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35+ Years of Rewarding Journalists for Outstanding Work in the Field

The SATW Foundation sponsors the annual Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Competition. The first contest honored work done in 1984. Today the Foundation awards nearly $20,000 annually in prize money for outstanding print, online and multimedia works and for travel photography and both audio and video broadcast. It is the premier competition in North America in the field of travel journalism. It has gained its stature for several reasons, most notably:

* it does not promote any particular destination or travel product,
* it does not have any membership requirements for journalists to enter, and
* it is judged independently by the faculty at top U.S. schools of journalism.

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2020-21 Lowell Thomas Contest is Now Open

The 2020-21 SATW Foundation Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Competition is open for entries. The deadline is April 1. Work must have been published/posted/broadcast in English between April 1, 2020, and March 31, 2021, except as noted in book categories.

Yes, it has been a difficult year, with travel at a near full stop, but we are here again, stronger than ever and ready to celebrate your good work. We have even more awards and prize money for journalists this year.

We’re excited to announce a new category, the Robert Haru Fisher Award for Travel Health/Safety Coverage — certainly a timely one. Fisher, a distinguished editor, writer and former president of the SATW Foundation, helped start the Lowell Thomas competition. He died in March 2020 at age 90 and left a major bequest to fund this award. We are grateful for his generosity in continuing to contribute to the craft he loved.

The contest invites work in all types of media, including online, audio and video, not just print. All entries must be made through the BetterBNC Media Awards Platform. Electronic entries are required in all but a few categories.

If you have not entered in the past, then you must sign up at the contest website and create an account. (It’s a simple process).

Judges will be faculty at the University of Missouri School of Journalism with Emeritus Prof. John Fennell, Prof. Jennifer Rowe and administrative assistant Kim Townlain coordinating.

Click here for details about the contest, including rules, eligibility, categories and how to enter.

Information also is at the BetterBNC website.

If you have questions and/or want more information, email us at awards@satwf.com.

2020 Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Awards Announced

Outside magazine earned seven awards, and National Geographic Traveler, The New York Times and Travel + Leisure each won six awards in the 2019-20 Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Competition.

National Geographic Traveler was judged the Best Travel Magazine. The New York Times earned highest honors in Newspaper Travel Coverage, and Travel + Leisure won Gold in the Travel Journalism Websites category.

Kevin West, freelance writer from Monterey, Mass., is the Travel Journalist of the Year, earning the Grand Award for a portfolio of work.

The competition drew 1,299 entries. Faculty at the University of Missouri School of Journalism did the judging.

The Lowell Thomas awards, recognized as the most prestigious in travel journalism, were announced Oct. 16 during the 2020 Virtual Convention of SATW, the premier professional organization of travel journalists and communicators.

The sustainability of the annual competition is made possible by a generous contribution from Gold Supporter Carnival Corp., the world’s largest cruise company.

Click here for all the details about this year’s award winners.

The sustainability of the annual SATW Foundation Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Competition is supported by generous contributions from CARNIVAL CORP.
and other Top Supporters.
GOLD SUPPORTER Carnival Corporation is the world’s largest cruise company with a portfolio of cruise brands in North America, Europe, Australia and Asia, featuring Carnival Cruise Line, Cunard, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, Seabourn, AIDA Cruises, Costa Cruises, P&O Cruises (Australia) and P&O Cruises (UK). Its brands, dedicated to annually providing great vacations to millions of passengers, sail over 100 ships to over 700 ports.

The Foundation

We are a nonprofit 501 (c) (3) foundation, started in the 1980s. Our mission is to recognize and reward outstanding work in travel journalism. The Foundation funds the competition through entry fees and donations, which are tax-deductible. 

 Society of American Travel Writers (SATW)

The Society of American Travel Writers is the pre-eminent professional association of travel journalists. Click here to learn more or visit the SATW Web site, www.satw.org. 

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