Week 2: Writing in the Workplace – Contexts and Conventions

On the Discussion Board this week, we ask you to post your media release (see separate thread for this within this discussion board forum), and also to share your knowledge and ideas about:

  • workplaces that employ Professional Writers (under any name);
  • the forms of writing these workplaces require;
  • your ideas about using language and styles that maintain professional standards.

Share your thoughts on these three bulleted items by posting your replies under this thread.

Speaking from my current workplace experience, universities employ professional writers. They are used to put out press releases and information regarding courses being offered and for advertising purposes, to name a few.

Looking around on the Internet, I see that there are organisations for professional writers in theatre, film, television, radio and digital media, as well as for technical writers, who seem to address web based technologies and needs. The Australian Writers Guild (AWG) caters for script and screen writers and provides them with contacts and advice for getting attention in a competitive field. Whereas, the associations for Technical Writers / Communicators assist in finding employment as Instruc­tional Designers, Web Designers, Tender Writers, Con­tent Authors, Copy­writers, Edi­tors, Infor­ma­tion Architects, Con­tent Managers, Doc­u­men­ta­tion Developers, Trainers, etc.

In the case of universities, professional writing can also be used for writ­ing poli­cies and procedures, busi­ness require­ments, doc­u­ment­ing qual­ity sys­tems and standard, pro­duc­ing newslet­ters and other cus­tomer communications, doc­u­ment­ing cur­rent and future state busi­ness processes, and pro­duc­ing annual reports and ten­der documentation. I’m sure this is not a complete list.

From what I’ve been reading, it seems that technical writers are not too different, with the exceptions of writing func­tional spec­i­fi­ca­tions and sys­tem documentation, devel­op­ing user guides and online help for soft­ware and web-based applications, man­aging repos­i­to­ries of doc­u­ments for projects or businesses, or devel­op­ing train­ing materials.

What I have come to learn too, is that style guides exist for practically every field of endeavour. Librarians use styles and methods to deliver bibliographic information. As do writers, editors and authors. On further inspection, I can see that there are style guides for science, health and design.

Having used style manuals for various purposes in the past, I can see that it’s important to have a set of standards for the writing and design of documents. This provides consistency and uniformity in style and formatting within a document, and across a multitude of documents emanating from the same field of expertise.

Even our referencing styles can come into play within our studies at Curtin. I have, for example, have been studying the MLA style manual, as I can see that we have to refer to it for our reference lists and citations within our work for PWP121. I have use APA, Chicago and Harvard referencing styles in the past, so am coming to terms with the new style in this unit, as I have never used it before.


About Maha @ Uni

Studying online, and want to keep a record of my progress and experiences...
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