Archive for the 'STC' Category

7th Annual Rocket City Technical Communication Conference March 10!


Join STC Huntsville/North Alabama for our annual half-day technical communication conference on Saturday, March 10! This year’s theme is “The Next Horizons of Technical Communication,” and we will feature presenters from MSFC, SAIC, Media Fusion, Calibre, Curse Inc, Geeks and Nerds, and more! This event offers insightful presentations, great networking opportunities, and food!

7th Annual Rocket City Technical Communication Conference
“The Next Horizons of Technical Communication”
March 10, 2018, 9:00 am – 12:00 pm, with lunch following
Shelby Center (SST), UAH campus.
$10 for students and members, $20 for non-members.

You can email Ryan Weber at if you want to register early and pay in advance.


3rd Annual Rocket City Technical Communication Conference!

The STC Huntsville/NA is proud to announce the 3rd annual Rocket City Technical Communication Conference. The event will be held April 19, 2014 from 8:00-1:00 in the Shelby Center on the UAH campus. Panels will cover topics like starting a tech writing freelance business, using social media, working with SMEs, writing in multimedia, and more! Registration is $20 for non-members and $10 for members and students. Lunch is included! Join us for this great learning and networking event!


2013 STC Rocket City Technical Communication Conference


Join STC Huntsville/North Alabama for our annual Rocket City Technical Communication Conference on Saturday, April 20! The event provides a great chance for current and aspiring technical communicators to gain knowledge and participate in networking. Presentation topics include working with SMEs, developing soft skills, improving user help,  developing your resume, and making connections with local organizations. The conference will be held at the Shelby Center on the UAH campus. Registration begins at 8:00 and presentations begin at 8:30. Breakfast snacks, coffee, and lunch will be provided. Registration is $20 for non-members and $10 for members and students. Contact Ryan Weber at for information and early registration.

Journalism, Tech Comm, and the Skills in Between

As a broadcast news major in undergrad, I never thought I’d be in a technical communication program. But if there’s one thing you learn about Huntsville, Alabama: The technology field is a major industry here in the Rocket City, and the more technical skills you possess, the more marketable you are in this town. But with a degree in broadcast journalism, the most I knew about technical communication was how to communicate and operate a video camera….Or so I thought. But as a technical communication student, I’m learning that I have more skills that translate to technical communication than I thought.

If you too are a journalist attempting to break into the field, identify what skills you possess, and how to apply them to technical communication. Here are some overlapping skills that both journalists and technical communicators have, according to a blog post by Scott Nesbitt entitled: “Tech Writing and Journalism: Yes, There are Parallels” on the DMN Communications blog.



According Nesbitt, “Writing is a key factor in technical communication and journalism. You don’t need to be a great stylist to be an effective technical writer or journalist, though. You need to be able to write clearly and write tightly.”

Basically, write concisely. If you’re an editorial journalist who writes for print media, this may be a little bit of an adjustment. But if you’ve ever written for television news, this is right up your alley. Use the simplest form of words to make your audience understand. Assume that no one knows what you are talking about unless you explain it to them because in most cases, they really won’t understand.



This is a skill you probably didn’t even know you would need as a technical communicator. But interviewing can play a just as big, if not bigger, role in technical communication as writing can. As Nesbitt puts it, “ …you need to know how to ask the right questions, and not be afraid to ask dumb ones. On top of that, you’ll need to know how to gently draw answers out of reluctant interviewees and to spot tangents that are worth following during an interview.”

As a technical writer, you will have to interview the technical professionals in your organization, so that the information that you are distributing to the user is correct and most efficient. You won’t know this information if you don’t ask the technical professional. And you have to be sure that the questions you’re asking will provide the information that users need to know.



Journalists are known for finding the information we need to obtain, whether it’s handed to them on a silver platter by very cooperative forces, or if they have to dig around and investigate for themselves. According to Nesbitt, researching “ can take many forms: looking at design documents, reading up on subjects like virtualization, or even going over documentation for products that are similar to the ones we’re writing about.

All in all, transitioning from journalism to being technical communication student hasn’t been as bad as I thought it would be. Sure there are some aspects of it that I never would’ve probably seen in news, such as learning computer programming, or learning the inner workings of an engineering firm, but all in all, it has been smooth sailing… so far.

-NiCarla Friend

Great Open-Source XML Editor

Technical writers may be interested in XML Copy Editor, a free open-source XML editor available at the following link:

Writers using DITA may also find Writing Technically’s three-part series on DITA very helpful. For a more comprehensive look at DITA, check out this complete list of acceptable DITA tags.

Webinar on “Conveying Messages with Graphs”

The Society for Technical Communication and the UAHuntsville Business and Technical Writing Program are happy to host the upcoming webinar “Conveying Messages with Graphs.” The webinar will be held on Wednesday, September 12 from 12:30-2:00 in Salmon Library 335 on the UAHuntsville campus. The event is relevant for anyone who works with graphs and visuals, and the event is free to the public.

STC Rocket City Technical Communication Conference, Saturday, April 21!

Please join the Society for Technical Communication at the first Rocket City Technical Communication Conference: Techniques and Trends. The event will be held Saturday, April 21 from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm in the Shelby Center on the UAH campus. Topics covered include soft skills for technical communicators, grant and proposal writing, and trends in the Huntsville area. Admission is $25 for non-STC members and FREE for STC members and students. Contact Cynthia Brasher at to register. More information is available on the STC website.