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Nlgja Scholarship Essay

The National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association (NLGJA – The Association of LGBTQ Journalists) is an American professional association dedicated to unbiased coverage of LGBTQ issues in the media. It is based in Washington, D.C., and the membership consists primarily of journalists, students, educators, and communications professionals.

According to the NLGJA's website, "NLGJA is an organization of journalists, media professionals, educators and students working from within the news industry to foster fair and accurate coverage of LGBTQ issues. NLGJA opposes all forms of workplace bias and provides professional development to its members."[1] The association offers professional development opportunities for its members, in addition to resources newsrooms including a Rapid Response Task Force[2], Stylebook Supplement on LGBTQ Terminology[3], and informational tip-sheets[4].


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.[5][6]

Jen Christensen took over as NLGJA national president following the death of Michael Triplett, who died Jan. 18, 2013,[7] less than six month after his election.

Past national Presidents of NLGJA include Roy Aarons (founder), Karen-Louise Boothe, Robert Dodge, Steven Petrow, Eric Hegedus, David Steinberg[8] and Michael Triplett.

NLGJA hosts three annual benefit events to support its programs throughout the year: the Headlines & Headliners Benefit in New York City, Dateline:DC in Washington, DC, and L.A. Exclusive in Los Angeles. The events have drawn guests including Don Lemon, Hoda Kotb, Meredith Vieira, Rue McClanahan, and Barry Manilow.

The association has inspired the founding of the French association of LGBTQ journalists in 2013.[9]

NLGJA works with the Centers for Disease Control as part of the Partnering and Communicating Together to Act Against AIDS (PACT) program. As part of the partnership, NLGJA offers workshops and resources to educate journalists about the HIV & AIDS epidemic[10].


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.[11] From 2003 to 2016, a one-day LGBT Media Summit was added to the event to educate and network journalists working within LGBT media.

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.[12] In 2009 [4], NLGJA held its first international convention in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

Previous conventions have been held in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia, Las Vegas and San Francisco, among other cities.[13]


The group published a quarterly newsmagazine called Outlook until the mid-2000s.[14] The magazine focused on LGBTQ stories in the workplace and workplace issues such as domestic partnerbenefits, and updates readers on NLGJA's activities at the local and national levels. The magazine had a circulation of over 3,500. As it was written by news professionals, it had a high level of professional writing and was recognized as a source for commentary on LGBTQ workplace issues.[15]

LGBTQ Journalist Hall of Fame[edit]

Starting in 2005, the NLGJA has inducted noteworthy LGBTQ journalists into a Hall of Fame (HOF) so that their legacy may be remembered for generations to come.[16] Inductions occur during the NLGJA National Convention each year along with the annual Excellence in Journalism awards.[17]

Inductees by year:


  • Jinx Beers: Founding publisher and first managing editor of America’s longest running lesbian newspaper, The Lesbian News, launched in 1975. She is a pioneering journalist as well as a lifelong feminist and advocate for human rights.
  • Dan Savage: Award-winning journalist and author, TV personality, and activist best known for his political and social commentary, as well as his honest approach to sex, love and relationships. His sex advice column, “Savage Love,” introduced over 25 years ago, is now syndicated throughout the U.S., Canada, Europe and Asia.


  • Ina Fried: American journalist for Re/code. Prior to that, she was senior editor for All Things Digital and a senior staff writer for CNET Network's She is a frequent commenter on technology news on National Public Radio, local television news and for other print and broadcast outlets.
  • LZ Granderson: American journalist, a contributor at ABC News and a columnist for ESPN. A senior writer and columnist for ESPN The Magazine and's Page 2, he has contributed to the channel's SportsCenter, Outside the Lines, Around the Horn, Sportsnation, and ESPN First Take and commentates for ESPN's coverage of the U.S. Open tennis tournament.


  • Armistead Maupin: Treasured author of nine best-selling novels, including six Tales of the City which were originally collected from the daily serials he wrote in the San Francisco Chronicle beginning in 1976.
  • Charles Kaiser: Began writing for The New York Times while still an undergraduate at Columbia University. After eight years at the Times, he also wrote for Newsweek, The Wall Street Journal, Vanity Fair, The Washington Post, and The Los Angeles Times, as well as publishing three books, including the Lambda Literary Award-winning The Gay Metropolis.
  • Lou Chibbaro, Jr.: A prize-winning reporter for the nation's oldest LGBT news publication, The Washington Blade, Chibbaro first took up his pen in 1976 under the pseudonym Lou Romano
  • Alan Bell: Beginning in 1977 when he founded Gaysweek, New York City's first mainstream lesbian and gay newspaper, and continuing with BLK and Blackfire, Bell has been a pioneer of LGBT journalism and activism, particularly on issues surrounding HIV/AIDS.
  • Alison Bechdel: Creator of the Bechdel Test for gender bias in works of fiction, has been writing for and about the LGBT community since 1983 when she began producing and self-syndicating Dykes to Watch Out For, a comic chronicling the lives, romances, and political involvement of a group of lesbians in the United States.
  • Randy Alfred: Co-founder of the San Francisco Bay Times, Alfred produced and hosted The Gay Life on KSAN-FM –the first regularly scheduled LGBT-oriented program on commercial radio.


