years, developing print documentation, marketing collateral, and online Help for mainframe and web-based applications. She is a lead information developer for BMC Software in the DB2 Performance product area.

Jocelyn, a senior member, has been active with STC Houston since moving from Little Rock, Arkansas in May 1998. Her service to the chapter includes:

A winner of technical publications and online communication awards, Jocelyn participated as a judge for the international technical publications competition in 2002 and 2003. She is a book reviewer for the STC Technical Communication journal. Jocelyn recently assumed Region 5 webmaster responsibilities.

She served Arkansas STC as treasurer (1996-1998) and as technical publications competition judge (1994-1997). In 1994, Jocelyn presented Five Year Career Planning during a progression session at the STC annual conference in Minneapolis.

Jocelyn holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communications (Journalism emphasis) from Howard University in Washington, D.C. She has also completed graduate course work in technical communication.

If elected president, Jocelyn wants to help members recognize and demonstrate the value that they add in the work environment and the community.

For Vice President: Cindy Pao

Cindy Pao has been an information developer at BMC Software. for two-and-a-half years. Before she moved into the world of software-for-profit, Cindy was the lone technical writer in the IT department for Weatherford International, in Houston, and the Minneapolis office of Norwest Mortage. At these companies, she wrote user and systems documentation for internally developed applications.

Cindy has a Bachelor's degree in English from the University of Minnesota.

Cindy is currently serving as the director of programs. She was also the manager of the hospitality committee for the 2001 Region 5 Conference, and the manager of the 2001 Awards Banquet.

If elected vice president, Cindy intends to carry on the strong tradition of leadership established by Paul Mueller. Mentoring, technical education, and cross-occupational networking will be her priorities.

For Secretary: Monica Waddell

Monica Waddell has been an STC member since Fall 2000. She has served as a "mistress of fun" on the Hospitality committee for the STC Region 5 conference in 2001, as a judge in the STC technical publications competition in 2000 and 2002, and on the Programs committee this year.

Monica has nearly 15 years of experience in technical communication. Currently, she is an information developer at BMC Software and is responsible for documenting the installation utility for distributed systems software. Before joining BMC Software, Monica was a technical editor and writer at Exxon Production Research Company, where she was on a documentation team that produced an internal documentation style guide that won an Award of Excellence in the 1995 STC Technical Publications and Art competition.

Before Monica became a technical writer, she was a reporter/photographer for a weekly community newspaper and a copywriter/account executive/media buyer for a small advertising agency. She has a BA in Journalism from Stephen F. Austin State University.

For Treasurer: Wayne Schmadeka

Wayne Schmadeka, Ph.D., has been a member of STC since the mid-1990s, presented at the Region 5 Conference in New Mexico, and served as the STC Houston treasurer during the 2001-2003 fiscal years.

Wayne is an information developer at BMC Software. Prior to BMC, he was on the management team of Kitba Consulting Services, LP.

As STC Houston treasurer, Wayne will help the chapter remain fiscally healthy.

For Director: Phaedra Cook

Phaedra Cook is the lead designer and managing partner of Gecko Media. A member of STC since 2001, Phaedra has been in the technical communications field since 1994. She holds a certificate in Technical Communication from Houston Community College. She has completed many print design, web design, and editing projects for companies such as Marathon Oil, Stewart, EG&G, and Texas Instruments.

Phaedra was a 2003 Best of Show recipient in the STC Houston Technical Art Competition, and also garnered four other awards in the same year. She has been heavily involved as an STC Houston volunteer, especially with the competition, coordinating the judging of the Atlanta entries, tracking Houston winners and assisting with the STC Houston Awards Banquet.

Phaedra is the mother of three and will be celebrating her 10-year wedding anniversary in September. She is committed to the cause of animal rescue, and volunteers with HOPE (Homeless and Orphaned Pet Endeavor).

As a director, Phaedra will harness her experience and proven ability as a team leader for the benefit of STC Houston. In addition, she will promote the importance of graphics and visual communication in the technical communications field.

For Director: Robin Jackson

Robin Jackson is president of Ghostwriters, a communications company she founded in 2001. Excelling in all areas of written communication, Jackson has done everything from taglines and technical manuals to marketing materials and screen plays.

Combining a great writing talent with skills in business and people management, she has put together a portfolio that covers documentation, marketing, and training. Jackson has created value for such companies as Lotus, Compaq, cnbc.com, and wallstreetcity.com. She is now focusing her time and talent at helping startups and small businesses make the most of their message.

