The Society of American Travel Writers just announced the winners of the Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Competition Awards for works published in 2011 or 2012. This is the 28th year of the competition, which is overseen by the Society of American Travel Writers Foundation (SATW Foundation).

Individual authors and organizations are eligible to win. Top winners were National Geographic Traveler, Outside magazine, the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times. Columnist and journalist Jill Schensul won the overall travel journalist of the year for her work in in northern New Jersey’s The Record. A press release announcing the winners states, “In a series of adventures, she chooses colorful words and just the right phrasing to hold us captive. Jill Schensul proves that she’s a professional storyteller,” according to judges.

The SATW Foundation distributes nearly $20,000 to individual winners. Click here for the SATW Foundation homepage and see who won which award below.

Out of 1,163 entries, the winners are as follows:

Category 1: Grand Award — Lowell Thomas Travel Journalist of the Year (24)

  1. Gold: Jill Schensul, travel writer, The Record, northern New Jersey
  2. Silver: Marcia DeSanctis, freelance writer
  3. Bronze: Aaron Teasdale, freelance writer

Category 2: Newspaper Travel Sections (11)

2A — Newspapers with 350,000 or more circulation

  1. Gold: The Washington Post, Joe Yonan, Travel Editor
  2. Silver: The New York Times, Danielle Mattoon, Travel Editor
  3. Bronze: Los Angeles Times, Catharine Hamm, Travel Editor

2B — Newspapers under 350,000 circulation

  1. Gold: The Oregonian (Portland), Alex Pulaski, Travel Editor
  2. Silver: The Record (northern New Jersey), Marc Schwarz, Travel Editor
  3. Bronze: San Francisco Chronicle, Spud Hilton, Travel Editor

Category 3: Magazines (17)

3A — Travel Magazines

  1. Gold: Afar, Julia Cosgrove, Editor-in-Chief
  2. Silver: National Geographic Traveler, Keith Bellows, Editor-in-Chief
  3. Bronze: Arthur Frommer’s Budget Travel, Marc Peyser, Editor

3B — Travel Coverage in Other Magazines

  1. Gold: Midwest Living,Kendra L. Williams, Senior Travel Editor, and Hannah Agran, Assistant Travel Editor
  2. Silver: Southern Living, Jennifer Cole, Features Editor, and Travel staff
  3. Bronze: Westways, Elizabeth Harryman, Travel Editor, and Leslie Yap, Editor-in-Chief

Category 4: U.S./Canada Travel Article (107)

  1. Gold: W. Hodding Carter, “57 Feet and Rising,” Outside
  2. Silver: Ryan Knighton, “Riding Blind,” Outside
  3. Bronze: David Lansing, “Living With Kapu,” Islands

Category 5: Foreign Travel Article (106)

  1. Gold: Eric Hansen, “The Killing Fields,” Outside
  2. Silver: Ryan T. Bell, “Comrade Cowboy, Part 1,” Western Horseman
  3. Bronze: Marcia DeSanctis, “Green Pastures and the Ghosts of Rwanda,” Overnight Buses Travel Magazine for iPad

Category 6: Photo Illustration of Travel (61)

  1. Gold: Brown W. Cannon III, “Mauritius: The Smallest World,” Islands
  2. Silver: Piotr Redlinski, “Lost Cities, Found Anew,” The New York Times
  3. Bronze: Gary Arndt, “The Canary Islands,”

Category 7: Special Package/Project (27)

  1. Gold: Kim Cross, Erin Shaw Street and Rick Bragg, “What Stands in a Storm,” Southern Living, print/online/video
  2. Silver: Christopher Reynolds, “Machu Picchu,” Los Angeles Times, print/online/video
  3. Bronze: Jerry Soverinsky, “Bambino on Board,” AOL Travel/Huffington Post

Category 8: Cruise Travel (41)

  1. Gold: Margie Goldsmith, “Antarctica: Following Shackleton’s Footsteps,” The Affluent Traveler
  2. Silver: Barbara Ramsay Orr, “Discover an Explosion of Colour on This Dutch River Cruise,” The Globe and Mail, Toronto
  3. Bronze: Barbara Ramsay Orr, “European River Cruise,” West of the City magazine, Ontario

Category 9: Adventure Travel (56)

  1. Gold: Bill Donahue, “Are We There Yet? Six Guys in a Capsule,” Wired magazine
  2. Silver: Mark Jenkins, “Big Cat Diary,” National Geographic Traveler
  3. Bronze: Alex Hutchinson, “Avoiding the Crowds on an Everest Trek,” The New York Times

Category 10: Travel News/Investigative Reporting (41)

  1. Gold: Gary Stoller, “FAA Limits Emergency Oxygen,” USA Today
  2. Silver: Ellen Creager and Jennifer Dixon, “Hub Premiums Cost Delta Fliers Plenty at Metro,” Detroit Free Press
  3. Bronze: Gary Stoller, “Fliers Refuse to Turn off Devices,” USA Today

Category 11: Service-Oriented Consumer Article (58)

  1. Gold: Hannah Sampson, “Renting a Vacation Home? Beware Scams,” The Miami Herald
  2. Silver: Scott Mayerowitz, “Now Arriving in Alabama: Your Lost Luggage,” The Associated Press
  3. Bronze: Jean-Francois Legare and team, “One’s Company,” enRoute

