LOWELL THOMAS TRAVEL JOURNALISM COMPETITION
Awards For Works Published in 2017 - 2018
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Outside, New York Times Earn 8 Awards Each
In SATW Foundation Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Competition
Travel Journalist of the Year Award Goes to Seattle Writer
BRIDGETOWN, BARBADOS (Sept. 25, 2018) — 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 Travel Journalist of the Year, 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 were freelance writer Elaine Glusac of Chicago (Silver); Beth Harpaz, travel editor of The Associated Press (Bronze); and Nikki Ekstein, travel editor of Bloomberg Pursuits (Honorable Mention).
The competition, for work from spring 2017 to spring 2018, drew 1,275 entries. The Lowell Thomas awards, recognized as the most prestigious in travel journalism, were announced in Bridgetown, Barbados, at the annual conference of the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW), the premier professional organization of travel journalists and communicators.
In citing 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 newspaper also took Honorable Mention in the Cruise Travel category.
Silver for Newspaper Travel Coverage went to The Wall Street Journal, praised for being “thoughtfully designed to be both engaging and easy to use.” The New York Times took Bronze, judges calling its work “meaty, thoughtful and visually spectacular.” Honorable Mention went to Star Tribune (Minneapolis).
The New York Times staff won Gold in Special Packages/Projects with “On the Border: A Special Issue.” Its second Gold was in U.S./Canada Travel for Sarah Khan’s “A Muslim American’s Homecoming: Cowboys, Country Music, Chapatis.” The newspaper’s travel section took honors in four other categories.
Virtuoso Life won Gold as the Best Travel Magazine. The judges said it “sizzles with an editorial exuberance,” … an “energy that makes this magazine hard to put down.” The publication also took a bronze in Service-Oriented Consumer Work. Silver for Best Travel Magazine went to Afar, which won three other awards, two of them Gold. Other places in the travel magazine category went to National Geographic Traveler (Bronze) and Southbound (Honorable Mention).
Southern Living garnered Gold for Travel Coverage in Other Magazines, with Silver awarded to Outside, Bronze to Coastal Living and Honorable Mention to National Parks.
National Geographic Traveler’s Gold awards were for “Drive Yourself Wild” by Ken Geiger in Photo Illustration of Travel; “Adventures All Around,” by Mary Anne Potts, Andrew Evans and Kate Siber in Service-Oriented Consumer Work; and “Destination Nowhere” by Pico Iyer in Personal Comment. It tallied honors in three more categories.
Outside magazine’s two Gold places were for Tim Cahill’s “My Drowning (And Other Inconveniences)” and Jason Motlagh’s “It’s Like the NFL. But With Horses and a Headless Calf.” Outside also won awards in four other categories. For Afar, Gold winners were Ryan Knighton’s “Out of Sight” in Foreign Travel and Anya von Bremzen’s “Counter Revolution” in Culinary-Related Travel.
For the third year, Gold for Travel Journalism Websites went to BBC.com/Travel, Anne Banas, editor.
Several publications won two and three awards each. 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.
Twenty-three faculty members from the University of Missouri School of Journalism were judges. Commenting on the entries, 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.”
Among other Gold winners are Andrea Sachs in Cruise Travel for “Cut From the Same Sailcloth” in the Washington Post; Chabeli Herrera in Travel News/Investigative Reporting for “The Fate of Lolita” in the Miami Herald; Austin Merrill in Environmental Tourism for “Comeback Wolves: Inside Lamar Valley Wolf Week” in Departures; Ian Frazier in Special-Purpose Travel for “What Ever Happened to the Russian Revolution?” in Smithsonian Magazine; and Melanie Radzicki McManus in Short Work on Travel for “Testing Your Lungs in Colorado’s Fresh Air” in the Star Tribune (Minneapolis).
In the Audio Travel Broadcast category, Scott Gurian earned Gold for “Turkmenistan: Just Plain Weird,” a Far From Home podcast. In Video Travel Broadcast, the top winner was “This Land Is Our Land” by Trevor Meers, Ryan Borts, David Poyzer and Kylee Krizmanic for Midwest Living.
Gold for Travel Blogs goes to OneikaTheTraveller.com, Oneika Raymond.
Winning Gold in the Travel Book category is Lola Akinmade Akerstrom for “Due North: Collection of Travel Observations” from Geotraveler Media Sweden. The top Guidebook winner is “Rick Steves Iceland,” Rick Steves, Ian Watson and Cameron Hewitt for Rick Steves Travel.
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 supported by a generous contribution from our first gold level supporter, Carnival Corporation and its 10 brands including Carnival Cruise Line, Princess and Holland America.