After working in technical communications for 10 years, she considers the 5 years with STC her most productive.

She served as a speaker at the 2001 Region 5 Conference in Houston. Her workshop, The Newly-Promoted Team Leader: Shifting Your Focus from Products to People, apparently met the needs of many participants. She is amazed at the enthusiastic response she continues to receive. Robin wants to continue to deliver practical and encouraging coaching to STC members and clients.

Robin was appointed planning director by the Administrative Council in 2003. She looks forward to serving the chapter again this term.

Robin Jackson attended Azusa Pacific University with a major in English and Biology. She lives in Houston with her husband, Kevin and son, Austin. In her (very small) amount of free time she enjoys reading, entertaining, and singing.

For Director: Danell Landes

Danell Landes, Ed.D., is a senior member of STC. She was a member of the Hospitality Committee for the Region 5 Conference and has served as a member of the Programs Committee this year.

Danell is an analyst at Shell Information Technology Inc. and has over 12 years experience as a technical writer. She worked for a number of corporations before accepting her present position in 1999.

Before she moved to Houston she directed a cooperative education program for engineering and technology students. She developed and taught three competency-based engineering courses, which required technical reports.

For Director: David Remson

David Remson is an information developer at NetIQ Corporation. He earned his degree from University of Texas at Austin and has worked as a technical communicator in the software industry for more than eight years.

David specializes in documenting security tools and processes, distributed applications, and proprietary protocols for audiences of software developers and security administrators. David's career highlights include working on the "original" Microsoft Windows 95 and Adobe PageMaker support teams, and he claims that these experiences "were not always pleasant, especially when users waited on hold for hours to talk to us, but they definitely trained me by fire and sparked my continued interest in usability and user advocacy."

David moved around the country to pursue his career goals, but he says that he was happy to remove his jacket and settle down back home in 2000. David has been an STC Houston member ever since. David has received multiple five-star accolades in Security Computing magazine as well as STC awards for his Unix and firewall product documentation published by PentaSafe Security Technologies, Inc., and NetIQ Corporation.

For Director: Rebecca Taylor

Rebecca Taylor has been an active STC member since she joined the New Mexico Tech (NMT) Student Chapter in 1997. She served as the NMT chapter president for two years. Under her leadership, the chapter received a Chapter Achievement Award in 1999. Her most treasured memento from the NMT chapter is the Distinguished Chapter Service Award that she received in 1999.

Rebecca moved to Houston in 1999 and became active with the Houston chapter when Melanie Flanders and Nicole Wycislo recruited her to act as the Region 5 Conference publications committee manager. In 2001, Rebecca became the managing editor for Dateline Houston. She also served as the STC Houston director of communications for the 2002-2003 program year.

Rebecca is a product marketing analyst at Hewlett-Packard. She is passionate about encouraging and empowering her colleagues to embrace evolving technology to communicate better and more often. Since her college adventure is still fresh in her memory, she is also eager to help students find a home in STC and the technical communication profession.

As director, Rebecca will seek innovative ways to provide members with a positive and rewarding STC experience.

For Director: Nicole Wycislo

Nicole Wycislo is a senior member of STC and has been active with STC Houston since 1992. In 2001, she served as general manager of the STC Region 5 Conference. This year, Nicole is serving as seminar committee manager and programs committee member.

Over the past 10 years, Nicole served the chapter in various leadership positions, from student committee manager to director. She has also served as a member on various committees, including nominations, recognition, and strategic planning. In addition, Nicole has judged the technical publications, art, and online competition as well as Science Writing competition of the Houston Science and Engineering Fair. She has spoken at conferences, chapter meetings, university groups, and high school classes on technical communication. In 2000, Nicole was presented with the Distinguished Chapter Service Award.

Nicole is president of Verb Consulting, Inc., a creator of information solutions for technology and business. She has over 10 years experience in technical communication. Nicole earned a degree in Professional Writing from the University of Houston-Downtown and has done graduate work at Houston Baptist University.

Nicole believes that STC should be the foundation for professional growth and development for our members. She is committed to working with members to design, develop, and implement resources that support us in producing results with our careers.

