Frank R. Smith Award for Outstanding Journal Article

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.

Honorees notified: After vote by STC Board of Directors

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

Nomination Process

Consult the guidelines for the complete nomination process.


Technical Communication authors are eligible.

Who may nominate: Frank R. Smith Award Committee

2021 Honorees for Outstanding Article

Dr. Ryan Boettger and Dr. Erin Friess for their article, “Content and Authorship Patterns in Technical Communication Journals (1996-2017: A Quantitative Content Analysis” in the November 2020 issue of Technical Communication.

Citation: For their rigorous review and statistical analyses of 672 journal articles in the five leading technical communication journals. The results provide exceptionally useful data for considering the future of the field.

2021 Honoree for Distinguished Journal Article

Dr. Charles Kostelnick for his article “The Art of Visual Design: The Rhetoric of Aesthetics in Technical Communication” in the November 2020 issue of Technical Communication.

Citation: Charles Kostelnick not only expands upon his voluminous past research on visual thinking but opens new avenues of research. This masterful and ambitious article will be a standard for years to come.