Society of American Travel Writers Foundation Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Competition, awards for Work Published in 2008-2009. Results released Oct. 11, 2009
Category 1: Grand Award — Lowell Thomas Travel Journalist of the Year
Gold: Joe Ray, freelance writer-photographer
You cannot avoid being drawn into a Joe Ray travel story — they are superbly written. Lead after lead after lead, Ray demonstrates with skill and efficiency a knack for choosing the right words to portray the adventure of travel. From the Sahara to Argentina to Lisbon, and locations in between, he takes readers on a wonderful ride. Ray also introduces us to interesting characters and must-see stops along the way. Reporting from Tamanrasset he writes: In a city of nomads, a brief encounter with a half-blind nun leaves us with words to live by on a trek into the Sahara: “We only see well with our hearts.” It is first-place writing and reporting — story after story after story. Joe Ray wrote himself to the gold.
Silver: Bob Howells, freelance writer
Bob Howells does not just write about nature — he becomes one with it. In fact, if you are not careful, you will find yourself transported into a remote and vast landscape or seascape. And he knows just how to hook you along. In “Called to the Wild,” written for National Geographic Traveler, Howells does just that: “How I came to be snorkeling in Hudson Bay not far from 3,000-pound beluga whales is the story of a growing obsession … I like being reminded that separation from the natural world is an illusion. Indeed, here I am, as alive and breathing as the creature I’m watching.” Howells has a talent for bringing nature up close and revealing the wonder of our surroundings far from cities and towns. He is also very good at drawing you into his stories with each succeeding paragraph until you are so far away from home that you really do come away feeling you traveled. In writing and reporting, Bob Howells is the silver winner.
Bronze: Dave G. Houser, freelance writer-photographer
Dave G. Houser hits on the perfect mix of combining travel writing with nuggets of history. From the Pacific Islands to Las Vegas, he dashes back and forth from the present to the past with delightful perspective. While traveling aboard the cruise ship Orion in the Pacific, Houser reminds us that PT 109 sank in the Blackett Strait on Aug. 2, 1943, setting the stage for Lt. John F. Kennedy’s heroics. In another story he writes: “A bubbling artesian spring that once quenched the thirst of nomadic Indians and eventually became the birthplace of Las Vegas, Nevada, is now the site of a $250-millon non-gaming cultural complex that is fast becoming the city’s most popular off-Strip attraction.” Houser goes on to weave a story about the Springs Preserve that is a historical jewel and more valuable than the glitz and glamour of the shows and gambling of Vegas. He knows how to tell a story and mix in just the right amount of history to keep you reading along. For that and his exceptional reporting, Dave G. Houser earns the bronze award.
Category 2: Newspaper Travel Sections
2A — Newspapers with 350,000 or more circulation
Gold: Los Angeles Times, Catharine Hamm, Travel Editor
There’s a great variety in topics for a broad audience and to meet local angles and interests. Many inside stories are contained on one page, and stories often are linked to news and events. With excellent reporting and writing, many stories — such as the Lourdes piece and “Tiny Treasures” — become history lessons, not just a list of “if you go” what to see, where to stay, etc. The sections serve not only travelers but also readers who want to know more about other countries but who will never travel there. Sections have overall appeal and are cohesive.
Silver: Houston Chronicle, Harry Shattuck, Tracy L. Barnett, Travel Editors
Sections have lots of information, but the layout is attractive and eye-catching, grabbing reader attention. Story topics serve readers well and have a different angle or flavor from the approach for similar stories in other travel sections. Birding content and design was a favorite. There are many local bits for the Houston audience. A fun read.
Bronze (tie): The Boston Globe, Anne Fitzgerald, Travel Editor
Topics serve an audience with broad interests. The strongest aspect is Explore New England, with lots of stories each week outlining enticing destinations close to Boston. The reporting has detail, offering good travel information along with description. Sections show good use of color, and layouts are appealing. A favorite: 11 Places to Roam with Rover.
Bronze (tie): The Seattle Times, Terry Tazioli, Travel Editor
It’s tops in attractive clean layout that makes traveling through the section user-friendly. Color screens delineate information clearly. The traveler’s essay and back-page article are directly tied to local audiences. Concise, to-the-point reporting comes with personal touches.