STC Houston Election Bylaws

Article VIII—Elections
Section 5. Voting and Election

Officers are elected by a majority of Chapter members voting, in person or by proxy. If no majority is obtained on the first ballot for an office, a second ballot is taken to decide by plurality among the two or more candidates who received the greatest number of votes on the preceding ballot, or to decide ties. Directors are elected by a plurality of the votes cast, in person or by proxy. If a tie occurs, additional ballots are cast to decide the winner. To be valid, a proxy transferring the voting privilege of one voting member to another must be signed by the member who grants the proxy and must be presented to the tellers committee before the ballots are cast. A proxy authorizing another member to vote in person for the absent member will be honored on every ballot; a proxy designating a specific candidate will be honored only on the first ballot for any office. The tellers committee is responsible for determining the validity of votes cast (including proxies), for counting the votes, and for announcing the election results.

 


Employment Information at STC's 50th Annual Conference

by Jeffrey A. Randolph, Manager, STC Employment Information Committee, Orange County Chapter

Looking for a job? Looking for technical communicators? If you answered yes to either question, take advantage of the Employment Information Booth at STC's 50th Annual Conference in Dallas, May 18-21. The booth will open at noon on Sunday, May 18, and will remain open during registration hours, closing mid-morning on Wednesday, May 21.

If you are looking for a job, send your résumé for employers to examine at the booth. Whether or not you attend the conference, your résumé or job posting can be included in the Employment Information Booth, and you can receive job postings after the conference.

Résumé Books

Résumés from job seekers will be organized into binders for the following U.S. and Canadian regions and for countries outside North America:

Region 1: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Brunswick, Newfoundland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Pennsylvania [east], Prince Edward Island, Quebec, Rhode Island, Vermont

Region 2: Delaware, Maryland, North Carolina, Pennsylvania [south central], Virginia, Washington, DC, West Virginia

Region 3: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina, Tennessee

Region 4: Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania [west]

Region 5: Arizona, Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah

Region 6: Iowa, Kansas, Manitoba, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Saskatchewan, South Dakota, Wisconsin

Region 7: Alaska, Alberta, British Columbia, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington, Wyoming

Region 8: California, Hawaii, Nevada

Countries outside North America: All countries outside North America are placed in the same employment binder.

To have your résumé included in the binders, do the following:

Properly prepare your résumé. Take care to correctly identify the STC acronym (Society for Technical Communication).

Print your résumé on one sheet of paper. Print double-sided if your résumé is longer than one page. Résumés printed on more than one sheet are difficult for employers to see in the binders.

On the top right corner of the page, note the regions or country where you would consider accepting employment. Use the numbers from the list of regions. If you are interested in working outside North America, write the country name that interests you.

Make six copies of your résumé for each region. For example, if you want your résumé included in two regions, make twelve copies (six for each region).

Place six copies in one plastic sheet protector that is punched for three-hole binders. If you are interested in more than one region, place six copies in one plastic sheet protector for each region. (Visualize employers looking at the front and back of your résumé in the plastic sheet protector and slipping out a copy.)

Mail the résumé packets to the address at the end of this article on or before May 2, or bring them to the Employment Information Booth at the conference.

Job Postings

The Employment Information Booth at STC's 50th Annual Conference offers employers an excellent opportunity to advertise jobs and find qualified professionals.

Job seekers will pick up job postings at the Employment Information Booth or have the postings mailed to them after the conference.

Booth Services

The Employment Information Booth is a self-service operation. Employers can take copies of résumés from the binders, and job seekers can read the job postings and take copies of the ones that interest them. Job seekers and employers can contact one another through a message board. Volunteers monitor the booth to replenish job postings or résumés. If you are interested in volunteering two hours of your time during this conference, please e-mail me at erandolp@ix.netcom.com.

Job Postings Available after the Conference

If you want copies of the job postings mailed to you after the conference, please send a stamped ($3.50 in U.S. postage), self-addressed, 9-1/2 x 12-1/2 envelope to:

Jeffrey A. Randolph
STC Employment Information Committee Manager
22181 Lantern Lane
Lake Forest CA 92630

Regular Features

Volunteer of the Month

Jennifer Smith

by Dorothy Murray, Senior Technical Writer, Sercel, Inc

Jennifer Smith, a new STC member, is Volunteer of the Month for April for her work on the Awards banquet. She wrote the announcement letters to winners and nonwinners; created the winner verification form for the banquet program, award certificates, and slide show; designed the Best of Show desk awards; created the winner award certificates; and developed the additional award certificate order form. According to Deborah Silvi, competitions general manager, Jennifer is "a project manager's dream. She's extremely self-sufficient, always proactive. She's always upbeat and positive, never critical or negative. She feels strongly about providing quality work, even when it's volunteer STC work at no pay."

