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President's Message
1996, February (June 18, 2008)
By Bill Albing

Despite the Blizzard of ’96, Mary Wise, our regional Director-Sponsor, spoke to us about setting and achieving goals. This is a big part of our work as a chapter. I hope each of you has individually set career goals. Remember, our Job Bank is alive and well, and you don’t have to be out of work before submitting a resume.

In February, we can pat ourselves on the back as we recognize fellow technical communicators at our Awards Banquet. We’ll honor those who won awards for the Pubs and Online Competitions. Perhaps in the future, the Online Competition will be part of the Pubs Competition. We work in many media these days, and online documents are just as important and valid as hard copy publications.

Then in March, it’s back to work with George, a software product from Unipress that automatically creates software documentation from source code. Is technical writing dead? Last month I said our profession is changing and writing is only one component of it. But did technical writing ever really exist? To write effectively, you must experience a subject and make it a part of you. How many of us have had the time to live with our subject matter? Yes, we are better at interviewing subject matter experts, but with shorter time-to-market, we have less chance to work with the technology. If writing is only about interviewing, researching, and reformatting, then where is the challenge? How many of us can really understand an entire telephone system or complex drug delivery system?

STC provides a forum for us to organize and articulate these issues. You can write about these and publish them in our newsletter; you can meet in small groups called Professional Interest Committees (PICs); you can get some programs discussing these issues:
  • intellectual property rights
  • growing connectivity of digital info
  • MS Windows as de facto user interface
  • our educational system and its failures
  • literacy
  • the Information Superhighway
  • virtual learning and virtual corporations
  • professional accreditation (certification)
  • standards for graphics, indexing, etc.

I’d like to see our Chapter start addressing these issues.

How many of you can arrange to participate in a teleconference at your company? STC is broadcasting a panel discussion, Publishing on the Internet, on February 28, but how many will get involved? I’m sure that BNR, NorTel, Fujitsu, IBM, and SAS have the capability, but how many of you writers would be willing to ask to use those facilities? Why not all of you? End of article.

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