Awards For Works Published in 2016 - 2017

SATW Foundation Contact
Mary Lu Abbott /
@SATWFoundation, @SATW
New York Times Scores 12 Awards in SATW Foundation
Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Competition
Los Angeles Times Writer Earns Travel Journalist of the Year Title
PORTLAND, OREGON (Oct. 30, 2017) — The New York Times won Gold for best Newspaper Travel Coverage in the 2017 Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Competition overseen by the Society of American Travel Writers Foundation. The newspaper also garnered 11 other awards, two of them gold places.
Los Angeles Times travel writer Christopher Reynolds is Travel Journalist of the Year, commended for his wide range of engaging, inspiring and “exceedingly entertaining” stories. Judges from the University of Missouri School of Journalism praised his original voice and eye for offbeat details. Adding that his pieces are refreshingly unconventional, authoritative and smart, the judges lauded Reynolds’ work as “an enormous pleasure to read.” Also honored for Grand Award travel portfolios were Mark Sundeen, freelance writer of Fort Collins, CO (Silver); Kerri Westenberg, travel editor of the Star Tribune in Minneapolis (Bronze); and Paula Froelich, founder of of New York City (Honorable Mention). Froelich won two other awards.
Southbound won Gold as Best Travel Magazine. Via was Silver winner. Bronze travel magazine winner National Geographic Traveler also won a Gold for Carrie Miller’s “How Instagram Is Changing Travel” in Short Work on Travel. Honorable Mention in the travel magazine category went to Air Canada enRoute.
For the second consecutive year, Coastal Living was the Gold winner for Travel Coverage in Other Magazines. National Parks won Silver. Bronze went to Outside, which won four additional awards, two of them Golds: to Joshua Hammer in Environmental Tourism for “The Most Dangerous Place on Earth to Be an Environmentalist” and Chuck Thompson in U.S./Canada Travel for “Deliverinse.” Midwest Living won Honorable Mention.
As winner in Best Newspaper Travel Coverage, the New York Times was cited for its variety of topics and styles along with informative and entertaining stories that include diverse elements, from explanatory graphics to compelling narratives. “Whatever the approach,” said the judges, “the work is of high quality.” Two New York Times’ stories won Gold: Jacqueline Woodson’s “When a Southern Town Broke a Heart” in Personal Comment and Karen Schwartz’s “Recent Incidents Put a New Focus on Sexual Assault on Airplanes” in Travel News/Investigative Reporting. The paper also took honors in nine other categories. Silver newspaper winner was the Washington Post. Bronze went to the San Francisco Chronicle, where “there’s never a dull moment” in its breadth of travel coverage. The Star Tribune (Minneapolis) received Honorable Mention.
Afar magazine earned four awards, including two Golds: Jennifer Kahn for “Out of Range” in Adventure Travel and Chris Colin for “The Other Side” in Foreign Travel.
The Lowell Thomas awards, recognized as the most prestigious in travel journalism, were announced in Portland, Oregon, at the annual conference of the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW), the premier professional organization of travel journalists and communicators.
Twenty-five faculty members from the University of Missouri School of Journalism did the judging. The competition, for work from spring 2016 to spring 2017, drew 1,190 entries. This year, the SATW Foundation is giving 89 awards in 24 categories and nearly $20,000 in prize money to journalists in recognition of outstanding travel journalism.
Judges said they were impressed by the use of narrative techniques in this year’s entries, said Professor John Fennell, who helped coordinate the judging. “Like classic short stories, many of the entries built tension and suspense that culminated in resolution,” he said. “This is great story telling at its best — and so effective when writing about destinations.”
Among Gold winners were Sarah Khan in Culinary-Related Travel for “Eating Bunny Chow in Durban” in Saveur; Tony Perrottet in Special-Purpose Travel for “Viva La RevoluciĆ³n” in Smithsonian Magazine; Jad Davenport in Cultural Tourism for “Black Beauty” in Coastal Living; Kim Brown Seely in Cruise Travel for “Slowly Up the Ganges: An Indian Exploration in Two Acts” in Virtuoso Life.
Other Gold winners: Gina Zammit in Service-Oriented Consumer Work for “A Very Comprehensive Guide to Getting Drunk at Disney World” on; BBC Travel in Special Packages/Projects for “The US National Parks Turn 100” on; Brad A. Johnson in Photo Illustration of Travel for “Quick Look: Mar Adentro, San Jose del Cabo, Mexico” on; and David Hanson in Audio Travel Broadcast for “Calling Home” for The Dirtbag Diaries.
Best Travel Journalism Websites: For the second consecutive year, took Gold. Silver went to and Bronze to
Gold for best Travel Blog went to (Cory Lee Woodard), Silver to (Adam Groffman), Bronze to Moment Catchers on (Candace Rose Rardon) and Honorable Mention to (Susan Portnoy). 
Best Video Travel Broadcasts: Gold to Liz Carlson for “Svalbard — When a Book Inspires a Journey” on; Silver to T. Sean Herbert, Barry Petersen, David A. Bhagat, Rand L. Morrison and Jason Sacca for “CBS Sunday Morning: Forbidden Kingdom”; Bronze to Paula Froelich for “Rhino Poaching, South Africa” on; Honorable Mention to Christine van Blokland, Jesse Jung and David Zelski for “King Longshank’s Iron Ring of Castles in Wales” on Curious Traveler/Public Broadcasting System.
The Gold winner for best Travel Book was Zora O’Neill, “All Strangers Are Kin: Adventures in Arabic and the Arab World,” from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Gold for the best Guidebook went to Matthew B. Christensen, “A Geek in China: Discovering the Land of Bullet Trains, Alibaba and Dim Sum” from Tuttle Publishing.
The awards are named for Lowell Thomas, acclaimed broadcast journalist, prolific author and world explorer during five decades in travel journalism. The competition is open to all North American journalists.
The sustainability of this competition is made possible by a generous contributions from our first Gold level supporter, Carnival Corporation, whose 10 brands include Carnival Cruise Line, Princess and Holland America.