Jennifer is "a project manager's dream. She's extremely self-sufficient, always proactive."

Jennifer received a B.A. degree in English, with a minor in Journalism, from the University of Houston. She began her technical writing career as editorial assistant for the Oil & Gas Journal. After working as news editor for Offshore Magazine, she returned to the Oil & Gas Journal as online news editor. Jennifer recently joined Schlumberger Oilfield Services in Sugar Land as technical editor in the Marketing & Communications department.

Schlumberger has consistently won awards in the annual STC Awards Competition, and her colleagues persuaded Jennifer to join STC. She immediately volunteered to help with the banquet, and her professionalism was a great asset. According to president George Slaughter, "One reason that STC Houston has been so successful over the years is because we have so many new volunteers getting involved. Jennifer Smith is an example. She brought great enthusiasm to her role with the banquet team; she really helped out and made a difference."

Jennifer and her husband are enthusiastic members of the Society for Creative Anachronism, which researches and recreates pre-17th -century European history. They attend classes to learn dances of the Middle Ages and Renaissance. The organization performs the dances at schools, churches, and fairs to educate people about their cultural heritage from 600-1600 A.D. Jennifer produces the Two Towers, the newsletter for the Barony of the Stargate (Houston area).

STC Houston is pleased to honor Jennifer Smith as April 2003 Volunteer of the Month.


Letter from Linda

A Guide to Chapter Achievement

by Linda Oestreich, Region 5 Director-Sponsor

I hope all chapter leaders keep an eye on the "STC 2003 at a Glance: Timetable for Chapter Leaders" piece that appeared in the January 2003 Tieline. This handy timetable gives you due dates and hints that you should know about for all kinds of activities, competitions, and reports. One of the items for March reads, "Submit chapter achievement award report to director-sponsor."

The underlying goal of the chapter achievement award (CAA) program is to encourage chapters to pursue activities that create a healthy chapter. Chapters are healthy when they conduct activities that, among other things, expand community, enrich membership services, provide recognition and leadership opportunities, communicate with members and the community, and relate to Society programs.

These ultimate goals are supported by a sample of activities that appears in the guidelines for the CAA (www.stc.org/PDF_Files/Ad-29-02.pdf). Each year, chapters can tally their activities by checking off items that they complete that appear in the guidelines. That checklist, along with supporting material, can be submitted to your director-sponsor to qualify for achievement awards. The first level of achievement is a Chapter of Merit; the second level is a Chapter of Excellence, and those chapters who complete most of the requirements in the full list qualify for the third level of achievement—the Chapter of Distinction. Often, two or more chapters meet the requirements, yet the guidelines state that the Board of Directors can choose only one in each size category.

As a result of this process, the award has come to be thought of as a competition among chapters. Chapter presidents often feel their year of leadership is unsuccessful if they do not bring home this award. Chapters that do receive it can become somewhat big-headed, and rather than hold events that will enhance a particular chapter's immediate needs, some chapters' ultimate goal becomes one of checking off as many activities as possible—sometimes without concern for the quality of those activities.

Not every chapter chooses to join this race. Some chapters, perhaps put off by this frenzy of competition, consider the whole thing too daunting to undertake and ignore the CAA guidelines completely. Other chapters won't even consider submitting their forms for Merit or Excellence levels, because they believe that if they can't compete at the Distinction level, that they shouldn't bother at all.

So, why do you look to the CAA guidelines if it's not to try to win? Because the activities it suggests offer you a roadmap to success. It gives you ideas of things you can aspire to and it awakens thoughts for projects for your chapter that aren't even on the list! The guidelines say that you can substitute other activities for those that are listed. STC made that provision because your ideas and activities can reach so much farther than any list could ever match. When you do something not specifically listed, look to the supporting activity and see if what you are substituting still accomplishes the same overall goal. If it does, you can be sure your director-sponsor will approve the substitution!

The CAA guidelines can help your chapter increase teamwork, cohesiveness, and accomplishment. They can provide targets for those of you who need to be challenged and reinforcement of jobs well done for those of you who can only afford, whether through budget or people-power, to do a select group of activities. In the long run, it is the activities you do well that help you achieve distinction. Give yourself credit where it's due. Gain from knowing what the activities on the guidelines are and reach for them...but do it with grace and professionalism and tailor the guidelines to your chapter's needs. Just checking off an item that may have been done hurriedly or poorly won't help the overall goal of the program: to create healthy chapters.

