SATW FOUNDATION
LOWELL THOMAS TRAVEL JOURNALISM COMPETITION
Awards For Works Published in 2017 - 2018
OVERVIEW OF AWARDS
 
Outside, New York Times Earn 8 Awards Each
In SATW Foundation Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Competition
 
Outside magazine and the New York Times each earned eight awards, and National Geographic Traveler won seven to become top winners in the 2018 Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Competition, overseen by the Society of American Travel Writers Foundation.
 
Among its honors, National Geographic Traveler took three Gold places, while Outside and the New York Times had two Gold each.
 
The Los Angeles Times earned Gold for best Newspaper Travel Coverage.
 
Freelance writer Christopher Solomon of Seattle, WA, is Lowell Thomas Travel Journalist of the Year, lauded by judges for his “remarkable range as a travel writer and a voice that is both unpretentious and authoritative.”
 
Virtuoso Life won Gold as the Best Travel Magazine, and Southern Living took Gold for Travel Coverage in Other Magazines.
 
For the third year, Gold for Travel Journalism Websites went to BBC.com/Travel.
 
The Lowell Thomas awards, recognized as the most prestigious in travel journalism, were announced Sept. 24 in Bridgetown, Barbados, at the annual conference of the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW), the premier professional organization of travel journalists and communicators.
 
The competition drew 1,275 entries and was judged by faculty members at the University of Missouri School of Journalism. This year, the SATW Foundation is giving 86 awards in 24 categories and nearly $20,000 in prize money to journalists in recognition of outstanding travel journalism.
 

Individual winners: Travel Journalist of the Year Award Goes to Seattle Writer
 
The Grand Award winner is freelance writer Christopher Solomon of Seattle, WA, who earns the title of 2018 Lowell Thomas Travel Journalist of the Year for his portfolio of work. He will receive $1,500 and a crystal award given by the SATW Foundation.
 
Solomon was lauded by the judges at the University of Missouri School of Journalism for his “remarkable range as a travel writer and a voice that is both unpretentious and authoritative.” The judges also noted that Solomon’s work “reflects an understanding that the world is not our playground but an amazing resource on loan to us.”
 
Also honored for Grand Award travel portfolios: freelance writer Elaine Glusac of Chicago, taking Silver; Beth Harpaz, travel editor of The Associated Press, Bronze; and Nikki Ekstein, travel editor of Bloomberg Pursuits, Honorable Mention. Glusac and Harpaz each won another award in other categories.  
 
Six writers won two awards each: Aaron Gulley, Chabeli Herrera, Sarah Khan, Susan Portnoy, Andrea Sachs and Rick Steves.
 
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
 
The competition, for work from spring 2017 to spring 2018, drew 1,275 entries. Faculty members from the University of Missouri School of Journalism did the judging, with Prof. John Fennell, Prof. Jennifer Rowe and administrative assistant Kim Townlain coordinating.
 
Commenting on the entries overall, the judges said, “As travel to far-flung places becomes more ubiquitous and even familiar locations become routine for many readers, it was evident that these creative travel journalists are upping their game searching for the unfamiliar and for creative approaches to storytelling. Through their extensive reporting, a number of writers looked for and found deeper stories. Though essentially about travel to a region or place, some pieces embraced larger themes like the environment, safety, disability and how politics affects global travel.”
 
In awarding Gold place in Newspaper Travel Coverage to the Los Angeles Times, the judges commended the travel section for being an “amazing resource,” saying that its articles are, like so much travel, “fun, informative, and quirky” and “fling travelers deep into astonishing places.”
 
The New York Times staff earned Gold in Special Packages/Projects with “On the Border: A Special Issue,” which explored life in five cities along the border with Mexico. The judges called it “a brilliant combination of travel, politics and economics.”
 
The top winner in travel journalism websites was BBC Travel, which the judges praised for its “independence, impartiality and honesty,” also noting that it “engages through the use of video and social media integration.”

The Prizes
 
This year, the SATW Foundation is giving 86 awards in 24 categories and nearly $20,000 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 this competition is supported by a generous contribution from our first gold level supporter, Carnival Corporation, whose 10 brands include Carnival Cruise Line, Princess and Holland America.