- Travel Journalism Shows its Mettle in 2021 Lowell Thomas Awards.
- Winners of SATW Foundation Competition excel at helping readers reckon with the pandemic
- 1,278 entries in the annual contest, overseen by the Society of American Travel Writers Foundation, were noteworthy for their style, scope and service to readers.
A digital journalist, a regional newspaper and a reporter’s improbable tale of bull riding on an aircraft carrier were among the winners of top awards in the 37th Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Competition in a year for which there was no road map.
The 1,278 entries in the annual contest, overseen by the Society of American Travel Writers Foundation, were noteworthy for their style, scope and service to readers who struggled to make sense of a travelscape turned upside down by the pandemic. The University of Missouri School of Journalism oversaw the judging, which involved 27 judges this year.
Winners “proved their mettle by producing original, useful and often moving stories that covered the moments and moods of the past year,” the judges said of the works, which covered spring of 2020 to spring of 2021. “Travel journalists were nimble and resourceful and showed in numerous ways the enduring value of their work.”
The awards were announced Monday, Oct. 4, at the SATW Convention in Milwaukee. The honor is considered the premier professional recognition for travel journalists and communicators. The Foundation is giving 104 awards in 27 categories and $22,550 in prize money this year.
Katherine LaGrave, digital features editor for AFAR Media, was honored as the Lowell Thomas Travel Journalist of the Year. Judges praised her storytelling and reporting as well as her focus on what readers needed to know to navigate today’s travel challenges.
The Cleveland Plain Dealer earned the Gold award for newspaper travel coverage. Judges cited editor Susan Glaser’s “laser focus on readers” who sought closer-to-home destinations in the wake of the pandemic.