2020-21 SATW Foundation Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Competition

PRINT/SAVE pages to help when entering the competition.

The competition uses the BetterBNC media awards platform for all entries. The website is, which works best with the most recent versions of Google Chrome. If you are on another browser and having trouble, switch to Chrome. 
Newcomers: You must create an account at the BetterBNC website and request to enter our competition, which is among a list of multiple contests. Requests are monitored and approval given within 24 hours.
If you’re an independent journalist, you must use the Open Call Login, at the top of the BetterBNC home page screen. If you land on our contest home page at BetterBNC and click on Enter the Contest Here, see the Open Call Contestant Login at bottom left side (small type).
If you’re with a media organization and/or entering for multiple authors, click on Contestant Login.
Use this handy index to click and go directly to section of Instructions that applies to you.
GETTING STARTED: Independent Journalists
A.  Go to and log in to your account.
  • Open Call for individuals (if you see Authorized Entrant tab, that is not for you)
  • Contestant Login for companies/media entrants
  • Once you’ve followed applicable set-up instructions, you should land on your Welcome/Manage Entries page for our contest.
B.  IMPORTANT, PLEASE READ BEFORE STARTING: Once you’re signed in, at the top of the BetterBNC page, see Contest Info and click on each item there in the drop-down menu for overview/details about the competition. It is important to read Instructions, which includes rules and eligibility information. You also may read this information on this website. See our contest home page for a click to Rules & Eligibility.

