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.

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.

Underwritten by

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Cavalry Travel Insurance

Cavalry takes the worry of out travel by providing 24/7 access to medical and security professionals combined with the best medical evacuation and security extraction services. Cavalry gets you home safely when you need it most. Learn more at Cavalrytravelinsurance.com.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Seven Corners

Seven Corners has helped customers all over the world with travel difficulties, big and small. As one of the few remaining privately owned travel insurance companies, Seven Corners provides insurance plans and 24/7 travel assistance services to more than a million people each year. Because we’re privately held, we can focus on the customer without the constraints that larger companies have. Visit Seven Corners to learn more.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Sodexo North America

Sodexo North America Sodexo North America is part of a global, Fortune 500 company with a presence in 80 countries. Sodexo is a leading provider of integrated food, facilities management and other services that enhance organizational performance, contribute to local communities and improve quality of life for millions of customers in corporate, education, healthcare, senior living, sports and leisure, government and other environments daily. Learn more at Sodexoinsights.com.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Travelex Insurance Services

Travelex Insurance Services is a leading travel insurance provider in the United States with over 55 years combined industry expertise of helping people dream, explore and travel with confidence. We offer comprehensive travel insurance plans with optional upgrades allowing travelers to customize the plans to fit their needs. Compare plans, get a quote and buy online at Travelexinsurance.com.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by AirHelp

AirHelp is the world’s leading flight delays compensation company, helping passengers apply for compensation following a delayed or canceled flight or when boarding has been denied. It is AirHelp’s mission to fight for passenger rights by holding airlines accountable for flights disruptions that are out of passengers’ control. AirHelp has already helped 5 million people, taking the stress out of applying for compensation and making it as hassle-free as possible for travelers around the world.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Allianz Travel Insurance

The Allianz Travel Insurance company has built its reputation on partnering with agents all around the world to provide comprehensive travel insurance for their clients. Contact Allianz Travel Insurance for a comprehensive list of coverage.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Chubb

Chubb is the world’s largest publicly traded property and casualty insurance company, and recognized as the premier provider of insurance for successful individuals and families in the U.S. and selected international markets, offering coverage for high-value automobile, homeowners, recreational marine/aviation, valuables and umbrella liability coverage. As an underwriting company, Chubb assesses, assumes and manages risk with insight and discipline, and combines the precision of craftsmanship with decades of experience to conceive, craft and deliver the best insurance coverage and services to individuals, families and business of all size.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Fareportal

Fareportal’s portfolio of brands, which include  CheapOair and  OneTravel, are dedicated to helping customers enjoy their trip. Whether you want to call, click, or use one of our travel apps, one thing is clear: We make it easy to take it easy.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Insuremyrentalcar.com

An independent provider of low cost CDW/LDW insurance for use with rental cars. Up to $100,000 cover with no deductible. Policies available on a per day, per trip or per year basis. Also works with overseas rentals. Try  Insuremyrentalcar.comnow.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Mediacom Communications

The nation’s fifth-largest cable operator, serving the smaller cities and towns in the Midwest and Southern regions of the United States. We are a high-performance broadband, entertainment, and communications company that brings the power of modern technology and quality customer experience to life inside the connected home by combining ultra-fast gigabit speeds with personalized local and over-the-top entertainment choices that fit your lifestyle. Details at  Mediacomcable.com.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Arch RoamRight

Arch RoamRight is one of the fastest growing, most-highly rated travel insurance companies in the United States. Travel advisors love working with us, and travelers feel protected with our trip cancellation and travel medical insurance coverage. We also make it easy to file a claim online with our fast, paperless claims website. Learn more about RoamRight travel insurance.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Virtuoso

The leading global network for luxury and experiential travel. This invitation-only organization comprises over 1,000 travel agency locations with 17,500 advisors in over 45 countries, and holds preferred relationships with 1,700 of the world’s finest travel companies. Virtuoso advisors collaborate with their clients to create personalized itineraries featuring exclusive perks, while also providing advice, access, advocacy, and accountability. For more information, visit  Virtuoso.com.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by VisitorsCoverage

As a company that is constantly striving to simplify travel insurance, VisitorsCoverage, is on a mission to help travelers make the better decisions about purchasing travel insurance, quickly. VisitorsCoverage has helped millions of travelers globally to buy the suitable travel insurance and explore the world with confidence. Get insurance for your next trip at  VisitorsCoverage. Lowest Price Guaranteed.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by MedjetAssist

Medjet is the premier global air-medical transport, travel security and crisis response membership program for travelers. With a MedjetAssist membership, if you become hospitalized more than 150 miles from home, we will get you from that unfamiliar hospital all the way home to the hospital you trust. All you ever pay is your membership fee. MedjetHorizon members add 24/7 personal security and crisis response benefits. Elliott.org readers enjoy discounted rates. Travel safer with  MedjetAssist.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Southwest Airlines

The mission of Southwest Airlines is dedication to the highest quality of Customer Service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and Company Spirit. We are committed to provide our Employees a stable work environment with equal opportunity for learning and personal growth.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by TravelInsurance.com

TravelInsurance.com makes it fast and easy to compare and buy travel insurance online from top rated providers. Our unbiased comparison engine allows travelers to read reviews, compare pricing and benefits and buy the right policy with a price guarantee, every time. Compare and buy travel insurance now at  TravelInsurance.com.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Squaremouth

Squaremouth helps travelers easily and instantly compare travel insurance policies from all major providers. Only companies that meet the strict requirements of Squaremouth’s Zero Complaint Guarantee are available on the website. Compare policies on  Squaremouth.com to save over 70 percent on your next purchase.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Travel Leaders Group

Travel Leaders Group is transforming travel through its progressive approach toward each unique travel experience. Travel Leaders Group assists millions of travelers through its leisure, business and network travel operations under a variety of diversified divisions and brands including All Aboard Travel, Andrew Harper Travel, Colletts Travel, Corporate Travel Services, CruCon Cruise Outlet, Cruise Specialists, Nexion, Protravel International, SinglesCruise.com, Travel Leaders Corporate, Travel Leaders Network and Tzell Travel Group, and its merger with ALTOUR. With more than 7,000 agency locations and 52,000 travel advisors, Travel Leaders Group ranks as one of the industry’s largest retail travel agency companies.

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.

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