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.

2013 Honoree for Outstanding Article



Hanna Jochmann-Mannak, Leo Lentz, Theo Huibers, and Ted Sanders for their article, “Three Types of Children’s Informational Web Sites: An Inventory of Design Conventions” in the November 2012 issue of Technical Communication.

Citation: For its focus on the core tenets of technical communication (audience analysis, use cases and scenarios, and information design); for analyzing a large corpus of children’s websites to identify and better understand what design conventions exist today; and for putting this research in the context of one of the most interesting literature reviews that described the cognitive development of children and its impact on general website design principles on scanning, searching, and browsing. This article inspires, informs, and directs practitioners and academics alike.


2013 Honorees for Distinguished Article

saul-carlinerSaul Carliner for his article, “Using Business Models to Describe Technical Communication Groups” in the May 2012 issue of Technical Communication.

Citation: For providing an excellent introduction to the management theory of business models, detailing a taxonomy of business models for technical communication groups, and reviewing the implications for practicing technical communicators. Technical communicators can apply this theory to better identify and choose a technical communication position in a variety of companies.


jason-swartsJason Swarts for his article, “New Modes of Help: Best Practices for Instructional Video” in the August 2012 issue of Technical Communication.

Citation: For identifying a set of best practices that practitioners can readily apply when creating instructional videos, for identifying the communication design features of good videos, and for completing a rhetorical analysis of instructional videos.


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: February 2014

Honorees notified: After vote by STC Board of Directors, usually March

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

The Frank R. Smith Guidelines.

Previous winners of the Frank R. Smith Award


Frank R. Smith Chair: TBD

Technical Communication Editor: Menno de Jong, PhD