2B — Newspapers under 350,000 circulation
Gold: The Miami Herald, Jane Wooldridge, Travel Editor
These sections have lots going on, with stories that serve completely an audience with broad interests. Content is geared to area readers and a Florida audience, though sections such as theme parks would appeal to Florida visitors. “Jane’s (Almost) 100 Tales From a Lifetime of Travel” provides a captivating retrospective, particularly for longtime readers. Good writing and reporting.
Silver: The Ottawa Citizen, Laura Robin, Travel Editor
The strength is the focus on reader interest. Story selection strongly favors people who live in the region and their activities. Usually one article spotlights a U.S. town across the border. Good story topics prove interesting reads, particularly canoeing the Rideau Canal with related map and historical detail. Traveling to eat serves as a good section theme. Stories are thoroughly reported.
Bronze: The Orange County Register, Santa Ana, CA, Gary Warner, Travel Editor
Stories serve the audience well, especially the “Cut It Out” pieces. Photos showcase the subjects, and graphics, particularly on the ocean liner piece, add detail. Articles include history, not just a what to do when you get there, thus educating even readers who don’t travel.
Category 3: Magazines
3A — Travel Magazines
Gold: National Geographic Traveler, Keith Bellows, Editor
Really striking cover photographs, paired with cover lines that spoke directly to me, drew me into this wonderful magazine. I loved how the editor introduced me to each issue on the table of contents page and how each story blurb made me want to turn directly to that page and read the story. Thumbing through the magazine, however, was equally rewarding, with quick features that begged me to stop and read them and loads of those beautiful pictures accompanying interesting tales. I could curl up in an easy chair with each issue and be entranced for an evening.
Silver: Budget Travel, Nina Willdorf, Editor in Chief
I’d quickly pick this magazine off the newsstand. Its cover lines prove that the standard tricks (numbered lists, imperative statements) really can sell. I loved getting tips from readers and reading the answers to their questions. The magazine truly serves the reader with well-thought-out helpings of travel advice.
Bronze: Virtuoso Life, Elaine G. Srnka, Editor
My upscale favorite. The covers introduced themes and the inside articles carried them out. The pictures and the design oozed elegance. Great for the traveler who has money to spend or wishes he had money to spend.
3B — Travel Coverage in Other Magazines
Gold: Departures, Richard David Story, Editor in Chief
The Black Book section dazzled me, making me wish I had the money to enjoy the shops and sights it described. The coverage was a pleasure for the armchair traveler. It also provided great tips for the more adventurous.
Silver: SmartMoney, Missy Sullivan, Senior Editor/Kristen Bellstrom, Staff Writer
Only three stories, but three interesting, well-packaged stories. We learn the ins and outs of hiring private guides, discover how to avoid the crush caused by arriving cruise liners and get acquainted with the rush to exotic wedding locations. Nicely reported stories.
Bronze: Westways, Elizabeth Harryman, Travel Editor
This magazine knows how to serve its readership — perhaps I should be one of them. The conventional travel crowd is well-served with nicely packaged trip ideas; I especially appreciated the emphasis on traveling with the kids and the grandkids.
Category 4: Newspaper Article on U.S./Canada Travel
Gold: Jerry Soverinsky, “Vacation Home” (helping build a house on Montana Indian reservation), Chicago Sun-Times
Descriptive writing pulls you into the action — with a lead that demands to be read. Jerry Soverinsky makes this Cheyenne Reservation volunteer experience intensely personal, revealing his humanity, vulnerability and humor. “A fury of final thoughts raced through my mind as a roll of thunder shook the very ground to which I was trying to cling: I should have worked less. I should have watched more television. I should have taken more cabs. Kaboom!” Hilarious.
Silver: Donna Tabbert Long, “Dancing Through Cajun Country,” Star Tribune, Minneapolis
The writer beautifully conveys a sense of place through solid writing and reporting. This is a sensory delight that colorfully captures the sights (hand-painted signs), tastes (boiling crawfish) and sounds (“Thanks, baby”) in Cajun country. Readers will not just desire some jambalaya — they will need some after reading this.
Bronze: Chris Erskine, “Polar Express,” Los Angeles Times
This informative piece offers a new view of Alaska — by rail. Arresting scenes are highlighted with vivid descriptions of the Alaska Railroad experience. A series of rhetorical questions lends structure in answering the reader’s curiosity: What’s so unique about it? The reader now wants to go.
