Plain English Awards

celebrate New Zealand's clearest communicators

Cindy Staudt

Judge: Best Plain English Website category

Many years ago, I was an academic working on a PhD in English literature. However, during my studies I discovered technical communication and business editing, and have followed that path ever since.

My career has always related to writing in one way or another. I taught composition and literature at Auburn University in the US; was a writer and editor for the US Bureau of Economic Analysis; served as a proofreader for the Journal of Consumer Affairs; and copy-edited non-fiction books for Pindar Publishing.

Once I arrived in New Zealand, I taught in the Graduate Diploma of Information Design programme at Christchurch Polytechnic (now Ara Institute) for 8 years. I served as the programme leader from 2012 to 2015. Throughout my time with the programme, I tried to emphasise to every student the importance of plain language in communication.

Since 2015, I have worked at Streamliners in Christchurch as a technical writer, content developer, and interface designer. My work assists users in both the education and health sectors, though it’s a constant battle to discourage traditional ‘policy speak’, and instead encourage the tenets of clarity, conciseness, and correctness (the editor in me never gives up). The good work Streamliners does can be seen at

Writing and design find their way into my life outside work as well: I recently helped design the collateral materials for the TechCommNZ Collaborate conference. I also spend a lot of time as a school board member composing newsletters, revising letters to the Ministry of Education, and generally pushing for clear communication with our stakeholders. My children are learning how to use en dashes properly, and have been raised in an Oxford comma household.

2017 Plain English Awards judges