29 May 2013
Reward a great document
Have you read a document or webpage and thought it was a horrible example of fine print — lacking in clarity and full of
ambiguity? Or you might have read something that was clear and easily understood?
Now you can dob in the document that caused brainstrain or praise the easy-to-read one. The People’s Choice entries for
the WriteMark Plan English Awards are open. So you can make a stand to banish jargon and gobbledygook and help everyone
access clear information.
The Awards are held annually by the WriteMark Plain English Awards Trust. They celebrate and recognise concise,
well-structured, and easily understood documents, both online and in print.
Trust chair Gregory Fortuin says this year they are looking for lots of entries from the private sector and in the
People’s Choice categories.
“Help the judging panel find and reward a great document — especially if it’s been sent to, or seen, by many New
Zealanders. For example, it might be a really clear letter or a user-friendly webpage from a bank or government
The Cancer Society’s commitment to clear communication and user-focused materials was applauded in 2012, winning the
Society the coveted Plain English Champion — Best Organisation Award.
“Nominate a bad document or website that’s caused you frustration or worse. Tell your story — the judges need to know.
Brainstrain winners often improve their document and make it a great example of plain English. That means your
nomination could help thousands of New Zealanders,” says Mr Fortuin.
Last year’s winner of the Brainstrain Award, Nova Energy, was described as an organisation that has a strong reason to
change the way it communicates. The organisation won with its Terms and Conditions for Gas and Electricity Supply, which
was described by judges as “illegible, inaccessible, and a fine example of fine print”.
The Plain English Awards aim to:
• improve government and business documents so that all New Zealanders can understand them
• raise public awareness of the need for, and benefits of, plain English
• create a public preference for organisations that choose to communicate in plain English.
Entries close on 21 September. Winners will be announced in late November. For more information, and to enter online,