SWISS Media Award goes to Bernd Steimann

26 October 2007

Bernd Steimann is this year’s winner of the SWISS Media Award for his article “Wilde, unermessliche Weite” (“Wild, vast expanses”) describing a trip to Lake Baikal in Siberia. The award was presented in Montreux today in the course of the present Travel Trade Workshop.

The 2007 SWISS Media Award has been bestowed on Bernd Steimann for “Wilde, unermessliche Weite”, his account of a trip to Lake Baikal in Siberia. The article, which was published by the Zürcher Landzeitung newspaper group (Zürcher Oberländer, Anzeiger von Uster and Zürichsee-Zeitungen) in June 2007, offers an intriguing description of a trip to Lake Baikal, “Siberia’s own sea”. In his engaging and personal account, Steimann presents a destination in an area that is still largely unknown to most of his readers. Further key criteria in the choice of Bernd Steimann for this year’s SWISS Media Award were the journalistic quality of the piece and the author’s excellent writing style.

Bernd Steimann, who is 30 years old, has written travel reports for various publications including the Neue Zürcher Zeitung and the Zürichsee-Zeitung. He is primarily engaged in completing a doctorate at the Faculty of Geography at Zurich University. And he is currently on a field trip in the mountainous terrain of Southwest Kyrgyzstan. The judging panel considered 25 entries from German and French-speaking Switzerland for this year’s SWISS Media Award.

The prize – two SWISS Business Class tickets valid worldwide plus CHF 2 000 in travel funds – was awarded by SWISS CEO Christoph Franz and Lauriane Gilliéron, the former Miss Switzerland and ambassador for SWISS. “Our SWISS Media Award is our way of showing our acknowledgement and our appreciation of the high-quality work of the Swiss journalistic community,” Franz commented.

The award has its origins back in 2001, and was last presented in 2005 under the auspices of the Swiss Travel Writers’ Association. This year’s SWISS Media Award was extended for the first time to include aviation journalists’ work. The judging panel consisted of Jürg Dinner (chair, SWISS), Daniela Bär (Switzerland Tourism), Andrea Hemmi (Kuoni), Mona Vetsch (Swiss TV and Radio DRS), Alfred W. Hugentobler (President of the Swiss Aviation Journalists’ Association) and writer and journalist Urs von Schroeder.

The award was also presented for the first time in the course of the Travel Trade Workshop, Switzerland’s most important tourist trade show, which is held in Montreux each year. This new tradition should continue in 2008, when separate awards will be bestowed for travel writing and for aviation-related articles.