A Short History of the Center for Plain Language

Posted on Jan 3, 2017 in Board News, Center News
A Short History of the Center for Plain Language

As we look ahead to 2017, let’s take a look back at where we began.

How did the Center begin?

In the mid-1990s, a group of federal Plain Language advocates met monthly in Washington, DC. We called ourselves PEN – the Plain English Network. In 2000, we changed the name to PLAIN – the Plain Language Action and Information Network. And PLAIN still exists today.

Unite with clarity champions at the ClearMark Awards

Posted on Mar 2, 2016 in Center News, Events
Unite with clarity champions at the ClearMark Awards

I’ll never forget my first ClearMark Awards.

My business partner, Deanna, and I had travelled to D.C. to attend the 2012 Clarity Conference and decided to stay for the Awards. As writers and clarity experts, we looked forward to learning more and seeing the best new work coming out of the plain language world. But after attending countless conferences and awards ceremonies, I had modest expectations.

PLAIN’s International Conference – Were you in Dublin?

Posted on Oct 28, 2015 in Center News, Events, Training and Conferences
PLAIN’s International Conference – Were you in Dublin?

On Sept. 17 – 20, 2015, our sister organization, the Plain Language Association International (PLAIN), held its 10th conference, co-hosted by Ireland’s National Adult Literacy Agency. Practitioners from around the world gathered in Dublin at the Dublin Castle to discuss and learn about plain language principles.

Speakers shared their expertise on an array of topics that gave us new insights into writing and designing with clarity.

The role of plain language in ethics: A conversation with an author

Posted on Oct 14, 2015 in Board News, Center News, Ethics
The role of plain language in ethics: A conversation with an author

I recently watched a video where a patient defined “hypertension” as “when you’re not able to sit still.” It made me sad—and reminded me (again) why plain language, or clear communication, truly matters.

Since our founding in 1975, Healthwise has been committed to producing health information that people can understand. That was years before plain language became a discipline, a movement even, and the worthy focus of conferences, organizations and workshops. Now there’s a new book on the topic, Plain Language and Ethical Action, by Boise State University technical communications professor Russell Willerton.

Privacy notices: Some takeaways from the TIME.com article

Posted on Sep 30, 2015 in Center News, Plain Language Blog Articles
Privacy notices:  Some takeaways from the TIME.com article

Early this summer, TIME.com asked the Center for Plain Language to evaluate some online privacy notices, using the types of assessment we use for our ClearMark awards and our Federal Plain Language Report Card. I took the lead on the project and learned some great lessons along the way. TIME.com published the article in August.

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