Why you’re the journalist of the year

The American Society of Travel Agents yesterday named me its journalist of the year. I still can’t believe it. It feels like it’s happening to someone else.

Actually, it is.

I share this honor with you, my readers, supporters, and advocates both past and present. We’ve come together to help consumers. This is our award.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Travelers United. If you’ve been mistreated by the airlines, Travelers United is your voice in Washington. Join the #1 travel advocacy organization working with Congress to improve and protect travelers. Plus, get $400 of annual benefits you can use for travel for only $29/year. Add your voice to ours. Make travel better.  Join today.

What do I mean? Well, just scroll back to some of today’s stories.

Andrew Der, our resident good-news columnist, penned the 10 a.m. post. It was produced by Jennifer Finger, one of our directors. An entire editing team headed by Andy Smith helped fine-tune Andrew’s draft.

And where would I be without my editors for the 9 a.m. story on tour operator profits? Not nearly as articulate as I was then (and hopefully am now).

I also have Michelle Bell to thank for managing the editorial process, an incredible research team headed by Bill Chilton, Dwayne Coward triaging the incoming cases, Barry Graham and K.J. Hastings in the forums, Josh Floyd and Will Leeper moderating the blog comments, Teri Bergin producing the daily newsletter, and many, many more people — too many to thank individually.

I’ve always said that this is a real team effort. It’s not about one individual here. And if it is, that individual is you, the consumer, not the guy with his name on the page.

We don’t work for fame and fortune. We do this for you.

My award policy is pretty straightforward:

I don’t submit my work for awards or fellowships. Helping consumers is enough reward for me.

Parenthetically, when’s the last time a consumer advocate won any kind of award? This isn’t the kind of journalism that wins anything — except the scorn of advertisers. I’m fine with that.

I’m eating my words today.

My friends at ASTA said some very nice things about me — about us. Here’s the full press release:

ASTA Names Christopher Elliott Journalist of the Year
Author and Nationally Syndicated Consumer Advocate Receives Coveted Award for Travel Advocacy

The American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) has named Christopher Elliott its journalist of the year in recognition of his advocacy work on behalf of travelers and the travel agency community.

Elliott is an author, consumer advocate and nationally syndicated columnist whose work appears in Money magazine, The Washington Post and USA Today.

“Christopher Elliott has always put consumers first with his steadfast advocacy, and regularly champions the valuable role travel agents play in today’s travel marketplace,” said ASTA President and CEO Zane Kerby. “ASTA’s emphasis on consumer awareness and support for travel agency clients made this year’s Journalist of the Year an easy decision.”

It’s the first time in the Journalist of the Year award has gone to a consumer advocate. Kerby says the honor is long overdue, noting that as travel agents sharpen their focus on clients, ASTA must recognize those who advocate for travelers alongside them.

“Elliott has a distinguished record of protecting consumers,” he adds. “At the same time, he never misses an opportunity to promote the value of working with a qualified travel agent. For Chris, agents are fellow consumer advocates, and that comes through in his stories.”

Elliott is the reader advocate for Money magazine, where he writes a weekly column called “Problem Solved.” He also pens a weekly column called “The Navigator” for The Washington Post’s Sunday Travel section and writes the “On Travel” column for USA Today. In addition, Elliott’s “Travel Troubleshooter” is nationally syndicated through King Features Syndicate.

Elliott is also the co-founder of Travelers United, a Washington nonprofit group that advocates for travelers. He publishes a daily blog at Elliott.org that helps thousands of travelers with often intractable travel problems.

ASTA’s Journalist of the Year award is chosen by the ASTA staff in consultation with its 26-member Chapter Presidents Council.

ABOUT ASTA
ASTA (American Society of Travel Agents) members represent 80 percent of all travel sold in the United States through the travel agency distribution channel. Together with hundreds of internationally based members, it is the leading global advocate for travel agents, the travel industry and the traveling public. ASTA’s history of travel industry advocacy traces back to its founding in 1931 when it launched with the mission to facilitate the business of selling travel through effective representation, shared knowledge and the enhancement of professionalism. For more information, visit ASTA.org.

I’m grateful to all my fellow advocates for this unexpected honor. Many thanks to my friends in the travel agency community for recognizing the advocacy that we do here every day.

23 thoughts on “Why you’re the journalist of the year

  1. Congratulations, Chris! You deserve this very much. Your columns have changed the way I travel and have made me by far a more savvy traveler.

  2. Congratulations Chris and thank you for your tireless efforts to educate and advocate for consumers and to bring attention to so many common pitfalls and consumer issues each and every day!

  3. Congratulations, Chris. This is well deserved and as always you are so humble. Thank you for your work on behalf of customers and for all the advocates you named. You guys are great and tirelessly work to improve people’s lives.

  4. Mazel Tov, Chris! It could not have gone to a more deserving person, and, typical of you, you accepted graciously while also spreading the love. Enjoy!

  5. Congratulations! For better or worse, I look forward to reading your website every day. We don’t always agree, but I do think you do excellent work. BTW, you’re more famous than you give credit for. I see your columns all over the place!

  6. You deserve it Chris! Having to read all those complaints from people trying to get a refund on a non-refundable ticket is reason enough, but you go way beyond that !

  7. Wow, Chris!! Congratulations on this well deserved award.

    Also thank you for all of the interesting postings that you and your team have provided over the past few years that have entertained, amused and informed me. Hopefully you will continue to do this for many years to come.

  8. YOU DA MAN! I go to your daily email religiously. It has given me much info and help. Please continue the outstanding work. I forward ‘clips’ to my friends and family often.

  9. Many congratulations. Please maintain the journalistic excellence of your organization by continuing to report facts without regard to which side the argument falls.

  10. I also want to add my Congratulations!! To you Chris. Well deserved. You are providing an invaluable service to so many people. Keep it going.

  11. Congratulations! You’ve created a platform for much more than simply “consumer advocacy”. By reading your colum(s), we have learned an incredible of information about travel. We are all better Traveler’s because of the work that you tirelessly do on our behalf.

    Thanks very much.

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