National Geographic Traveler, Islands, Travel + Leisure, and Afar magazines are top media winners in the 2014 Society of American Travel Writers (SATW) Foundation 30th Annual Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Competition.
The competition, based on work published between spring 2013 and spring 2014, drew 1,177 entries and was judged by the faculty at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill School of Journalism and Mass Communication.
For the third time in the 30 years of the contest, Jill Schensul, a prolific writer for The Record of northern New Jersey, is the Lowell Thomas Travel Journalist of the Year. Since 1995, Schensul has won 36 Lowell Thomas awards for herself and her newspaper.
Also honored for Grand Award travel portfolios were Skye Mayring of TravelAge West, Brian J. Cantwell of The Seattle Times and Beth J. Harpaz of the Associated Press.
This year, the SATW Foundation presented 90 awards in 25 categories and nearly $20,000 in prize money to journalists. Since the first competition for work in 1984, the SATW Foundation has presented more than 2,100 awards and $420,000-plus in recognition of outstanding travel journalism.
National Geographic Traveler and its Intelligent Travel Blog won nine awards, including three Golds and three Silvers in the categories of Foreign Travel, Cruise Travel, Special-Purpose Travel, Travel Video and Travel Blog. National Geographic Society added a Silver award in the Guidebook category for “The Dog Lover’s Guide to Travel.”
Outside magazine earned a total of five awards, while The New York Times and The Record in New Jersey each tallied four awards. Islands, Travel + Leisure and Afar won Gold, Silver and Bronze respectively as top travel magazines. Private Clubs took Gold for travel coverage in other magazines.
In best newspaper travel sections, The Washington Post and The Seattle Times earned highest honors in their respective circulation categories.
The Lowell Thomas competition is overseen by the SATW Foundation. The awards, recognized as the most prestigious in travel journalism, were announced in Iceland at the annual conference of SATW, the premier professional organization of travel journalists and communicators.
In the category of Special Projects, Jeff Ritter and Golf Magazine won Gold for “The Mexican Golf Course That Survived the Drug War.”
“It is not often that travel stories include tales of murder and the drug cartel,” wrote one of the Lowell Thomas judges. “This complete package on the lone golf course in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, that never closed despite the violence surrounding its greens is a compelling and well-told story through multiple mediums. The article is quality journalism … The creative portrait photography shows seemingly ordinary workers like sports stars, and this juxtaposition challenges the viewer to see them in a different light. This fine piece of multimedia journalism is about more than a destination or a golf course. It is about the resolve of the people … in times of great difficulty.”
Among the Gold winners:
Tony Perrottet, with “Houston on the Verge” in Smithsonian magazine and “Rich Tourist, Poor Tourist” in The New York Times;
Carl Hoffman for “The Big Empty” about life in the Arabian desert in National Geographic Traveler;
Dave Bouskill for photos of the Arctic on ThePlanetD.com;
Kenneth Brower for “The Great White Hope” of Antarctica in National Geographic Traveler;
Bill McAuliffe for “Hitchhiking in a New Age” in the Star Tribune;
Matthew Power for “Blood in the Sand: Killing a Turtle Advocate” in Outside;
Karen Schwartz for “Do Your Research Before Booking a Historic Inn” for the Associated Press;
Peter Fish for “Howl” of the wolves and Jane Smiley for “Love at First Sight,” both in Sunset;
Aatish Taseer for “The Soul of Sri Lanka” in Travel + Leisure;
Ken Budd for “Kenya: Holding Elijah” in WeSaidGoTravel.com.
The travel journalism website Gold winner was Afar.com for its “strong visual design” and content. Silver went to Fest300.com for its reviews of the world’s best festivals. Bronze was earned by USA Today.com/Travel for “its tablet-driven user experience, ideal for a travel site with strong visuals … great travel content that is not all promotional but serves the reader with strong journalistic writing.”
Gold for best travel blog went to ThePlanetD.com. The Silver winner was IntelligentTravel.NationalGeographic.com, and the bronze was VoyageVixens.com.
Best travel video Gold winner was Bob Krist’s “Advent in Salzburg” for IntelligentTravel.NationalGeographic.com.
Best travel audio Gold winner was Arthur Frommer and Pauline Frommer for “The Travel Show,” syndicated from WOR in New York.
Winning best travel guidebook was Jason Cochran, for “Frommer’s EasyGuide to Walt Disney World and Orlando.”
Best travel book Gold went to Paula Young Lee, “Deer Hunting in Paris: A Memoir of God, Guns and Game Meat,” for Travelers’ Tales/Solas House.
Best App Gold winner was the Afar Travel Guide mobile app from Afar Media.
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 SATW Foundation distributes nearly $20,000 annually to individual winners.
“We thank this year’s many supporters and the Tourist Office for Flanders - Brussels for their donations, helping us to recognize and reward excellence in travel journalism,” said David G. Molyneaux, SATW Foundation president.
A full list of the winners and the judges’ comments are available on the SATW Foundation website, www.satwfoundation.org.
For more information about the Foundation or awards, contact Mary Lu Abbott at email@example.com.
Visit the Foundation’s website: http://www.satwf.com/, find it on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SATWFoundation and follow on Twitter via @SATWFoundation.
For information about SATW, visit www.satw.org.