C.  Managing and uploading your entries
  1. On the Manage Entries page, click Submit Entry and go to an entry form. Open Call entrants may need to scroll down the Manage Entries page to see the form.
  2. On Division, highlight General. (You must do this before you can see categories.)
  3. Under Category, choose from the drop-down menu. Read the Category Notes explaining requirements, in the pop-up window below the Category selection box. (You can see a list of all categories by clicking link in our website’s contest info menu.)
  4. Fill out the remaining fields for the entry and upload applicable file(s) and/or provide web URL address/link. Allowed file types are PDF, DOC/DOCX, TXT, JPG, GIF, PNG. To upload files, click Browse, navigate to the desired file and click Open. If file sizes are really large, you may need to contact BetterBNC for help or use one of the sources noted by the URL fields on the entry form.
  5. Credits: This should be the creator of the work, like the author of text, photographer for photos, etc.
  6. Note on the Run Date: For entries that may be month-specific (rather than a day), such as magazines, books etc., enter 1 for the date, such as May 1, 2020. For March-April 2020 magazine issues, put April 1, 2020, and for March-April 2021, put March 1, 2021. 
  7. You must hit Submit at bottom of form to save the entry. It’s not necessary to do all entries at one time. Hitting the Submit button to save an entry starts building a list. You can return to the page later and add more entries.
  8. Entries must be filed electronically, with a few exceptions. For more information, see the following section, Submission Guidelines for Specified Categories.
  9. To complete your submissions and enter the contest, you must go to the Calculate Entry Fee button, approve your list and pay the total fee shown. See Payment Instructions below.
Note: This year, we are offering a special: Make 3 entries, get the 4th entry free in $20 categories. This applies to the first 4 only. The free one will show automatically on your Calculate Entry Fees page.
A. Category 101: Grand Award
  1. Enter a portfolio of work. See Category information for specifics.
  2. On the entry form in Where Published/Performed, leave first box Other… and in second box put Various as applicable for freelancers. Publication name applies for a staffer’s entry.
  3. In Headline/Title of Entry, put Portfolio of work.
  4. In the run date field, put in the publish date of any work in eligible period.
  5. Attach copies of work and/or give URL links. If including books, they must be mailed.
  6. On a Word document, list your Grand Award entries with the name of the publisher/website/broadcaster, the headline and the date published/posted/aired. Attach this document with the entry attachments.
B. Category 103: Newspaper Travel Coverage
  1. In the Headline/Title of Entry field, put publication name, like Los Angeles Times Travel.
  2. In the publication/run date field, put date of one of the portfolio of entries.
  3. On a Word document, list the entries (headlines and dates) and attach this with the entry attachments.
  4. You do not need to list credits (bylines) for each entry in the portfolio.
  5. Portfolios may be a combination of electronic and mail-in entries as needed.
C. Categories 104a and 104b: Travel Magazines and Travel Coverage in Other Magazines
Important: You must mail hard copies of the required issues. It is too problematic for judges to review PDFs and
flip-able e-book issues. Also for fairness in judging, it is better for all to be same format.
  1. Headline can be name of magazine.
  2. Put date of one issue in run date, using first of month for day, i.e. June 1, 2020. (If issues bridge eligible dates, do the following: For March-April 2020 issues, use April 1, 2020 as date; for March-April 2021, use March 1, 2021.)
  3. List dates of the required 3 issues in the Comments box. (If you were a winner last year and included the March-April 2020 issue among the 3 entries, do not use it again.)
  4. Links to URLs for supplementary material may be added.
  5. Mail hard copies of the issues to address in Mailing Instructions below (be sure to use the 2021 address).
D. Category 108: Special Packages/Series
  1. Submissions may be a combination of electronic and mail-in elements. If an entry is or includes a full magazine issue or full newspaper travel section, hard copy should be mailed, as that’s easier for judging.
  2. On a Word document, list all the elements being submitted for the entry with information such as publisher’s/website/broadcaster’s name, the date published/posted/aired and headlines/titles. Attach this document with other entry attachments.
  3. When entering a series, do not enter a single component of it in another category. If you choose not to enter the entire series in this category, then you may enter a single component in an applicable category.
E. Category 119: Travel Book and Category 120: Guidebook
  1. Books published since Jan. 1, 2019, are eligible.
  2. Books must be mailed. Send one copy only for this category, but a second copy if also entering as part of the Grand Award portfolio. Fill out the entry form, print it and include with the book. See following section with Mailing Instructions (be sure to use the 2021 address rather than one you/distributor may have saved from past). 
F. Category 122a/122b: Travel Audio-Radio / Travel Audio-Podcasts and Audio Guides
    Category 123 Video
Provide a link to the entry at a hosting website. Online work should be accessible through the fall and preferably not password-protected; if so, provide access code/password in the Comments box.
G. Category 124: Travel Blogs
  1. This category is for the blog as a whole, not an individual posting.
  2. Put the name of the blog as the entry and give the URL.
MAILING INSTRUCTIONS (Be sure to use the 2021 address, updating it with shippers that may have stored one from past years.) 
A. Entries must be filed electronically, except as follows:
  • Category 101 Grand Award can include mail-in items, such as books.
  • Category 103 Newspaper Travel Coverage can be electronic entries and mail-in items.
  • Category 104a Travel Magazines and Category 104b Travel Coverage in Other Magazines must mail copies of the required issues.
  • Category 108 Special Packages/Series can be a combination of electronic and mail-in elements.
  • Categories 119 and 120 book entries must be mailed.
B. For mail-in entries, complete content fields, print and attach the entry form/label to the entry.

C. Use the following address. Note: Do NOT use “P.O. Box.”
Mary Lu Abbott
SATW Foundation
412 S. Adams St., PMB #201
Fredericksburg, TX 78624
D. Overnight shipments really don’t get here the next day, despite what the shipper may say, so plan ahead.
A. Determining Fees
  1. When you’ve done all submissions you want to enter, log in to your Manage Entries page, where entries are listed. Click Calculate Entry Fee button (in box above your list of entries) and review your list of entries for accuracy, checking those you want to enter. If you wish to delete any, do so at this point. See instructions at top of the Calculate Fees page. Deadline: April 1.
  2. Scroll to bottom of the list to see your subtotal. Note: This year, we are giving a special: Make 3 entries and get the 4th free in the $20 categories. This applies to first 4 only, and the free one will show automatically on your Calculate Entry Fees page.
  3. Click the payment link and follow instructions.
  4. Print a copy of that page if you need a record of entries/payment.
B. Options for payment
  1. You may pay through PayPal with a credit card. Print the receipt if needed. See instructions at top of your Calculate Fees page.
  2. Alternately, you may write a check to SATW Foundation. NOTE TO MEDIA: Be sure to give the 2021 address to accounting department so the check doesn’t go astray.
Mail check to:
Mary Lu Abbott
SATW Foundation
412 S. Adams St., PMB #201
Fredericksburg, TX 78624