Outside, National Geographic Traveler Earn Most Honors
In SATW Foundation Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Competition
Outside magazine earned nine awards and National Geographic Traveler eight, including Best Travel Magazine and Best Travel Journalism Website, in the 2019 Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Competition.
The Washington Post won Gold for Best Newspaper Travel Coverage. Yankee Magazine took top honors in travel coverage by magazines with varied content.
Elaine Glusac, freelance writer from Chicago, is Travel Journalist of the Year, earning the Grand Award for a portfolio of work.
National Geographic Traveler’s awards included four Gold places. Outside had three Golds, as did Smithsonian Magazine. BBC Travel and the New York Times each won five awards, as did Bloomberg Pursuits, which is the global luxury lifestyle arm of Bloomberg News, Bloomberg.com and Bloomberg Businessweek.
The Lowell Thomas awards, recognized as the most prestigious in travel journalism, were announced Oct. 21 in El Paso, at the annual conference of SATW, the premier professional organization of travel journalists and communicators.
The competition, for work from spring 2018 to spring 2019, drew 1,335 entries and was judged by faculty members at the University of Missouri School of Journalism. This year, the SATW Foundation is giving 97 wards in 25 categories and more than $20,000 in prize money to journalists in recognition of outstanding travel journalism.
The sustainability of the annual competition is made possible by a generous contribution from Gold Supporter Carnival Corp., the world’s largest cruise company
Individual Winners: Travel Journalist of the Year Award Goes to Chicago Writer
The top Grand Award winner is Elaine Glusac, freelance writer from Chicago, who earns the title of Lowell Thomas Travel Journalist of the Year. She will receive $1,500 and a crystal award given by the SATW Foundation.
Glusac was praised by the judges for “a portfolio that demonstrates a mastery of every form of travel writing, from breaking news … to beautifully written features about her adventures.” Her articles included plenty of practical tips as well as deeply reported and meticulously contextualized pieces, judges added. Additionally, she won Silver in the Short Work on Travel category. Last year Glusac took Silver place in the Grand Award category.
Also honored for Grand Award travel portfolios: Nikki Ekstein, Travel Editor, Bloomberg Pursuits, earning Silver (last year she took Honorable Mention in this category); Alex Pulaski, a freelance writer of West Linn, OR, Bronze; and Christopher Reynolds, travel writer, Los Angeles Times, Honorable Mention.
In all, Ekstein won four awards this year.
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.
What the Judges Said
“Travel writing today, as demonstrated in this year’s entries, is at once riveting, entertaining, heart-breaking and thought-provoking,” said Missouri School of Journalism Associate Professor Jennifer Rowe, who with MU Emeritus Professor John Fennell, coordinated the 2019 SATW judging.
The competition drew 1,335 entries, and 26 faculty members were involved in the judging.
In additional comments on the overall entries, Prof. Rowe noted that themes were as varied as travel itself, “but this year the environment emerged as an increasingly important topic, along with race, culinary experiences and a continued interest in national parks.”
Judges called the National Geographic Traveler’s Gold-place website “the epitome of what a website should be: constantly updated, global in scale and featuring authoritative, well-written and well-edited content.”
Winners in the new Multimedia Single Work category, recognizing excellence in using multiple techniques to tell a story, are Michael Benanav and Monika Agarwal for “The Last Dokpas of North Sikkim,” Traditional Cultures Project. Judges called the entry “an elegant user experience that mixes vivid photography with a carefully crafted story. The people and places jump off the screen via image and text.”
Of the Gold place in Special Packages/Projects, Outside’s “The Greatest Show on Earth,” a journey down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon, judges said: “The navigation down the Colorado River is led by mesmerizing full-screen interactivity. The photography is high-caliber and presented beautifully, and the voice of the piece is as grand as the topic.”
This year, the SATW Foundation is giving 97 awards in 25 categories and $20,750 in prize money to journalists in recognition of outstanding travel journalism.
The Grand Award earns the Gold winner $1,500, the Silver winner $750 and the Bronze place $500.
In individual categories, first-place Gold winners each receive $500, with $250 going to Silver and $150 to Bronze winners. The categories for Best Newspaper Travel Coverage, Best Magazines and Best Travel Journalism Websites are not given monetary awards.
The awards are named for Lowell Thomas, acclaimed broadcast journalist, prolific author and world explorer during five decades in travel journalism.
The sustainability of the annual competition is made possible by a generous contribution from Gold Supporter Carnival Corp., the world’s largest cruise company with a portfolio of brands in North America, Europe, Australia and Asia, including Carnival Cruise Line, Holland America Line, Cunard, Seabourn and Princess Cruises.