Quick Facts About the SATW Foundation


The Beginning: The nonprofit Society of American Travel Writers Foundation was begun in the early 1980s by a group of SATW editors concerned about the future of travel journalism. They wanted to generate higher standards and prestige for the field.
The Mission: The Foundation’s mission is to improve travel journalism through recognizing and rewarding excellence in the field. To accomplish this goal, the Foundation began the SATW Foundation Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Competition, the first broad-based independent competition for travel journalists.
Who was Lowell Thomas? The competition is named for Lowell Thomas, an acclaimed journalist, prolific author, and modern-day world explorer who achieved numerous “firsts” during five decades in travel journalism. He’s known as a broadcast journalist, but his career touched nearly all disciplines. His indefatigable spirit of adventure and discovery epitomizes that of the inquiring travel journalist.
The Competition: Now past its 30th year, the Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Competition is the premier contest in the travel journalism field. The competition has gained stature because it (1) does not promote any particular destination or travel product, (2) is open to all North American journalists, not just SATW members, and (3) is judged by faculty at top U.S. schools of journalism.
The Judges: The competition has always been judged by the faculty of outstanding university journalism schools. Starting in 2015, the judging returns to the University of Missouri School of Journalism, which has handled it twice. Past judges have been the faculties at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill School of Journalism and Mass Communication, Northwestern University and the University of Florida. While the Foundation administers the competition, it plays no role in the judging; all entries go directly to the faculty. The Foundation pays the schools for their work.
The Entry Fees: Most categories are $20 per article. A few categories with multiple components or for larger work, such as the Grand Award, Best Newspaper Travel Coverage, Best Magazines, Best Guidebooks and Travel Books, Best Special Packages/Projects and  Best Travel Journalism Websites, have a $50 fee.
The Awards: The Foundation awards close to $20,000 annually in prize money for outstanding print, online, and multimedia works, travel photography, and audio and video broadcast. The Grand Award, for the best portfolio of work by an individual journalist, is $1,500 for Gold place, $750 for Silver, and $500 for Bronze. The categories for individual work carry prizes of $500 for Gold, $250 for Silver and $150 for Bronze. There are no monetary awards for Best Newspaper Travel Coverage, Best Magazines and Best Travel Journalism Websites.
The Funding: The competition is funded via tax-deductible entry fees and donations. Donations are vital, as entry fees do not cover all costs. The sustainability of the annual SATW Foundation Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Competition is assisted by generous contributions from Gold Supporter CARNIVAL CORP. and our other Top Supporters. Their contributions help make the prizes possible and support the future of quality travel media. The SATW Foundation thanks CARNIVAL CORP., the 30 Partners for 30 Years and other contributors for their support in recognizing and rewarding excellence in travel journalism.
The Foundation welcomes donations from individuals, companies and other entities interested in fostering better travel journalism. Contributions may be mailed to the administrator, Mary Lu Abbott, 306 Summer Hill Drive, Fredericksburg, TX 78624.
The Foundation Board:A Board of Directors composed of SATW members governs the Foundation. From the Directors, up to 10 trustees serve as officers and advisers to oversee ongoing business. No director is paid any fee/salary to serve. The current president is David G. Molyneaux, Editor of TheTravelMavens.com. Mary Lu Abbott serves as Administrator handling day-to-day business and Trustee Ed Stone handles the website, database, and communications. For more information, visit the SATW Foundation website, www.satwf.com.