2023-24 Lowell Thomas Competition


You must use Open Call Login at the BetterBNC site.

Do not use Contestant Login or Authorized Entrant — those are for media entrants. (Yes, it’s confusing.) If you land on a page with Contestant Manager and Authorized Entrant tabs, look for Open Call Login in small type under the Password field.

If you are entering work for someone besides yourself, you should be a media entrant, Contestant Login.


A. Past Entrants

  1. Click Open Call Login at top of BetterBNC page. Enter the email address and password you used last year. After sign in, hover on Open Call Contestant at the top for a drop-down menu and click My Account. Update your information as needed and please include a mobile number so we can reach you if needed. This allows us to let you know if you’re a winner and to help promote your award.
  2. In drop-down menu, click on My Contests. The 2023-24 SATW Foundation Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Competition should show up automatically. Click it to go to information, or find it in the menu of contests and check the box, then click. Now you should be on your Welcome/Manage Entries page. The Contest Info tab at the top has a drop-down menu with details about our contest.

B. Newcomer Independent Journalists

  1. Click Open Call Login and Create Your Open Call Account. Fill out the form. Follow screen instructions. The system now will send an email to your address with a validation link. You must click that link to complete the registration. If you do not get/see a validation email, check your spam or junk mail folder and be sure you allow bnc@smalltownpapers.com as a sender. If the validation does not work, click Help & Support at top of BetterBNC page. Check applicable information links there or click Start Trouble Ticket at top of that page.
  2. Once validated, log in to your account. Fill in the information fields.
  3. Click on My Contests and scroll through the list (use scroll-down bar at right side of the box to see all contests). Click the box for our contest.
  4. In the pop-up window, click OK to request approval to enter. We approve as quickly as possible, usually within 24 hours. You will get an email saying you’re approved, but you may start compiling entries before this approval if desired. Under the Open Call Contestant tab at top of the page, see My Scrapbooks. Click on Create/Manage Scrapbooks and then Create/Save Entries to store work you’re considering entering.
  5. After your account is active, when you return to the website, click on Open Call Login at top of page. This should take you to your Welcome/Manage Entries page. Go to the Contest Info tab at top, which has a drop-down menu of details about our contest. The Open Call Contestant tab at the top has a drop-down menu, which includes the logout. 


A.  Go to BetterBNC (betterbnc.com) and log in to your account.

    • Open Call Login is for freelance journalists/individual media (if you see Authorized Entrant tab, that is not for you)
    • Contestant Login is for companies/media entrants
    • Once you’ve followed your respective set-up instructions, you should land on your applicable Welcome/Manage Entries page for our contest. 

B.  IMPORTANT! PLEASE READ BEFORE STARTING: Once you’re signed in, at the top of the BetterBNC page, see Contest Info and click on each item in the drop-down menu for overview/details about the competition. It is important to read Contest Rules for guidelines and eligibility information. You also may read this information on this website. See our contest home page and click the Rules & Eligibility tab. 

C.  Managing and uploading your entries

  1. On the Manage Entries page, click Submit Entry and go to an entry form. Open Call entrants may need to scroll down the Manage Entries page to see the form. 
  1. On Division, highlight General. (You must do this before you can see categories.)
  1. Under Category, choose from the drop-down menu. Read the Category Notes explaining requirements, in the pop-up window below the Category selection box. (You can see a list of all categories with guidelines by clicking link on our contest home page.) 
  1. Fill out the remaining fields for the entry and upload applicable file(s) and/or provide web URL address/link. Allowed file types are PDF, DOC/DOCX, TXT, JPG, GIF, PNG. To upload files, click Browse, navigate to the desired file and click Open. If file sizes are really large, you may need to contact BetterBNC for help or use one of the sources noted by the URL fields on the entry form. 
  1. Credits: This should be the creator of the work, such as the author of text, photographer for photos, etc. If entering work by someone other than yourself, please put the email address in Comments box for the person(s) listed in credits. 
  1. Note on the run date: For entries that may be month-specific (rather than a day), such as magazines, books etc., enter 1 for the date, such as May 1, 2023. For March-April 2023 magazine issues, put April 1, 2023, and for March-April 2024, put March 1, 2024.  
  1. You must hit Submit at bottom of form to save the entry. You do not need to complete all entries at one time. Hitting the Submit button to save an entry starts building a list. You can return to the page later and add more entries. 
  1. Entries must be filed electronically, with a few exceptions. For more information, see Submission Guidelines for Specified Categories.
  1. To complete your submissions and enter the contest, you must go to the Calculate Entry Fee button, approve your list and pay the total fee shown. See Payment Instructions below.


