SATW FOUNDATION
LOWELL THOMAS TRAVEL JOURNALISM COMPETITION
Awards For Works Published in 2020 - 2021
OVERVIEW OF AWARDS

Travel Journalism Shows its Mettle in 2021 Lowell Thomas Awards
 
Winners of SATW Foundation Competition Excel
at Helping Readers Reckon with the Pandemic
 
A digital journalist, a regional newspaper and a reporter’s improbable tale of bull riding on an aircraft carrier were among the winners of top awards in the 37th Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Competition in a year for which there was no road map.
 
The awards were announced Monday, Oct. 4, at the SATW Convention in Milwaukee. The honor is considered the premier professional recognition for travel journalists and communicators. The Foundation is giving 104 awards in 27 categories and $22,550 in prize money this year.
 
The 1,278 entries in the annual contest, overseen by the Society of American Travel Writers Foundation, were noteworthy for their style, scope and service to readers who struggled to make sense of a travelscape turned upside down by the pandemic. The University of Missouri School of Journalism oversaw the judging, which involved 27 judges this year. 
 
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. Its contribution helps make the prizes possible and supports the future of quality travel media.
 
Matt Crossman earned the Gold with his article in Experience Magazine for the Robert Haru Fisher Award for Travel Health/Safety Coverage, the first time this award has been given.
 
See the full story.

Winning Stories Covered the Moments and Moods of the Year
 
Winners “proved their mettle by producing original, useful and often moving stories that covered the moments and moods of the past year,” the judges said of the works, which covered spring of 2020 to spring of 2021. “Travel journalists were nimble and resourceful and showed in numerous ways the enduring value of their work.”
 
Katherine LaGrave, digital features editor for Afar Media, was honored as the Lowell Thomas Travel Journalist of the Year. Judges praised her storytelling and reporting as well as her focus on what readers needed to know to navigate today’s travel challenges.
 
The Cleveland Plain Dealer earned the Gold award for newspaper travel coverage. Judges cited editor Susan Glaser’s “laser focus on readers” who sought closer-to-home destinations in the wake of the pandemic.
 
Matt Crossman took Gold in a new category this year, the Robert Haru Fisher award for Travel Health and Safety Coverage. Crossman’s story, ostensibly about bull riding on an aircraft carrier in the Gulf of Mexico, was really about filling the need for community and connection in a time of isolation.
 
A team of reporters from the Miami Herald earned the Gold in the Travel News/Investigative Reporting category for its examination of “COVID Cruises.” Judges praised this “excellent investigation on a breaking news story” that focused on accountability and provided actionable information for readers.
 
Gold in Travel magazines went to Travel + Leisure, Jacqueline Gifford, editor-in-chief. Judges cited “service-centric stories that anticipated what readers would want.”
 
The Gold for Special Packages and Series went to The New York Times for “A Year Without Travel,” which “employed strong writing, graphics, videos and first person-accounts to illustrate the far-reaching impact of the pandemic,” judges said. The New York Times earned eight awards, with five of them Gold.
 
BBC Travel tallied nine awards, including a Gold for Amanda Ruggeri’s “In Guatemala, the Maya World Untouched for Centuries” in Special-Purpose Travel. Judges cited her “storytelling and courage.”
 
Amanda Williams took Gold for her work on “A Dangerous Business Travel Blog,” a mix of trip tips and business advice, and CNTraveler earned the top award for Travel Journalism Websites.
 
Check out the complete list of winners in 27 categories.

Winners Gallery: See All the Results, Judging Comments and Entries
 
The Winners Gallery showcases all the winning entries.
 
Look under the contest heading on the left-side navigation panel of this page and click on “Winners Gallery” to go to a list of all categories. In each category, information is displayed about the winners, including comments by the judge. For each award, there are icons to click and see the winning entry or entries, either online or in a PDF. In a few cases, like magazine and book categories, links are not available.
 
BetterBNC, the online awards platform the Foundation uses for the contest, provides the Winners Gallery. From the page with the list of categories, you can click the SATW Foundation logo to return to the Foundation website.
 
We are happy to salute all our winners and showcase their entries. We hope you enjoy seeing their work. 
 
See the Winners Gallery.

The Prizes
 
This year, the SATW Foundation is giving 104 awards in 27 categories and $22,550 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 carries a $500 prize, Silver $250 and Bronze $150. The categories for Best Newspaper Travel Coverage, Best Magazines and Best Travel Journalism Websites are not given monetary awards.

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. Its contribution helps make the prizes possible and supports the future of quality travel media.