National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association

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Logo for the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association.

The National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association (NLGJA) is an American professional association dedicated to unbiased coverage of gay/lesbian issues in the media. It is based in Washington, D.C., and the membership consists primarily of journalists and students in print, broadcast, and online media.

According to the NLGJA's website, "The National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association (NLGJA) is an organization of journalists, media professionals, educators and students who work within the news industry to foster fair and accurate coverage of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues. NLGJA opposes all forms of workplace bias and provides professional development to its members."[1]


The association was founded by Roy Aarons in 1990, along with other journalists, Elaine Herscher, Shannon Hickey, David Tuller, Victor Zonana, and Kathleen Buckley, who made up its first board.[2][3]

Jen Christensen took over as NLGJA national president following the death of Michael Triplett, who died Jan. 18, 2013,[4] less than six month after his election. The rest of the Executive Committee are Sarah Blazucki, Vice President for Print and Digital; Trey Graham, Treasurer; and Ken Miguel, Secretary.[5]

Past national Presidents of NLGJA are Roy Aarons (founder), Karen-Louise Boothe, Robert Dodge, Steven Petrow, Eric Hegedus, David Steinberg[6] and Michael Triplett.

In 2006, CNN donated US$100,000 to the NLGJA.[7]

Each year, NLGJA hosts the Headlines & Headliners Benefit in New York City as a fundraiser to support its programs throughout the year. The 2012 event was hosted by Jane Velez-Mitchell of HLN and Don Lemon of CNN.

The association has inspired the founding of the French association of LGBT journalists in 2013.[8]


From its inception in 1990, NLJGA hosts an annual convention inviting their members to participate in top-level training sessions, thought-provoking discussions, and social & professional networking events.[9] Beginning in 2003, a one-day LGBT Media Summit was added to the event to educate and network journalists working within LGBT media. Both events continued into 2011, with that year's National Convention & LGBT Media summit taking place in Philadelphia.[10]

The 2012 convention was the first time NLGJA participated in the joint UNITY Journalists convention, held in Las Vegas with the Asian American Journalists Association, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists and the Native American Journalists Association.

2010 marked the 20th anniversary for NLGJA. It hosted its annual convention in San Francisco.[11] In 2009 [6], NLGJA held its first international convention in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

The organization's 2008 convention, "NLGJA Goes to Washington," took place in Washington, D.C.. The 2007 convention was held in San Diego, California the first week of September and was titled "Breaking Stories, Breaking Waves." One of the keynote speakers was transsexual Los Angeles Times sportswriter Christine Daniels.[12]

The 2006 convention, held in Miami Beach, Florida, attracted about 650 journalists.[13] During that event, CNN Headline News anchor Thomas Roberts discussed being openly gay during a panel while on air.

Previous conventions have been held in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia, Las Vegas and San Francisco.[14]


The group published a quarterly newsmagazine called Outlook until the mid-2000s.[15] The magazine focused on LGBT stories in the workplace and workplace issues such as domestic partner benefits, and updates readers on NLGJA's activities at the local and national levels. The magazine had a current circulation of over 3,500. As it is written by news professionals it has a high level of professional writing and is recognized as a source for commentary on LGBT workplace issues.[16]

LGBT Journalist Hall of Fame[edit]

Starting in 2005, the NLGJA has inducted noteworthy gay and lesbian journalists into a Hall of Fame (HOF) so that their legacy may be remembered for generations to come.[17] Inductions occur during the NLGJA annual conference each year along with the annual Excellence in Journalism awards.[18]

Inductees by year:



  • Donna Cartwright: Believed to be the first Times staffer to publicly disclose her status as a transgender person when interviewed in 1998 by Barbara Walters on ABC Television to discuss her decision to resolve her gender conflict and to transition as a woman.
  • Lisa Keen: Served as the top editor of one of the nation's most respected gay publications, The Washington Blade, for 18 years. She was one of the first two reporters for a gay newspaper to be credentialed to cover the White House and Congress, she’s covered U.S. Supreme Court cases since 1985 and she’s one of the only reporters to carefully analyze gay voting trends in presidential elections.
  • Tracy Baim: Publisher and co-founder of the Windy City Times, Baim began her career at Gay Life newspaper in 1984, a month after graduating from Drake University.



  • Jill Johnston: writer for the Village Voice and New York Times Book Review. She is best known for her book Lesbian Nation: The Feminist Solution.
  • Randy Wicker: the first openly gay person on East Coast television, and considered the first out PR professional.




  • Garrett Glaser: the first television journalist to come out of the closet to the radio and television news industry
  • Ronald Gold: A sharp writer with an uncompromising style, Gold built a career writing for a number of publications, including Variety
  • Deb Price: Began her column for The Detroit News inviting readers to help her come up with a less awkward way of introducing her boss to her partner


  • Richard Goldstein: Founder of the Village Voice's annual Queer issue and author of several novels and essays on issues within the gay rights movement
  • Gail Shister: First mainstream reporter to be vocally "out" and an active member of the NLGJA




Excellence in Journalism Awards[edit]

Continuing a tradition started in 1993, the NLGJA Excellence in Journalism Awards are given each year to recognize journalists who have made a difference in their field. Each year the organization chooses recipients for awards in twelve categories spanning fields like local television, radio, HIV/AIDS coverage, photojournalism, and feature writing.[17] The awards are given out at the NLGJA convention each year.[19]

The Excellence in Journalism Awards were not held in 2009 but resumed in 2010.

