Category: February 2012

2012 Preconference Program

The 2012 Summit will include preconference workshops and tutorials, as well as certificate sessions; all require separate registration and fees. The preconference schedule will take place on 19 and 20 May; dates and times will be posted to The preconference workshops are $250 for members and $500 for nonmembers, while the certificate courses include conference registration and cost $1,495 for members and $1,995 for nonmembers. Registration for the certificate courses (not including conference registration) is $725 and $1,295, respectively. Visit for further details and to register. Preconference Certificate Sessions All four certificate sessions are two-day sessions, scheduled for… Read the rest

Meet the Candidates

The STC election is scheduled to begin 9 March and end at 5:00 PM EDT (GMT-4) on 30 March. In March, voting instructions and ballots will be mailed to members who selected this option on their 2012 applications and renewal forms. All other members will be emailed instructions for accessing the online ballot. Please note, STC bylaws specify that the Vice President automatically becomes President the following year. Alan Houser automatically succeeds to the office of President from his previous office of Vice President. Therefore, he does not appear on the ballot this year. NOTE:  All STC members must have… Read the rest

Technical Communication Summit Session Descriptions

STC presents the preliminary listing of sessions for the 2012 Summit, being held 20–23 May in Rosemont, Illinois. The listing includes session titles, speakers, and descriptions. This list will be updated online (see as more sessions and speakers are added to the conference. Conference education sessions below are included with your registration. There are 10 tracks offered, organized to best suit your needs. Below are the sessions by track and alphabetized by session title within each track. A future issue of Intercom will have the preliminary program schedule by date and time. Project Showcase Session The Project Showcase sessions… Read the rest

A Note from the Editor

—Liz Pohland I frequently hear concerns from technical communicators about increased pressure to prove their value to hiring managers and employers. But I often wonder how this can be accomplished amidst such rapid technological change, advancements in how we manage content, and outdated or poorly written job descriptions. Two articles in this issue suggest ways we might approach the concern. In their article, “TechCom 2.0: Reinventing Our Relevance in the 2000s,” Jack Molisani and Scott Abel explain how, as a result of the exciting and rapid changes in technology, technical communicators must learn new skills and market themselves in… Read the rest

Off Hours: Technical Communication and Stamp Collecting

By Ravikumar Babu | Member I got hooked on stamps ever since I first saw them when I was a kid, but little did I know that collecting stamps would be useful in my career. As a technical writer for software applications, I spend a significant amount of time information gathering. In many instances, I am called at the last moment with very little time to pull up my socks and get productive. There have been situations in which the requirements and design documents did not exist or were not up to date. In these situations, I had to get… Read the rest

Mark Your Calendar

Organization events across the globe F.Y.I. lists information about nonprofit ventures only. Please send information to 9 March The Philadelphia Metro Chapter of STC hosts the Mid-Atlantic Technical Communication Conference and Workshop at the Giant Conference Center in Willow Grove, PA. For more information, please contact: STC-PMC 21–25 March The American Society for Information Science and Technology (ASIS&T) will hold the IA Summit at the Hyatt Regency in New Orleans, LA. For more information, contact: ASIS&T 26–28 March The Globalization and Localization Association (GALA) will host its annual conference at the Le Méridien Beach Plaza in… Read the rest

Business Matters: Marketing Bingo (Part 2)

This column explores the joys and challenges of managing your own technical communication business. Please share your experience and ideas. Contact Bette Frick at By Elizabeth (Bette) Frick | Fellow In my last column, we covered the first blocks on the Marketing Bingo card, available at In that column, I argued that a coherent marketing plan using Marketing Bingo would produce a steady income flow and new opportunities for independents. I have seen steady growth in my net income using Marketing Bingo, and my individual contracts have been larger and more enjoyable than in the past. In this… Read the rest

The Essentials: Technical Communication’s Value Proposition

This column is a quick reference guide exploring “essential” technical communication topics. Please send questions or comments to Nicky Bleiel at Follow her on Twitter @nickybleiel. By Nicky Bleiel | Senior Member STC defines technical communicator to the Bureau of Labor Statistics as follows: “Develop and design instructional and informational tools needed to assure safe, appropri­ate and effective use of science and technology, intellectual property, and manufactured products and services. Combine multi-media knowledge and strong communication skills with tech­nical expertise to educate across the en­tire spectrum of users’ abilities, techni­cal experience, and visual and auditory capabilities.” Technical communicators increase… Read the rest

Off the Beaten Path in Chicago

By Linda Kelley | Senior Member If you’ve already done Navy Pier, Millennium Park, and the Tower formerly known as Sears the last time you visited Chicago, or if your tastes just naturally lean toward the quirky, you might want to explore some of the less common visitor options Chicago has to offer. Organized Tours If you’re looking to supplement the official Summit Second City Theatre event and the River View Architectural Tour, the following companies have some interesting offerings. Chicago Detours offers an “Inside the Loop: Explore the Unexpected” tour several times a week. “Inside the Loop” is a… Read the rest