Category 5: Magazine Article on U.S./Canada Travel
Gold: Bronwen Dickey, “The Last Wild River,” The Oxford American
Travel the Chattooga River with the daughter of “Deliverance” writer James Dickey. Along the way enjoy this clear, captivating, well-researched prose. The rhythm of Appalachia — as told by one who observes instead of condescends — will carry you from start to finish.
Silver: Dana Vachon, “The Nantucket Chronicles,” Departures
Dana Vachon achieves quite a feat with this “bow of sand” experience. She brings to life the Nantucket characters readers might have only imagined, yet she does not present them as overdressed caricatures. She shares their dialogue and delicious stories. And she weaves in Nantucket history amid the sounds of church bells and the admonitions of a hurried vacationer/mother.
Bronze: Julian Rubinstein, “Rocky Mountain High/Aspen,” Travel + Leisure
When Julian Rubinstein returns to Aspen, a place he had visited since his Denver childhood, he makes you want to do so as well. Who cares if you’ve never been or you don’t ski? He makes the resort town a must-see, must-experience destination. From the James Beard finalist to the Sotheby’s real estate broker, you will want to meet his acquaintances as well.
Category 6: Newspaper Article on Foreign Travel
Gold: Bill Fink, “Magic Realism, Realized,” San Francisco Chronicle
This is an excellent journey into a tourist’s taste of real life in Colombia. With humor and sometimes parody, Bill Fink magically transforms the cocaine cartel image of Colombia into an Epcot-safe getaway. The fact that he pulls this off while weaving history and economics is a credit to his mature writing talent. It’s a golden piece that encourages the reader to give this south-of-the-border spot a new look. Suddenly Colombia doesn’t seem so foreign — and Fink has earned the gold.
Silver: Margaret Wente, “Vietnam: Cool cocktails, country huts and capitalist dreams …,” The Globe and Mail, Toronto
Margaret Wente quickly grabs the reader’s attention, pulling you into the mindset of Ho Chi Minh — both the legendary leader and this new city in Vietnam. She confirms that the “American War hasn’t been completely forgotten.” But before you get halfway into the story, you want to pack your bags and fly to the former Saigon to see the transformation. It is a piece worthy of the silver award.
Bronze: Cleo Paskal, “Searching for Ghosts of Grandpa’s Berlin,” Toronto Star
Cleo Paskal’s article is both a love story and travel piece. Looking at the Brandenburg Gate and other monuments, she easily paints a Berlin visited by historical giants from across the oceans during the past 80 years. It is a wonderful story for the young and old to get acquainted with this grand artistic city. The bronze award goes to Cleo Paskal for writing a foreign travel piece that is crisp, serious and fun.
Category 7: Magazine Article on Foreign Travel
Gold: Wells Tower, “Meltdown,” Outside
This immediately engages the reader with vivid description of place and people and then never lets up. The story girding this adventure — the pact between son and recovered father — is also compelling and never morose or overly sentimental, as it could have easily become. As the two bond post-crisis and throughout their foreign adventure, the writer suggests the rejuvenating power of travel.
Silver: Neil Shea, “The Revolution Is: Castro’s Cuba at Fifty,” The Virginia Quarterly Review
Neil Shea presents an interesting take on a well-worn topic, a visit to Cuba. Shea explores his “idea” of Cuba as a child and uses the journey as an opportunity to dispel certain myths while creating new ones. Vivid descriptions of the land and its people engage the reader throughout this well-written and well-researched article.
Bronze: Mark Schatzker, “Voyage of Discovery,” Condé Nast Traveler
The author pokes fun at the “learning vacation,” but makes a serious point (without lecturing or whining): Contemporary society has overemphasized specialization when it may be more rewarding to acquaint oneself with a range of experiences in their historic settings — golfing, gardening, cooking, painting, and so on. The author’s point is not to master any of the skills, but to disrupt a tendency toward myopia and to think more deeply about how seemingly discrete experiences may, in fact, be similar.
Category 8: Newspaper Photo Illustration of Travel Article
Gold: Alan Berner, “The Face of Modern China,” The Seattle Times
The photographer plainly evoked the dramatic irony of today’s China by juxtaposing contrasting symbols to jolt the eye and make the reader think.
