Frank R. Smith Award

Technical Communication, the Society’s journal, publishes articles about the practical application of technical communication theory and serves as a common arena for discussion by practitioners. Technical Communication includes both quantitative and qualitative research while showcasing the work of some of the field’s most noteworthy writers.

The Frank R. Smith outstanding journal article award recognizes the authors of exceptional articles that appeared in Technical Communication during a calendar year. Since 1966, STC has paid tribute to the authors whose contributions have made Technical Communication one of the most highly respected journals devoted to the arts and sciences of technical communication.

Judges base their decisions on the article’s content and form. Content is judged on the degree to which it represents contributions to new knowledge, new perspectives, or practical communication applications or techniques. Form is judged by the degree to which it embodies effective and appropriate organization; apt language and correct grammar; relevant and meaningful tables and illustrations; and spirit of vibrancy, intensity, conviction, or enthusiasm in transmitting information.


2017 Honorees for Outstanding Article

Charles Kostelnick 
for his article, “The Re-Emergence of Emotional Appeals in Interactive Data Visualization” in the May 2016 issue of Technical Communication.

Citation: For the author’s thorough review of data visualization from historical practice to modern usage, presented in clear language and with effective graphics. The article is not only of educational and historical. interest, but also reveals shifts and trends that directly affect both the teaching and practice of our profession.


2017 Honorees for Distinguished Article

Rebecca Walton, Robin E. Mays, and Mark Haselkorn for their article “Enacting Humanitarian Culture: How Technical Communication Facilitates Successful Humanitarian Work” in the May 2016 issue of Technical Communication.

Citation: For a compelling reminder of how our work in technical communication can directly help people.


2017 Honorees for Distinguished Article

Carlos Evia and Michael Priestley for their article “Structured Authoring without XML: Evaluating Lightweight DITA for Technical Communication” in the February 2016 issue of Technical Communication.

Citation: For lucidly cutting through the jargon and hype and presenting practical alternatives to XML.

Nomination process

Please consult the guidelines for the complete nomination process.

Who is eligible: Technical Communication authors

Who may nominate: Frank R. Smith Award Committee

Due date for nominations: 31 March 2018

Honorees notified: After vote by STC Board of Directors

Award Presented: At the Honors Event at the STC Technical Communication Summit 

The Frank R. Smith Guidelines.

Previous winners of the Frank R. Smith Award


Frank R. Smith Commitee Chair: Alan Houser

Technical Communication Editor: Sam Dragga, PhD