2024 April Featured Journalist of the Month: Liz Beatty

Liz Beatty is an award-winning feature writer, broadcaster and podcaster. She’s won NATJA honours for work in all these media.  Liz also won the 2020 Gold Lowell Thomas Award for Radio Broadcasting. And North Americana took both 2020 Gold and Silver Lowell Thomas Awards for Best Podcast.

Liz had been a regular contributor to National Geographic Travel magazine, books, and blogs for years. She writes for The GuardianT+LAARPThe WalrusToronto Life and others. She’s an alumna of the revered Transom Radio Documentary Workshop.

Before North Americana, Liz launched Native Traveler in 2017 as host and executive producer on SiriusXM Canada Talks. For two years running, Native Traveler won top honours in radio broadcasting/podcasting from both the Society of American Travel Writers and the North American Travel Journalists Association.

In each show, Liz is joined by award-winning American journalists and experts, both as co-hosts and feature contributors — from Nat Geo editors to Broadway performers.

Liz also recently became the executive producer and host of the new Canadian Geographic Travel podcast, Here & there. Here is the recent episode of Here & There, a Canadian Geographic Travel Podcast.

1. What got you into travel writing?
My career in travel began when I was an exchange student in Australia in high school. Later, I pursued a career in Journalism and the two passions just came together.

2. What’s the most challenging part of being a travel journalist for you?
To me it’s finding the stories that go a little deeper, that are about the big ideas that help travelers understand better a place and the people who live there. I think encouraging this type of understanding among travelers makes us more respectful. So I guess the big challenge is celebrating travel while fostering an appreciation for cultural, economic, and environmental sustainability. I think that’s one of the biggest issues in our industry today.

3. What is one thing [equipment or personal item] you can’t go without on the road?
Old school. I bring a small pocket notebook to jot down cool moments and details that bring scenes in a story to life. And of course a great field mic.

4. What’s your most unusual and/or memorable travel experience?
I’ve done a lot of adventurous things, navigating glacial rivers, riding into the remote backcountry of the Andes. But I think tackling a via ferrata with CMH Heli Hiking was an experience way beyond my comfort zone. I’m afraid of heights and there I was at 8000 feet near Banff on a sheet rock face.

5. How did you learn about NATJA and why did you join?
I learned about NATJA from colleagues many years ago and it’s still a wonderful source of connection with peers and talented journalists to work with.

6. What is the best piece of advice you could give to a rookie travel journalist?
Understand that travel is not frivolous, it’s important — it makes us more worthy global citizens. And if done right, it uplifts the places and communities we visit. So be a voice for travel for good. Everyone’s good. 🙂

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