September 10, 2022 — As travel and travel journalism continue to enjoy a resurgence, the 38th Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Competition presented more than 100 awards, chosen from a near-record 1,438 entries, led by Outside Magazine, which won 12 awards, The New York Times with 10 and nine for Travel + Leisure.
The winners in the 30 categories of the competition, overseen by the SATW Foundation, receive the premier professional recognition for travel journalists and communicators. The honors, which include $25,000 in prize money, were presented Sept. 10 in Bogotá, Colombia, the site of the SATW annual conference.
“Travel is back in full force as evidenced by this year’s SATW winning entries,” said John Fennell, professor emeritus at the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism and coordinator of the 24 faculty members who evaluated articles, photography, videos, podcasts, and websites, among other works. “Travel journalists are again venturing forth across the world and returning with insightful stories, sound and images.”
The contest also included two new categories: For Coverage of Diverse Communities, gold was awarded to Tsering Ngodup Lama for “Tragedy and Resilience Among the Sherpa People of the Himalaya” in LonelyPlanet.com, which judges praise for bringing “to life the beauty of the landscape and the challenges of a difficult and demanding occupation.” Gold for Instagram Storytelling went to Cory Lee Woodard for “Accessibility With Virgin Voyages,” featured on CurbFreeCoryLee. Judges said, “He has a wonderful way of putting you into his perspective, so you get to explore alongside him.”
The Grand Award — Lowell Thomas Travel Journalist of the year — went to Stephen Hiltner, an editor and photojournalist for The New York Times; judges called his writing “lyrical and frank.” The New York Times also won gold for Newspaper Travel Coverage that judges said provided “unique perspectives on typical and atypical story ideas.”
Southbound magazine won gold in the Travel Magazines category and was cited for “capturing the personalities” of a range of destinations, from high-end resorts to Ozarks rustic. Midwest Living was awarded gold for Travel Coverage in General Magazines. Judges praised it for its reader service information, outdoor photography and stories that celebrate a variety of Midwest destinations.
The gold for Editorial Travel Website went to Fodors.com, which judges said did a “great job of putting exploration in the audience’s hands.”
Now in its second year, the Robert Haru Fisher Award for Travel Health/Safety Coverage honored Olivia Carville with the gold for what judges called a “meticulously reported investigation”: “Airbnb Is Spending Millions of Dollars to Make Nightmares Go Away,” which appeared in Bloomberg Business Week.
Author Brandon Presser received gold for “The Far Land: 200 Years of Murder, Mania and Mutiny in the South Pacific.” Judges lauded him for sorting “truth from rumor about the on-board insurrection … popularly known as Mutiny on the Bounty.” In the travel guidebook category, gold went to Pavia Rosati and Jeralyn Gerba for “Travel North America (and Avoid Being a Tourist),” which judges cited for encouraging travelers to move slowly to savor a destination.
For the second year in a row, Annita Thomas earned gold in Travel Audio-Radio, this time for “Kindred Spirit Mailbox, Sunset Beach, North Carolina,” on WDUN-AM 550 and FM 102.9.
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 high-quality travel media.
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