If, as you plan your chapter activities, you choose not to use the guidelines because you do not care for awards or do not believe your chapter could win, look at them again. Don't compete. Use the guidelines as a map to the growth, success, and health of your chapter, not as a means to win an award. And, if you qualify for a Chapter of Merit award, or Excellence, or even Distinction along the way, consider it a bonus. You will have deserved it.

May each of your chapters be healthy!


From the President

Honoring the DCSA winners

by George Slaughter, Senior Technical Writer, The Integrity Group

More good news for STC Houston! Three of our colleagues have received individual honors recently, and this month we'd like to tell you about the award and those who have won it.

Distinguished Chapter Service Award

The Distinguished Chapter Service Award acknowledges the work of chapter members who provide exemplary service to the Society through their dedication to the chapter and its activities. This is the second consecutive year in which STC Houston has had three award winners, and the second consecutive year in which a member of our Louisiana satellite has been recognized.

STC Houston thanks its regional director-sponsor, Linda Oestreich, for joining us at the March program meeting to talk about the awards and to personally recognize our award recipients.

Introducing the Winners

Steve Brunet might not be well-known to STC Houstonians, but he is very active with our Louisiana satellite. He has served in a number of leadership positions there. Steve is a documentation manager at APPRO Systems in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Gary Foster is perhaps best known today for his innovative leadership of the Employment Committee, but long-time members know that he's held a number of other chapter positions, including president in 1987-1988. Gary is a senior documentation manager at Kitba Consulting Services, L.P.

Jocelyn Williams been active in a number of chapter activities. She has served on the STC Houston Administrative Council as vice president, competitions director, and currently serves as assistant to the president. People have recognized Jocelyn's leadership abilities and she has accepted nomination to serve as chapter president next year. Jocelyn is a lead information developer at BMC Software.

Recognizing Our People

STC Houston is about people working together to create an atmosphere where you, the chapter membership, can be successful. People like Steve, Gary, and Jocelyn have long made their mark in this regard.

STC Houston is pleased to congratulate Steve, Gary, and Jocelyn on their well-deserved honors!


From the Editor

Stroll Down Memory Lane

by Rebecca Taylor, Product Marketing Analyst, Hewlett-Packard Company

I was cleaning out some of my files a while ago and came across old school work that I had packed away. Yes, I am the world's biggest pack rat—I still have my science fair paper from the 6th grade!

Out of curiosity, I sat and read through my old papers, ranging from 6th grade through college. It was astonishing to think that the ill-formed hypothesis and summary in that 6th grade paper was a product of mine. And it was even more astonishing to find that throughout my high school years, I never developed a sense of good writing (or writing that I take to be good now).

So somewhere in college, a switch flipped and I became a writer and communicator. I reached a point where I was good, but I was also passionate about it. To this day I don't know exactly what it was that opened the door for me, that flipped that switch. All I know is that it was timing (perhaps it was that terrifying Calculus II class, which convinced me that astrophysics would never make me happy!) and a few awe-inspiring mentors whose enthusiasm and talent drew me in. I honestly believe that had it not been for those professors, technical communication would not have presented itself to me.

When did you find technical communication? Is there a special mentor or group of mentors who made a lasting impact on your life and profession? I'd love to hear your stories! Send them to me at newsletter@stc-houston.org.

Chapter News

April Program Meeting

Industries Panel: Jacks of All Trades

April's STC Houston Program Meeting will show you that technical communicators write more products than user documentation for computer hardware and software. We truly are Jacks of All Trades, so join us in April as we explore some of the many fields where we reign supreme!

The following topics will be presented:

Chapter Elections

We will be holding chapter elections, so be sure to cast your vote! See the candidate bios and a sample ballot in this newsletter.

Students Attend Free!

To encourage student members to attend, we are waiving the registration fee. Hope to see you there!

Send your questions to Cindy Pao at cindypao@earthlink.net.

Place:

Hilton Houston Westchase and Towers
9999 Westheimer Road

Date:

Tuesday, April 8

Time:

5:30 p.m. networking (hors d’oeuvres)
6:20 p.m. announcements
6:30 p.m. program

Cost:

$10 (members)
$13 (nonmembers)
$3 (student and unemployed members)
$6 (student non-members)

Drawing:

A drawing for various prizes is held at the end of each general meeting. Proceeds benefit the Marx Isaacs Student Scholarship Fund.