Silver: Jamie Francis, “You’re Getting Warmer,” The Oregonian
Intimate, compelling, decisive moments that draw the reader into the story make this a clear winner. I feel warm and relaxed and wet just looking at the lead photo.
Bronze: Chris Welsch, “Down on the Farm,” Star Tribune, Minneapolis
This magnificent lead photo of the blurred skier subtly but effectively makes me linger on the page and the image. Bravo to the art director, too. Mood and sense of scene are so memorable.
Category 9: Magazine Photo Illustration of Travel Article
Gold: George Steinmetz, “Best of Adventure/Africa’s Eye in the Sky,” National Geographic Adventure
A photo that stops me in my tracks and makes me say “wow” and spend another 10 minutes examining every detail is a photo that deserves the highest commendation. From a paraglider, George Steinmetz gets a stunning shot of a fishing village on the coast of Mauritania. Light + moment + composition = WOW.
Silver: Christian Pondella, “Last Look/Ice Climber,” National Geographic Adventure
As a former photographing mountain climber, I can only imagine where the photographer is — and what it took to get this killer image. Looking at it makes my fingers and toes tingle — that is to say, Christian Pondella took me there.
Bronze: Sian Kennedy, “Meltdown,” Outside
An outlier in the competition, this image keeps drawing me back in for its dramatic irony and hilarious juxtaposition of father and son. How many photographs make you laugh and cry at the same time. What a storytelling winner!
Category 10: Special Package/Project
Gold: Rick Steves, “Rick Steves’ Iran: Yesterday and Today,” multimedia
This is a gold winner for two reasons — the challenging subject and the extraordinary presentation across multiple media. Rick Steves takes us on this unusual journey with a public television special, radio program, Web site with audio, video, links and reader feedback, newspaper reports, day-by-day travel blog and color booklet.
Silver: USA Today staff, “Analyzing Airlines’ Cutbacks,” USA Today print/online
With this entry, USA Today took raw data and turned it into a package with interactive graphics that featured accountability and explanatory journalism with actionable information for travelers.
Bronze: Budget Travel staff, 10th Anniversary Issue, Budget Travel print/online
The editors of Budget Travel turned over a large part of their 10th Anniversary Issue to their committed community of readers — yielding rich, relevant content across multiple media.
Category 11: Article on Marine Travel
Gold: Mim Swartz, “QE2: After 40 Years, the ‘Grand Dame of the Seas’ Completes Its Final Voyage,” The Denver Post
This well-researched feature article is brimming over with specific historical detail. It serves readers quite well and personalizes the famed ship through anecdotes and descriptions of people associated with her. It hooks readers at the beginning and takes them all the way to the well-written ending.
Silver: Linda Matchan, “Polar Attraction,” The Boston Globe
An informative and entertaining feature story, this takes readers on an expedition cruise in the Canadian High Arctic. It provides pertinent and interesting information in a readable form, from the humorous anecdotal lead and on throughout the piece.
Bronze: Gary Warner, “Rebirth of a Bygone Era,” The Orange County Register
A highly readable, well-written feature story on ocean liners provides a great deal of useful information. It has two appropriate sidebars with considerable factual material. Altogether a good service to readers.
Category 12: Article on Adventure Travel
Gold: Kira Salak, “Trekking Bhutan’s Higher Planes,” National Geographic Adventure
This story has the feel of an epic film. The writer draws together the historic, the geographic and the personal in an effective way, taking us along on a 24-day expedition into one of the most remote parts of the Himalayas.
Silver: Bella English, “Going Into the Mist,” The Boston Globe
The writing in this story about the endangered gorillas of Rwanda takes a fairly familiar topic into a gripping tale. The writer uses just the right touch, mixing the light and the serious.
Bronze: Rosemary McClure, “Offshore Eden,” Los Angeles Times
This story shows that adventure does not always lie far from home, in this case in the Channel Islands National Park only 26 miles from metropolitan Los Angeles. Vivid details make this story a breeze to read.
Category 13: Travel News/Investigative Reporting
Gold: Patrick Symmes, “The Generals in Their Labyrinth,” Outside
A stunning peek into a secluded part of the world — Patrick Symmes draws us in with tantalizing prose to lead us through the complicated world of a country kidnapped by corruption. Exquisite piece about Burma.
