Awards Recognize: “Plain Language is Everywhere”
Center for Plain Language Announces ClearMark Award Finalists
Wendy Meyeroff, Communications Director, firstname.lastname@example.org
May 2, 2019
The Center for Plain Language announces finalists for its highly popular annual ClearMark awards which recognize the best in plain language communications created by North American organizations. Held every year since 2010, “The theme for this year’s ClearMarks is ‘Plain Language is Everywhere,” says Jeff Greer, Chair of the Center. This year the event happens online, Tuesday, May 7th, at 12 p.m. EDT.
“We chose this theme because it captures so much about the Center, this event, and plain language overall,” Greer says, adding, “Those who attend know plain language is desperately needed in all sectors – government, non profit, health care, law, financial institutions, and more.”
Attention Goes Beyond Borders
Thanks to the ClearMark Awards becoming an online real-time event for the first time, finalists from everywhere can attend. Center for Plain Language chair Jeff Greer explains: “One of the key pieces of feedback we’ve heard over the past few years is that the awards event is too expensive and time consuming for people outside of the Washington DC area. Having this event online equalizes access—geographically and financially—making greater participation possible at a fraction of the cost.”
Attendance of designated recipients wasn’t the only issue. “Even when team leaders could take the time and expense to attend, there were others on their team that couldn’t,” Greer notes. “Thanks to the online event, all of those who participated in award-winning work can attend.”
True 21st-Century Acknowledgements
“If you want to know what Plain Language means in 2019, take a look at our amazing finalists,” said David Lipscomb, lead judge for this year’s ClearMarks. “From irresistible infographics and apps, to engaging fact sheets, brochures, and microsites, our finalists showcase smart new ways you can help your readers find, understand, and use the information they need.”
Lipscomb notes the broad range of communications–around a North American map–that need truly plain language. “It’s making it easier for Virginians to vote, for small businesses out West to get through tax audits, for Midwesterners to apply for Medicaid and get out of debt, for Canadian exporters to lower their risk, for Ottawa teens to stay safe on social media, for Spanish-speaking veterans to get health benefits, and for communities suffering from pediatric cancer, diabetes, and sickle cell disease to get the treatments they need.”
The Center Keeps Moving Forward
“Since North America is increasingly multilingual, the Center awards two of its top trophies to programs focused on Spanish-speaking audiences,” says Lipscomb. He adds: “Next year we want to see that map fill out even more, with more entrants in Spanish and in the legal field.”
Like Center board members and judges, entries come not only from across the U.S., but throughout North America…and they keep increasing. Among the 120 submissions this year to the 13 categories, were entries from the Centers for Disease Control; Woodmen Life (insurance company); the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and Plainly Speaking Along with Crime Prevention Ottawa.
Decade-Long Celebration on Horizon
Greer and other Center leaders look forward to increased participation from communications leaders, especially as 2019 is the 10th anniversary of the Plain Writing Act. With increasing input from companies in legal, tech, science, government and other areas that face complex verbiage, “We can become a more vibrant organization, with more political and cultural clout, a greater capacity to spread our message, and the ability to push for change that really matters,” Greer concludes.
Thank You to Our Sponsors:
Kleimann Communications Group, More Carrot, Visible Thread, CommunicateHealth, Redish & Associates, PLAIN, Core Content Group, Plain Language Health, and The Plain Language Group, LLC.
About the Event Developer: The Center for Plain Language is a 501(c)(3) organization with the goal of helping government agencies and businesses write so clearly that their intended audience understands what they are saying the first time they read or hear it. The Center’s mission is to champion clear communication so people and organizations can thrive.