A. Category 101: Grand Award

  1. Enter a portfolio of work. See Category information for specifics.
  2. On the entry form in Where Published/Performed, leave first box Other… and in second box put Various as applicable for freelancers. Publication name applies for a staffer’s entry.
  3. In Headline/Title of Entry, put name of author’s work entered.
  4. In the run date field, put in the publish date of any work in eligible period.
  5. Attach copies of work and/or give URL links. If including books, they must be mailed.
  6. On a Word document, list your Grand Award entries with the name of the publisher/website/broadcaster, the headline and the date published/posted/aired. Attach this document with the entry attachments.

B. Category 102: Travel Magazines and Category 103: Travel Coverage in Other Magazines 

  1. Headline can be name of magazine.
  2. Put date of one issue in run date, using first of month for day, i.e. June 1, 2023. (If issues bridge eligible dates, do the following: For March-April 2023 issues, use April 1, 2023 as date; for March-April 2024, use March 1, 2024.)
  3. List dates of the required 3 issues in the Comments box. (If you were a winner last year and included the March-April 2023 issue among the 3 entries, do not use it again.)
  4. Put in URLs for websites and supplementary material as applicable.
  5. Print magazines must mail their issues; only one copy of each magazine is required. Digital-only magazines must provide a link to PDFs of their issues. When mailing, be sure to use the 2024 address in Mailing Instructions below.

C. Category 105: Newspaper Travel Coverage

  1. In the Headline/Title of Entry field, put publication name, such as the Cleveland Plain Dealer Travel.
  2. In the publication/run date field, put date of one of the portfolio of entries.
  3. On a Word document, list the entries (headlines and dates) and attach this with the entry attachments.
  4. You do not need to list credits (bylines) for each entry in the portfolio.
  5. Put in URLs for websites and supplementary material as applicable.

D. Category 120: Special Packages/Series

  1. Submissions may be a combination of electronic and mail-in elements. If an entry is or includes a full magazine issue or full newspaper travel section, hard copy should be mailed, as that’s easier for judging.
  2. On a Word document, list all the elements being submitted for the entry with information such as publisher’s/website/broadcaster’s name, the date published/posted/aired and headlines/titles. Attach this document with other entry attachments.
  3. When entering a series, do not enter a single component of it in another category. If you choose not to enter the entire series in this category, then you may enter a single component in an applicable category.

E. Category 122: Travel Book and Category 123: Guidebook

  1. Books published since Jan. 1, 2022, are eligible.
  2. Books must be mailed. Send one copy only for this category, but a second copy if also entering as part of the Grand Award portfolio. Fill out the entry form, print it and include with the book. See following section with Mailing Instructions (be sure to use the 2024 address rather than one you/distributor may have saved from past). 

F. Category 124a/124b: Travel Audio-Radio / Travel Audio-Podcasts and Audio Guides
Category 125a/125b: Travel Video Story

Provide a link to the entry at a hosting website. Online work should be accessible through the fall and preferably not password-protected; if so, provide access code/password in the Comments box.

Note: The video category is split; 125a is for video longer than two minutes and 125b is for video of two minutes or less.

G. Category 126: Travel Blog

  1. This category is for writers who own their own blog and is for the entire blog, not a single post.
  2. Put the name of the blog as the entry and give the URL.

H. Category 127 Instagram Storytelling

  1. On the entry form in Where Published/Performed, leave first box Other… and in second box put your Instagram name in the media line.
  2. In the Headline/Title of Entry field, put subject of the posts/images.
  3. Paste the link(s) in the URL/Link fields. An entry is up to 5 posts/images.


(Be sure to use the 2024 address below, updating it with shippers that may have stored one from past years.) 

  1. Entries must be filed electronically, except as follows:
  • Category 101 Grand Award can include mail-in items, such as books.
  • Category 102 Travel Magazine and Category 103 Travel Coverage in Other Magazines mail hard copies if they are print magazines.
  • Category 120 Special Packages/Series can be a combination of electronic and mail-in elements.
  • Category 122 Travel Book and Category 123 Guidebook must be mailed.
  1. For mail-in entries, complete content fields, print and attach the entry form/label to the entry.
  1. Use the following address:

Victoria Larson
SATW Foundation
501 Fifth Ave.
Suite 2108
New York, NY 100176168


A. Determining Fees

  1. When you’ve completed all of your submissions, log in to your Manage Entries page, where entries are listed. Click Calculate Entry Fee button (in box above your list of entries) and review your list of entries for accuracy, checking those you want to enter. If you wish to delete any, do so at this point. See instructions at top of the Calculate Fees page. Deadline: April 1.
  2. Scroll to bottom of the list to see your subtotal. 
  3. Click the payment link and follow instructions. 
  4. Print a copy of that page if you need a record of entries/payment. 

B. Options for payment 

  1. You may pay through PayPal with a credit card. Print the receipt if needed. See instructions at top of your Calculate Fees page. 
  2. Alternately, you may write a check to SATW Foundation. NOTE TO MEDIA: Be sure to give the 2024 address to your accounting department so the check doesn’t go astray.

Mail check to: 

Victoria Larson
SATW Foundation
501 Fifth Ave.
Suite 2108
New York, NY 100176168

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