STC Houston Wins Public Relations Award

by Rebecca Taylor, Product Marketing Analyst, Hewlett-Packard Company

For the third year in a row, STC Houston has received an award in the STC public relations competition! This year, we received a merit award in the promotional communications category. Among the items submitted in the entry were chapter news releases, newsletter articles, and Web pages promoting the chapter competitions.

I'd like to recognize several people who played direct roles in our award-winning chapter communications:

Several judges mentioned how impressed they were by how we use several communication tools to promote activities. Judges were also pleased with the consistent use of STC and chapter brand elements.

Although we received many compliments, it is clear to me that we have room to improve. The judges provided a few tips for improvement, but I would also like to hear from you about what we can do to make chapter communications work better. If you have any suggestions, please contact me at beccataylor@spamcop.net.


Volunteer Honor Roll

"Ninety percent of success in life is just showing up." It's a simple philosophy, but one that continues to drive the success of our chapter.

Thank you to the following members who've "showed up" over the past month.

Lori Buffum
Phaedra Cook
Deborah Crockett
Jaleh Fiers
Melanie G. Flanders
Mary Gwynne
Tanya Handy
Terry Lambert
Julia Land
Ann Liggio
Melody Locke
Deborah Long
Errol Mayer
Paul Mueller
Dorothy Murray
Melinda Patrick
Janette Sexton
Deborah Silvi
Jennifer Smith
Jeff Staples
Ann Sumanth
Rebecca Taylor
Jocelyn Williams

Did we miss you? Please e-mail Rene Gedaly at rene.gedaly@clearwriting.biz or contact your committee manager.

Society & Industry News

STC News

New Sigma Tau Chi Members

STC has just announced the new members of Sigma Tau Chi. Sigma Tau Chi, the STC honorary fraternity, recognizes students enrolled in a technical communication program who have a cumulative grade point average of 3.5 or above, are exemplary in participation in STC, and demonstrate a potential for significant contribution to the profession.

Here's the link on the STC site with the names of the Sigma Tau Chi inductees: www.stc.org/sigma_members.asp. Four of the five graduate recipients are from Region 5!

Houston Member Receives SIG Service Award

Jeff Staples has been named the recipient of the Distinguished SIG Service Award (DSSA).

This is a Society-level award designed to recognize sustained contribution to STC special interest groups.

Jeff was recognized for his significant contributions to the Quality SIG newsletter, DocQment, over the past 12 months. He led the effort to move the newsletter from print to online. Jeff is always willing to work with SIG members to develop articles for the newsletter, and this has led to an increase in the number of members contributing to the newsletter. Jeff has also been visible to SIG members via frequent contributions to our listserv. He has also published articles in other STC publications, most recently in the April 2003 issue of Tieline.

Jeff's citation reads:

In recognition of your work to revitalize the Quality SIG, and in your dedication to DocQment, our quarterly newsletter.

Congratulations, Jeff!

STC@50

STC has created a web site to commemorate its 50th anniversary. Visit www.stc.org/STC@50 today to read anecdotes from other STC members, share your own memories with your colleagues, and see pictures of "the way things used to be."


Educational Opportunities

Content Management Strategies Conference

Washington, DC, April 28-29

JoAnn Hackos and the Center for Information-Development Management announce the Content Management Strategies Conference in Washington, DC, April 28-29.

Speakers include industry expert consultants, tools developers, and people working on real content-management and single-sourcing projects. You'll learn about providing usable information, developing the information model, planning for dynamic delivery and personalization, implementing industry standards, collaborating for reuse, and ROI measuring, in addition to hearing case studies from companies who have successfully implemented content management or single sourcing.

For the first time, you'll also be able to attend a postconference workshop, April 30, to learn the steps to take in implementing your own single-source solution. JoAnn will guide you through the necessary steps to bring single sourcing and content management to your organization.

You'll be able to get valuable information and see demonstrations by leading content management vendors, such as Documentum, Arbortext, Progressive Information Technologies, X.Systems, Software AG, and more, who will be exhibiting at the conference.

For more information, go to the conference web site at: www.cm-strategies.com or contact:

Gretchen Marks
Comtech Services, Inc.
303.232.7586
gretchen.marks@comtech-serv.com


Networking Opportunities

If you have a networking opportunity to share, please tell us! Go to www.stc-houston.org/contacteditor.htm.

Volume 42, Issue 8

April 2003