Lonely Planet Founders and Writers Honored

OAKLAND, CA (September 19, 2005) – Lonely Planet received three awards in three separate categories at the 21st Annual Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Competition.

American University’s School of Communication (SOC) and the Society of American Travel Writers Foundation honored Tony and Maureen Wheeler, founders of the Lonely Planet travel guidebooks, with the first Eric A. Friedheim Travel Journalism Lifetime Achievement Award at the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW) annual conference in Las Vegas.

This award is named for American University alumnus Eric A. Friedheim, a journalist and author who was best known as editor-in-chief and chairman of Travel Agent magazine. Friedheim was a White House correspondent, book author, and travel columnist for the Los Angeles Times for years. He was also a philanthropist, who created the Eric Friedheim Library at the National Press Club; the Journalism Lab at SOC, as well as American University’s main quadrangle are named in his honor.

The Travel Journalism Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes two icons of travel journalism. It honors the integrity and high ethical standards of the Wheelers’ body of work, which has inspired their colleagues and earned the trust of the public.

“Tony and I are thrilled to receive such a prestigious award from such prestigious organizations,” acknowledged Maureen Wheeler who was present to accept the award.

Lonely Planet’s Travel Writing, by Don George with Charlotte Hindle, was awarded the Silver Award in the Guidebook category. Judges’ comments include: “Get ready for the road and bring along a copy of “Travel Writing.” Readers will learn that even though it’s difficult to make a living as a travel writer, they can get published. The author fills the book with interviews with the best travel writers and sage advice about crafting a story. Chapters on Getting Published and Finding and Focusing Your Story are particularly useful.”

Frank Zeller was awarded the Gold Award in the Internet Travel Article category for his “Tsunami Report” which appeared on LonelyPlanet.com. The judges noted: “A well documented story that puts a human face on the tsunami aftermath and the workers and volunteers whose job is not done. This trip through Indonesia is compelling and sobering.”

The contest is sponsored by the Society of American Travel Writers Foundation and judged by the faculty at the University of Missouri School of Journalism. The awards, recognized as the most prestigious honors in travel journalism, were announced at the 50th annual convention of SATW, the professional organization of travel journalists and communicators. They are named for the late Lowell Thomas, acclaimed broadcast journalist, prolific author and world explorer who achieved numerous “firsts” during five decades in travel journalism.

The competition is open to all North American Journalists.