Journalist of the Year Award recipients[edit]

Sarah Pettit Memorial Award for Excellence in LGBT Media[edit]

Contributions to journalism[edit]

Stylebook Supplement[edit]

The NLGJA's most noteworthy tangible contribution to the journalism industry is the NLGJA Stylebook Supplement on LGBT Terminology, which fellow journalists can use for reference when writing about topics relating to the LGBT community. According to the organization's website it is part of the NLGJA's push to encourage "the association's mission of inclusive coverage of LGBT people"[22]

The Stylebook Supplement can be found on the NLGJA website in both English and, as of 2005, Spanish.

Press service[edit]

In connection with Witech-Combs Communications, the NLGJA launched OutNewsWire in 2008 to simplify the distribution of news articles relating to the LGBT community. The wire has more than 400 journalists receiving updates currently, which are available online. The service comes at a discounted price to "nonprofits hoping to use the service to reach the gay media".[23]

Newsroom Outreach Project[edit]

As early as 1996, the NLGJA, along with Hollywood Supports, developed “sexual orientation in the workplace” seminars that were conducted in Knight-Ridder newspapers across on the nation. The seminars were designed to place emphasis on acceptance in the workplace, through discussions of stereotypes and business and legal issues involved with homosexuality. The stated goal of these seminars was to provide an LGBT-friendly office environment for homosexual journalists, but the discussions also pushed for domestic partnership benefits at newspapers across the nation, one of the main focuses of the gay rights movement nationwide.[24] The seminars are offered free of charge to news organizations.[25]

During the seminars, facilitators introduce employees to the “model of parity” NLGJA developed in order to encourage equality and inclusiveness within the workplace. There are fourteen steps in this model, highlighting both workplace climate and fair compensation. Included in these steps are things like avoiding double standards, promoting balanced coverage, providing the same insurance coverage for all employees, and offering family and medical leave.[25]

These seminars have evolved into what NLGJA now calls its “Newsroom Outreach Project.” These meetings with journalists, according to the organization’s website, work to “further NLGJA’s mission through meetings with broadcast, print and online newsroom leaders across the country.” The subject matter of the meetings is very similar to that of their earlier seminars—mostly covering things like correct terminology and treatment in the workplace. The first official meeting took place in January 2004 and they have been going strong in cities across the nation since then.[26]

Rapid Response Task Force[edit]

In order to more directly combat biased journalism, the NLGJA formed the Rapid Response Task Force. This team of journalists addresses any news piece that readers report as being offensive or inaccurate and informs writers and readers of the correct terminology, which furthers their mission of equality and helps to “spread awareness about issues facing the LGBT community”.[27] In order to report a biased or offensive story, readers simply email the link or a description of the article to the NLGJA and the problem is evaluated.

Student outreach[edit]

In an attempt at connecting with and encouraging future LGBT journalists, the NLGJA formed their NLGJA Student Central website. The site features content aimed at supporting young journalists in their early years with scholarship information, online networking opportunities, articles about LGBT issues in journalism, student project opportunities, NLGJA membership information, and an abundance of links to online resources.

The NLGJA offers several scholarships each year to students "committed to NLGJA's mission of fair and accurate coverage of the LGBT community."[28] These scholarships include the Leroy F. Aarons scholarship and the Kay Longcope scholarship,[29] each of which provides tuition money to one LGBT student a year.

There is also an internship opportunity offered to one student each year. The Leroy F. Aarons Newsroom Internship pays the student to work for ten weeks in an actual newsroom.[30]


As of 2008, the NLGJA reported that they were facing hard economic times along with the rest of the journalism industry. The organization has seen decreased funding from both news companies that have supported them and convention revenue. Between 2008 and 2009, the organization lost about 200 members: not surprising given the number of people laid off in the media industry that year. Since then, membership has remained fairly consistent.


  1. ^ about | NLGJA
  2. ^ Christopher Lisotta (December 20, 2008). "Whither NLGJA?". The Advocate. 
  3. ^ "NLGJA Founded". NLGJA. 
  4. ^ Michael Triplett, NLGJA President, Dies Richard Prince's Journal-isms
  5. ^ About NLGJA | Executive Board
  6. ^ [1]
  7. ^ James Welsh, 'CNN donates $100,000 to NLGJA', Digital Spy, January 13, 2006 [2]
  8. ^ AJL (16 May 2013). "Pour une association des journalistes LGBT". Libération. Retrieved 31 May 2017. 
  9. ^ [3]
  10. ^ [4]
  11. ^ NLGJA | Convention
  12. ^ "Transsexual sports columnist comes out: Mike Penner tells of his journey to Christine Daniels,"
  13. ^ 650 Journalists & Media Professionals Convene for NLGJA's Miami Beach Convention
  14. ^ [5]
  15. ^ "2008 ASAE Gold Circle Awards announced," ASAE & The Center for Association Leadership
  16. ^ NLGJA. National Lesbian and Gay Journalist's Association. 2008.
  17. ^ a b NLGJA| Awards
  18. ^ NLGJA Hall of Fame
  19. ^ NLGJA| Awards | Excellence in Journalism Awards
  20. ^ a b 2012 NLGJA Excellence in Journalism Awards Announced
  21. ^ a b "2008 Excellence in Journalism Award Winners". National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association. Retrieved 25 November 2012. 
  22. ^ NLGJA| Stylebook Supplement
  23. ^ LGBT Group Unveils New Press Service PRWeek
  24. ^ Fitzgerald, Mark. "Workplace 'out'-reach." Editor & Publisher 129(1996): 12
  25. ^ a b Hernandez, Deborah Gersh. "Do ask--Do tell." Editor & Publisher 129(1996): 13
  26. ^ NLGJA| Newsroom Outreach Project
  27. ^ NLGJA| Rapid Response Task Force
  28. ^ NLGJA| Scholarship Fund
  29. ^ NLGJA Announces Kay Longcope Scholarship Award Archived February 21, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
  30. ^ NLGJA's Leroy F. Aarons Newsroom Internship

External links[edit]