STC Touchstone Competition

Touchstone is the Northern California Technical Communication Competition. It is a regional competition, sponsored by the STC in Northern California.

Proceeds from the competition benefit the Kenneth Gordon Scholarship, which supports technical communication students at local colleges.

When does it happen?

  • The deadline for entries is generally in early October
  • Award announcements are made at the awards ceremony, which happens in mid-January

Why enter the competition? Two big reasons.

If you have work you’re especially proud of, enter it so your fellow communicators can admire and recognize it.

If you have work that you’re not quite happy with, enter it to receive the advice and counsel of our experienced judges.

How do you enter?

Submit your Touchstone Entry

How else can you get involved? Volunteer to be a judge!

This year’s Touchstone technical communication competition needs experienced technical communicators to serve as judges. See the Judging Information page for calendar and additional details.

Judging is good for your career. You work with other experienced technical communicators on a worthy project, and you have a chance to study some of the best work in your field. It’s also fun.

Judges receive free admission to the gala awards event in January, and one judge, in a random drawing, will win up to $250 toward next year’s STC membership dues.


If you have questions, send an email to this address. Make the subject of the email STC Competition Query.

Why is it called Touchstone?

Touch-stone. n.

A fine-grained stone used in assaying precious metals; hence, any test or criterion by which the qualities of a thing can be recognized or measured.


About Touchstone

This competition started as the Northern California Technical Communication Competition (NCTCC) and adopted the name Touchstone in 1996.

For many years, the four Bay Area chapters plus the Sacramento chapter managed the competition in turn. Each year one chapter managed the competition and received an honorarium of $1000.00. Each chapter passed competition assets to the chapter managing the next year’s competition.

Starting in 1991, all additional proceeds of the competition went to support the STC Kenneth Gordon Scholarship.

Starting in 2001, individual chapters no longer managed the competition. Now, all four Northern California chapters sponsor the competition and share an honorarium.

Thanks to our Touchstone Competition Sponsors