Awards For Works Published in 2018 - 2019
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Outside, National Geographic Traveler Earn Most Honors
In SATW Foundation Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Competition
Chicago Writer Wins Travel Journalist of Year Award
EL PASO, TX (October 21, 2019) — 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. Winners were announced today by the Society of American Travel Writers Foundation, which oversees the annual contest. 
“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.
Elaine Glusac, freelance writer from Chicago, IL, is Travel Journalist of the Year, earning the Grand Award. She 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.
Also honored for Grand Award travel portfolios were Nikki Ekstein, Travel Editor, Bloomberg Pursuits (Silver); Alex Pulaski of West Linn, OR (Bronze); and Christopher Reynolds, travel writer, Los Angeles Times (Honorable Mention).
The competition, for work from spring 2018 to spring 2019, drew 1,335 entries. The Lowell Thomas awards, recognized as the most prestigious in travel journalism, were announced in El Paso, at the annual conference of SATW, the premier professional organization of travel journalists and communicators.
The Washington Post won Gold for Best Newspaper Travel Coverage, cited by the judges for stories that are original both in topic and expression, delivering the facts through inviting narratives and strong photos.  
Silver for Newspaper Travel Coverage went to the Los Angeles Times, praised for an editorial mix that is “relevant and rewards or challenges the reader.” Commended for its informative and interesting articles that deliver a body of facts, The New York Times took Bronze. Honorable Mention went to the Star Tribune (Minneapolis).
Outside’s nine awards include three Golds: “The Greatest Show on Earth,” in Special Packages/Projects, Christopher Keyes, Editor; “Mayday,” by Ali Carr Troxell, in Adventure Travel; and “The Survivors,” by Florence Williams, in Special-Purpose Travel. Outside also won three Silver awards, two Bronze and one Honorable Mention. 
In earning Gold as Best Travel Magazine, National Geographic Traveler was praised for its photos, strong content, original reporting and varied editorial mix with substantive features that make each issue an “inviting, information-laden publication.” Judges called its winning website “the epitome of what a website should be: constantly updated, global in scale and featuring authoritative, well-written and well-edited content.” The magazine also earned Gold in Foreign Travel and in Culinary-Related Travel plus two Silver awards, one Bronze and one Honorable Mention.
Smithsonian Magazine won three Gold awards, two of them for articles by Jeff MacGregor, in the Personal Comment and Cultural Tourism categories, and the third by Mark Jenkins in U.S./Canada Travel. 
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, and Bloomberg Businessweek. 
Among the four awards won by The Star Tribune (Minneapolis) were two Golds, to staffers Brian Peterson in Photo Illustration of Travel and Kerri Westenberg in Short Work on Travel. The newspaper also won a Silver award and an Honorable Mention.
Afar also won four awards. Several media won two and three awards each.  This year the SATW Foundation is giving 97 awards in 25 categories and more than $20,000 in prize money to journalists in recognition of outstanding work in covering travel.
Twenty-six faculty members from the University of Missouri School of Journalism were judges. 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.”
Winning Gold in this year’s new category, Multimedia Single Work, are Michael Benanav and Monika Agarwal for “The Last Dokpas of North Sikkim,” Traditional Cultures Project. The category honors work that uses multiple techniques to tell a story.
Among other Gold Winners are Yankee Magazine for Travel Coverage in Other Magazines (with varied topics); Allison Coffelt in Travel Books for “Maps Are Lines We Draw: A Road Trip Through Haiti,” from Lanternfish Press; and Becky Lomax in Guidebooks with “Moon USA National Parks: The Complete Guide to All 59 Parks,” from Avalon Travel.
Beth Harpaz and Warren Levinson won top honors in Travel Audio/Podcasts category with work for Associated Press Travel “Get Outta Here.” In Travel Video, Lee Cowan, Aria Shavelson, David Bhagat, Rand Morrison and Henry Bautista won Gold for work on “CBS Sunday Morning.”  
Caroline Eubanks took Gold in Travel Blogs for
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 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.