Silver: Alex Halperin, “Gorillas in Their Midst,” American.com
An extremely well-reported piece takes the reader to the edge of the mountain forests of a recovering Rwanda. Alex Halperin has a nice easy style of writing but the reporting on the gorillas and the burgeoning tourist trade in them makes this a worthy piece.
Bronze: Michael Luongo, “Carrying Several Passports? It’s Not Just for Spies,” New York Times
This fascinating look at dual identities and the desire to take advantage of more than one passport is a solid piece of journalism that opens a window into a growing trend and desire of travelers.
Category 14: Service-Oriented Consumer Article
Gold: Sascha Segan, “Pick a Card, But Not Any Card: How to Choose the Best Hotel Credit Cards,” Frommers.com
An excellent story with great money-saving advice, this explains the good and the bad about hotel credit cards without mincing words.
Silver: Carol Pucci, “Look Beyond U.S. for Travel Advice,” The Seattle Times
This is an interesting comparison of what countries other than the U.S. provide to travelers in terms of warnings about visiting exotic locales. Sometimes, readers learn, more accurate information is found abroad.
Bronze: Kari Bodnarchuk, “A Woman Traveling Alone? The World Can Be Your Oyster, Too,” The Boston Globe
A unique look into traveling alone abroad as a female provides plenty of good tips and personal advice from the author.
Category 15: Environmental Tourism Article
Gold: Fred Gebhart, “The Industry Takes Action,” Travel Professional
A thoroughly researched article explores how the travel industry is making efforts to reduce negative impacts on the environment. Fred Gebhart interviewed a wide variety of sources to research this story. Very clearly presented.
Silver: Mark Sundeen, “Namibia’s Magnificent Beast,” National Geographic Adventure
Engrossing narrative portrays a conservationist who has battled to save one of the few remaining habitats of the black rhino in southern Africa.
Bronze: Jason Daley, “How I Lost 5,400 Lbs While Packing for the Trip of a Lifetime,” Backpacker
Humorous treatment of a serious topic — how to travel via air to far-off places while not increasing your carbon footprint.
Category 16: Cultural Tourism Article
Gold: Tim Wu, “The Mongolia Obsession,” Slate
“The Mongolia Obsession” captures the imagination from start to finish. The lead is perfectly written to tease reader interest about a people and culture that most of the world knows little about. The writing is crisp, creative and colorful. We are taken on a ride deep into Mongolia with scenic views and historical references. The article is both a cultural tour de force and insightful glimpse into the lifestyle and perceptions of the people of the great land that is Mongolia.
Silver: Matthew Polly, “From Russia with Blood, Beauty, and Beasts,” Slate
“From Russia with Blood, Beauty, and Beasts” takes the unique approach of transporting readers to a country by way of its visa application process. As Matthew Polly correctly explains, Russia requires more information from travelers seeking to visit it than any other nation. Using humor, wit and a first-rate traveler’s eye, Polly records his arrival at St. Petersburg airport — a “surprisingly small airport for a city of more than 5 million.” Much of this well-written article captures the surprising and often poignant contrast between what travelers anticipate and the reality of Russia up close.
Bronze: Joshuah Bearman, “Stuffu Happens,” Culture + Travel
“Stuffu Happens” is a wonderfully written account of the exotic spirit and art of Japan. The lead states it perfectly: “There are two Japans in the minds of most visitors: the ultra-modern technotopia of Tokyo and the ancient, ritualistic island of peculiar traditions that tourists believe must be hidden somewhere beneath all that neon.” For anyone thinking about visiting the Land of the Rising Sun to see its wealth of art, “Stuffu” is a must and joyful read.
Category 17: Personal Comment
Gold: Peter Jon Lindberg, “Opinion: In Defense of Tourism,” Travel + Leisure
Yes, there’s been an elephant in the room all day and no one has mentioned it. Peter Jon Lindberg’s column is great common sense, something we all should have recognized: It’s OK to enjoy what may be called “touristy.” The term has come to condemn many things that are merely guilty of being popular, Lindberg says. Very entertaining and liberating.
