National Geographic Traveler,
Guadalajara, Mexico ― National Geographic Traveler wins two gold awards – for its magazine and its Web site – in the 2009 Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Competition. Among other winners announced today, its sister magazine, National Geographic Adventure, takes top honors in photography and adventure writing.
For the third year in a row, the Los Angeles Times earned the gold for the best Newspaper Travel Section among those with circulation above 350,000. The Boston Globe led all publications with the highest total of five awards, three silver and two bronze.
This year marks the 25th anniversary of the competition, overseen by the Society of American Travel Writers Foundation. The awards, recognized as the most prestigious in the field, were announced in Guadalajara at the annual convention of the Society of American Travel Writers, the professional organization of travel journalists and communicators.
The competition, for work from spring 2008 to spring 2009, drew 1,191 entries. Judging was done by faculty at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill School of Journalism and Mass Communication.
Travel Journalist of the Year is Joe Ray, a globetrotting freelance writer-photographer who is a correspondent for the Boston Globe.
National Geographic Adventure took a total of four awards. Outside magazine was a triple honoree, including two gold -- Travel News/Investigative Reporting and foreign travel articles. Sister publication, Outside’s Go, earned a silver. Departures, Budget Travel and the online Slate magazines each won three awards, as did the Los Angeles Times and the Seattle Times. Travel + Leisure captured two awards, along with a third by its sister publication Travel + Leisure Golf.
In Special Packages/Projects, which recognizes in-depth coverage of a topic and emphasizes use of multiple, interactive media, Rick Steves won gold for “Rick Steves’ Iran: Yesterday and Today.” It included a public television special, radio program, interactive Web site, travel blogs and various print components.
In this year’s new Travel Blog category, Amy Ziff took the gold for “The Window Seat” at www.Travelocity.com.
With the addition of a category, the SATW Foundation now gives $20,750 annually in prize money to winners. For the Grand Award, as Travel Journalist of the Year, Ray receives $1,500. Judges cited his skill and efficiency in portraying the adventure of travel. Winning silver and $750 in this category is Bob Howells, a freelance writer cited for his focus on nature-oriented travel. The bronze, along with $500, goes to Dave G. Houser, a freelance writer-photographer lauded for exceptional storytelling and reporting.
"The Foundation is grateful to the contest judges from the faculty at University ofNorth Carolina, who donated the nearly $10,000 in their judging fees to a summer journalism workshop for high school seniors," said David G. Molyneaux, president of the SATW Foundation.
Among the winners:
Newspapers: The Houston Chronicle won silver, and the Boston Globe and Seattle Times tied for bronze for travel sections with a circulation above 350,000. In the category for newspapers under 350,000 circulation, the Miami Herald took gold, the Ottawa Citizen in Canada silver and California’s Orange County Register bronze.
Magazines: In the category for travel magazines, National Geographic Traveler took the gold, Budget Travel the silver and Virtuoso Life the bronze. In travel coverage by other magazines, Departures won the gold, SmartMoney the silver and Westways the bronze.
Online Travel Journalism Sites: Traveler.nationalgeographic.com, from National Geographic Traveler, was the top winner, followed by Boston.com from the Boston Globe with silver and BudgetTravel.com from Budget Travel with bronze.
Books: The best travel book gold winner was “Along the Templar Trail, Seven Million Steps for Peace," by Brandon Wilson, published by Pilgrim’s Tales Inc. The top winner for best guidebook was “Pauline Frommer’s London: Spend Less/See More,” by Jason Cochran, from Wiley Publishing.
The competition is open to all North American journalists. First-place gold winners in individual categories each receive $500. Silver and bronze winners are awarded $250 and $150, respectively. The awards are named for Lowell Thomas, acclaimed broadcast journalist, prolific author and world explorer during five decades in travel journalism.
A list of the winners and the judges’ comments are available on the Foundation Web site, www.satwfoundation.org, or from the Foundation administrator, Mary Lu Abbott, at MaryLuA@satwf.com. For information about the contest or the Foundation, visit the Web site. For information about SATW, visit the organization’s Web site, www.satw.org.
Click here for list of winners