Category 12: Environmental Tourism (38)

  1. Gold: Joshua Hammer, “Shark Bait,” Outside
  2. Silver: Andrea Sachs, “Clean the World: Hotel Soaps That Care,” The Washington Post
  3. Bronze: Tim Neville, “Over the Alps on a Bike with a Boost,” The New York Times

Category 13: Cultural Tourism (99)

  1. Gold: Michael Luongo, “Ground Zero as Dark Tourist Site,” Miller-McCune magazine (now Pacific Standard)
  2. Silver: Joshua Cooper Ramo, “Reimagining Hangzhou,” Departures
  3. Bronze: Don George, “Japan’s Past Perfect,” National Geographic Traveler

Category 14: Personal Comment (128)

  1. Gold: Andrew McCarthy, “The Cycle of Life,” National Geographic Traveler
  2. Silver: Marcia DeSanctis, “Masha,” “The Best Women’s Travel Writing 2011” (Travelers’ Tales) and Recce: Literary Journeys for the Discerning Traveler
  3. Bronze: Kimberley Lovato, “Lost and Liberated in the Dordogne,”

Category 15: Special-Purpose Travel (101)

  1. Gold: Clinton Etheridge, “What Is Africa to Me?” Swarthmore College Bulletin
  2. Silver: Ryan T. Bell, “Comrade Cowboy, Part 3,” Western Horseman
  3. Bronze: Christina Rexrode, “Volunteering in Haiti: Good Intentions Not Enough,” The Associated Press

Category 16: Short Article on Travel (67)

  1. Gold: Bruce Newman, “Trains that Won the West,” Via
  2. Silver: Larry Bleiberg, “Selma, Ala: Crossing a Bridge into Civil Rights History,” Los Angeles Times
  3. Bronze: Susan Farlow, “Sex and the River: Male or Female Waterways,” San Francisco Chronicle

Category 17: Travel Book (22)

  1. Gold: Kimberley Lovato, “Walnut Wine & Truffle Groves: Culinary Adventures in the Dordogne,” Running Press
  2. Silver: Scott Wallace, “The Unconquered: In Search of the Amazon’s Last Uncontacted Tribes,” Crown Publishers
  3. Bronze: Anne Elizabeth Moore, “Cambodian Grrrl: Self-Publishing in Phnom Penh,” Cantankerous Titles

Category 18: Guidebook (40)

  1. Gold: Christian DeBenedetti, “The Great American Ale Trail,” Running Press
  2. Silver: Sharon Niederman, “Signs & Shrines: Spiritual Journeys Across New Mexico,” The Countryman Press
  3. Bronze: Douglas Peebles, “Photographing Maui: Where to Find Perfect Shots and How to Take Them,” The Countryman Press

Category 19: Online Travel Journalism Sites (16)

  1. Gold:, National Geographic Traveler, Keith Bellows, Editor-in-Chief; Kathie Gartrell, Managing Editor, e-Publishing; Carolyn Fox, Senior Producer; Zain Habboo, Director
  2. Silver:, Fodor’s Travel, Arabella Bowen, Executive Editorial Director; Erica Duecy, Deputy Web Editor
  3. Bronze:, Afar Media, Greg Sullivan, Editorial Director; Derek Butcher, Vice President Digital; Davina Baum, Digital Content Director

Category 20: Travel Broadcast — Audio (15)

  1. Gold: Rudy Maxa, “Rudy Maxa’s World,” syndicated radio travel show
  2. Silver: Joseph Rosendo, “St. Vincent & the Grenadines,” podcast and radio
  3. Bronze: Rick Steves, “Travel with Rick Steves: Steve Inskeep’s Foreign Intelligence; Vienna a la Fred Plotkin; Listeners’ Travel Resolutions,” public radio stations and podcast

Category 21: Travel Broadcast — Video (12)

  1. Gold: Small World Productions, “RichardBangs’ Adventures With Purpose — Pearl River Delta, Hong Kong, Macau and Guangdong: Quest for Harmony,” American Public Television
  2. Silver: Ashley Colburn, “Takeoff: Thailand,” WealthTV Network
  3. Bronze: Joseph Rosendo and Julie Rosendo, “Guatemala’s Semana Santa,” PBS stations

Category 22: Travel Blog (36)

  1. Gold: Kara Williams, Jennifer Miner and Beth Blair,
  2. Silver: National Geographic Traveler Digital Team, Keith Bellows, Editor-in-Chief, Intelligent Travel,
  3. Bronze: Scott Tharler, Fodor’s Travel Tech blog,

Category 23: Travel App (40)

  1. Gold: Peter Landau, “Travel by Handstand (HST),” for iPad
  2. Silver: George Steinmetz, “Above & Beyond,” for iPad
  3. Bronze: National Geographic Traveler, “50 Places of a Lifetime,” for iPad, Keith Bellows, Editor-in-Chief; Kathie Gartrell, Managing Editor, e-Publishing

Image from Julie Jordan Scott (juliejordanscott) on the flickr Creative Commons

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