Silver: Cathy Stapells, “A Journey of Remembrance,” Canadian Living
This is heartbreaking, the story of Cathy Stapells’ visit to Belgium to find the site where her great-uncle fought and died in WWI. She writes so eloquently and reminds us that there are many different kinds of meaning for journeys.
Bronze: Don George, “California Dreaming,” VIA
An American Studies professor once told me that I’d never truly understand my country until I saw it through foreign eyes. Don, did you take that same course? This piece makes the professor’s point grandly as the writer joins a group of Japanese tourists.
Category 18: Special-Purpose Travel
Gold: Tony Perrottet, “The Pervert’s Grand Tour,” Slate
Tony Perrottet’s quest for three locales of “tasteful historic filth” allows a great look at this offbeat subject. He takes us to the British Museum’s Secretum in London, Marquis de Sade’s castle in Provence and Doge’s Palace in Venice Along the way we meet real characters — we hear their brogue, we see their nose piercings. The rich details and lively quotes carry us from “pagan copulation” to “Casanova’s fashion sense.”
Silver: Marie Brenner, “Finding Marie,” Departures
An entertaining voyage follows the Holy Trail in India. Marie Brenner contrasts the clanging, hurried, whirring India with the calm she seeks in her own head while on assignment to write what her editor described as “Eat, Pray, Love for the hot-flash set.” Brenner answers with the knowledge of place — and humor and humility — such an assignment begs.
Bronze: Lloyd Cole, “Melbourne, MacKenzie, and Me,” Travel + Leisure Golf
This musician’s tour of golf history is enhanced with, first, a personal history of the Melbourne suburb of St. Kilda. Cole introduces us to the impact on course redesign and on golf itself when Dr. Alister MacKenzie traveled here in 1926. We then join him as he plays four courses, meeting friends and architects. Along the way he shares such well-traveled tips as where to stay overnight to avoid commuter traffic.
Category 19: Short Travel Article
Gold: Katy Muldoon, “Marionberry Shake, Extra Thick with History,” The Oregonian
Vivid description of a popular drive-in allows the reader to picture the place, as well as taste the fare ― “That sucker is need-a-spoon thick.” With descriptive but not overdone language, the writer captures nicely the fun mood of Sno Cap Drive In and the place this Oregon establishment has in the hearts of staff and customers alike.
Silver: Sara Blask, “The Man Who Cried Fowl,” Outside’s Go
Interesting treatment is given to common Cantonese fare in this piece. As the writer describes one chef’s approach to cooking goose, the reader is also treated to a lesson in the history and culture of China. The lead is compelling, and description of the goose at Hong Kong’s Yung Kee Restaurant is vivid, making it easy for the reader to imagine (and crave). The writer also provides travelers with a practical guide to selecting and evaluating goose-based dishes.
Bronze: Laura Daily, “Blast From the Past,” AAA World Online
The lead is engaging, inviting us for a look back into the Cold War era as the writer lets readers experience a tour of the Minuteman Missile National Historic Site. Interesting background is offered about what really went on in the launch control center, and practical information is provided for visiting the site in South Dakota.
Category 20: Travel Book
Gold: Brandon Wilson, “Along the Templar Trail, Seven Million Steps for Peace,” Pilgrim’s Tales Inc.
Pilgrims are early travelers with memorable stories to share, and this author from Hawaii has many tales to tell as he and a Frenchman trek a historical route from France to Jerusalem. The author is a skillful narrator of people and places far from even the most adventurous traveler. Writing is descriptive and personal and purposeful.
Silver: Kimberly Lisagor and Heather Hansen, “Disappearing Destinations,” Vintage Books
The authors have written clearly and compassionately about a compelling contemporary topic. It’s well-researched with useful contact information about 37 places in peril around the world.
Bronze: Rolf Potts, “Marco Polo Didn’t Go There,” Travelers’ Tales
This series of traveler stories is provocative and compelling. Rolf Potts’ style is personal and the narrative quality high — off-the-beaten trail certainly. It’s not for the typical tourist, but rather, for readers seeking adventurous experiences.
Category 21: Guidebook
Gold: Jason Cochran, “Pauline Frommer’s London: Spend Less/See More,” Wiley Publishing
Reading “Pauline Frommer’s London: Spend Less/See More” is like traveling through
London with a street-smart, savvy best friend. The book is exceptionally well-organized and features a wealth of insiders’ secrets for making the most of your London experience. The book also includes a valuable section on the overrated tourist attractions you can skip without missing out. Altogether, the book appears to contain nearly everything you need to know to plan a safe, entertaining and meaningful trip.
