Metro won the National Tabloid Newsprint Section award at the 2021 Travel Media Awards. We spoke to Metro’s escape editor, Laura Millar, about covering travel for the newspaper, inspiring readers and how to plan in a time of constant change.
What does it mean to you to win the Travel Media Award?
It means so much, particularly against the backdrop of the pandemic and given the challenges discussed above. Hopefully it means Metro is doing something right — bringing the right balance of inspiration, information, advice and entertainment to readers and running stories of particular interest to them.
What have been your biggest challenges of the past year?
Like those of the entire travel industry, they include trying to keep people positive about travel in a period when you couldn’t actually go anywhere. In terms of the paper, the drop in advertising has meant a drop in the size of our travel section, but with the pages we did have, we tried to inspire and inform our readers as much as possible. We aimed to help with consumer challenges, such as how to get refunds, the best insurance to get when you could travel and how to unravel the minefields that were travel corridors and the traffic light system — two of my biggest challenges in terms of trying to plan issues, as they’d inevitably change just as I hoped to run a piece on that particular country. Trying to forward plan became an impossibility, so it was essentially a case of deciding what to put in the issue from week to week.
What makes a really good travel story?
One that makes you want to book a flight to that destination immediately. Also, one that makes you think, or laugh, or feel — whatever emotion it might be. The worst thing is when you read the first sentence, fail to be hooked and skip to the next page.
What destinations are on your travel list for 2022?
I’d love to go back to Australia; they’ve had such a tough time, and their tourism really needs a boost. Albania is another place I’d like to check out, and I’d also like to do more trips by rail.
Do you think travel writing will change over the next few years?
People might get concerned about global warming and carbon emissions to the point where it becomes the norm to commission a story from someone based in that particular country, rather than sending someone from the UK. But ultimately, hopefully stories will still need to be told and people will still want to read them.
If you want to enter your publication for the National Tabloid Newsprint Section award for 2022, or enter any of the 20 categories, it’s free and easy to do so here.