Each year for the past 25 years, the Society of American Travel Writers has sponsored a travel journalism contest that has become the premier competition in this field.

THE SOCIETY of American Travel Writers Foundation awarded Matador the Silver for Travel Journalism Sites in the 2010 Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Competition.

The Foundation notes that these awards are like the “Putlitzer Prizes for travel journalism.” They are:

  • open to all North American journalists, not just SATW members, and
  • judged independently by the faculty at top U.S. schools of journalism

I was stoked to read the judges’ comments, particularly the mention of MatadorU:

Matador is more than just a high-quality online travel site. It is a great community of travel enthusiasts who mix expert advice and local knowledge through blogs, forums and destination pages. The network goes beyond creating a place to aggregate eyeballs and cheap user-generated content for advertisers. Its unique Matador U is aimed at helping get better — and not just more — travel content on the Web. The training and advice in MatadorU is a model that other fields of journalism should examine.

Although individual Matadorians have won Lowell Thomas Awards in the past, this was the first time that Matador itself was recognized.