Silver: Sheryl Kayne, “Immersion Travel USA,” The Countryman Press
Sheryl Kayne’s “Immersion Travel USA” provides a refreshing approach to travel within the United States. Instead of cataloging landmarks, this book guides you to meaningful travel based on volunteering, working or learning experiences. Kayne invites you to engage authentically with unique regional cultures for a trip that is sure to enrich your life and that of the locals.
Bronze: David T. Page, “Great Destinations: Yosemite & the Southern Sierra Nevada,” The Countryman Press
David T. Page presents a thorough, entertaining guide to the region. It contains an unusually detailed section on the natural history of the area, sure to appeal to Page’s outdoor-minded readers. It’s a joy to read.
Category 22: Online Travel Journalism Site
Gold: Traveler.nationalgeographic.com, National Geographic Traveler, Jerry Sealy, Web Director
This extremely effective site takes advantage of the power of multimedia and interactivity. The interactive travel maps are a visual way to experience a new place, and the printable versions are an excellent resource on arrival. No surprise that the photography is excellent, though it would be nice to see more of it integrated into the actual stories. Interactive elements such as quizzes and photo contests make this site a wonderful travel experience.
Silver: Boston.com/travel, The Boston Globe, Christine Makris, Senior Producer; Eric Wilbur, Producer; Ron Agrella, Features Editor
This is a great local travel guide, and it has some nice national and international content as well. Themed photo galleries with large photos give the viewer a great sense of place, and interactive aspects such as the literary tour are nice tools for visitors. This site takes full advantage of its local expertise.
Bronze: BudgetTravel.com, Budget Travel, Stephen Merrill, Online General Manager
This site is all about saving money, but it doesn’t skimp on its readers. The destinations section is deep, and text stories are integrated with useful maps, large photos and interesting slide shows. “This Just In” and “Real Deals” are surely a huge draw to the site. An extremely pleasant surprise!
Category 23: Travel Broadcast — Audio
Gold: Joseph Rosendo, “Zambia, Africa, Audio Documentary,” KRLA Los Angeles/other stations/Internet
Rich detail in the writing, the interviews and the “wild” (pun intended) sound gives the listener a vivid mental picture of what one would find on such an African adventure.
Silver: Sasha Aslanian, “Retracing a Wartime Bike Ride,” Weekend America/American Public Media
Nice personal touches in narration and interviews give the listener an opportunity to connect with two different generations.
Category 24: Travel Broadcast —Video
Gold: Richard Bangs, Patricia Conroy and John Givens, “Richard Bangs’ Adventures With Purpose/Norway: Quest for the Viking Spirit,” American Public Television
Nice storytelling gives the viewer a connection, not just to a lot of beautiful scenes but to a concept. This entry is unique in that regard.
Silver: Joseph Rosendo, “Zambia River Adventure,” KLRN/300 more PBS TV stations
Well-shot and edited. Good job of letting the video and natural sound tell some of the story.
Category 25: Travel Blog
Gold: Amy Ziff, The Window Seat, Travelocity.com
The bloggers on Travelocity’s Window Seat create community by their unique voice, actionable tips and interactions through polls and Q & A’s. The blog’s design is clean and peppered with photos.
Silver: Kitty Bean Yancey, Hotel Hotsheet, USAToday.com
Nearly every post on the Hotel Hotsheet blog invites readers to join the conversation and share advice with other readers. Kitty Bean Yancey demonstrates an admirable effort to engage the audience.
Bronze: Tanner Latham and Taylor Bruce, Tales From the Road, SouthernLiving.com
What voice! With these two writers, their photos and comments from loyal readers,
it’s fun to travel the South. As idiosyncratic as the region they cover.
Faculty members of the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill School of Journalism and Mass Communication, coordinated by Monica Hill, judged the competition. There were 1,191 entries. For questions, contact: Mary Lu Abbott, SATW Foundation administrator, 713-973-9985, or firstname.lastname@example.org. The results and comments also may be viewed online at the Foundation Web site, www.satwfoundation.org.