  • 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 over 30 categories spanning fields including local television, radio, HIV/AIDS coverage, photojournalism, and feature writing.[16] The awards are given out at the NLGJA National Convention each year.[18]

NLGJA Journalist of the Year Award recipients[edit]

  • 2017: Katie Barnes, ESPN
  • 2016: Dominic Holden, BuzzFeed News
  • 2015: J. Lester Feder, BuzzFeed
  • 2014: Chris Geidner, BuzzFeed
  • 2013: Michael Luongo, Freelance
  • 2012: Steven W. Thrasher, Village Voice[19]
  • 2011: LZ Granderson, ESPN Magazine
  • 2010: Randy Gener, American Theatre
  • 2008: Martha Irvine, Associated Press
  • 2007: James Kirchick
  • 2006: Jason Bellini, CBS News on Logo
  • 2005: Meredith May, San Francisco Chronicle

Sarah Pettit Memorial Award for LGBTQ Journalist of the Year recipients[edit]

  • 2017: Erik Hall, OutSports
  • 2016: Lucas Grindley, The Advocate
  • 2015: Trish Bendix, AfterEllen
  • 2014: Lila Shapiro, The Huffington Post
  • 2013: Lila Shapiro, The Huffington Post
  • 2012: Chris Geidner, Metro Weekly and BuzzFeed[19]
  • 2011: Michael Luongo, Freelance writer
  • 2010: Kerry Eleveld, The Advocate
  • 2008: First Place: Laura Douglas-Brown, Southern Voice
  • 2007: Ryan Lee, Southern Voice
  • 2006: Malinda Lo,
  • 2005: John Caldwell, The Advocate

Contributions to journalism[edit]

NLGJA Stylebook Supplement on LGBTQ Terminology[edit]

The NLGJA's most noteworthy tangible contribution to the journalism industry is the NLGJA Stylebook Supplement on LGBTQ Terminology, which fellow journalists can use for reference when writing about topics relating to the LGBTQ 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 LGBTQ people"[21]

The Stylebook Supplement can be found on the NLGJA website in both English and Spanish.[22]

Press service[edit]

In connection with Witeck-Combs Communications, the NLGJA launched OutNewsWire in 2008 to simplify the distribution of news articles relating to the LGBTQ 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 LGBTQ 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 the LGBTQ community. The stated goal of these seminars was to provide an LGBTQ-friendly office environment for LGBTQ journalists, but the discussions also pushed for domestic partnership benefits at newspapers across the nation, one of the main focuses of the LGBTQ 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]

Rapid Response Task Force[edit]

In order to more directly combat biased journalism, the NLGJA formed the Rapid Response Task Force[26]. 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 LGBTQ 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 LGBTQ journalists, the NLGJA created the CONNECT: Student Journalism Project. The program brings 12 young journalists to NLGJA's National Convention each year to form a newsroom and cover the local community and convention events. Since its inception, over 200 students have participated in the CONNECT program.[28]

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


Between 2008 and 2009, the organization lost members due to the number of people laid off in the media industry that year. Since then, membership has steadily grown to include over 750 members.[30]


External links[edit]

Logo for the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association.


Update: The deadline to apply has been extended to September 30, 2015.

The Northern California Chapter of the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association (NLGJA-NorCal) is pleased to announce its 2015 Bob Ross Student Scholarship. For the eighth year in a row, the Bob Ross Foundation has generously offered $2,500 for the winner of this scholarship. ​

Bob Ross, for whom the scholarship is named, founded San Francisco newspaper the Bay Area Reporter in 1971. The Bay Area Reporter is one of the oldest known lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender papers in the nation. Ross, who was also a passionate advocate for both LGBT and AIDS rights, passed away in 2003.

NLGJA is an organization of journalists, online media professionals and students that works from within the journalism industry to foster fair and accurate coverage of LGBT issues. NLGJA opposes workplace bias against all minorities and provides professional development for its members.

The Northern California Chapter is responsible for furthering NLGJA’s mission in this region and is directed by a board elected by members who live and work here.


Applicants for the student scholarship should be pursuing an education in journalism or a related field at an institution of higher education in Northern California; students who are from Northern California of a Northern California school but are pursuing journalism­ related studies out of state also qualify. The winning candidate must demonstrate an outstanding commitment to NLGJA’s mission.

A candidate’s sexual orientation is not a factor in the decision­ making process. Scholarship recipients will have an opportunity for an ongoing professional relationship with NLGJA journalists. The winner will be selected at the discretion of NLGJA’s Northern California board based on academic and journalistic excellence, as well as a demonstrated commitment to and understanding of NLGJA’s mission.


  • A completed application form (following these guidelines).
  • A résumé listing your educational background, work history (including any work done for a newspaper, radio station, television station and/or other media), awards, internships and other scholarships.
  • Samples of your best work: Materials will not be returned.
    • For print journalism applicants, please include up to three clips of your published work. These can be mailed or sent electronically.
    • For broadcast journalism or documentary film applicants, one DVD or VHS videotape that includes up to three examples of your work is required. Web links also are acceptable.
    • For photojournalism applicants, submit up to three 8″ x 10″ prints of your best work. These also can be sent electronically.
  • Contact information for two references. These should be people who know your academic and/or journalism work (i.e. professors, advisers, employers, etc.).
  • A double­-spaced personal essay of no more than 1,000 words (handwritten essays will not be accepted) explaining why you are pursuing a career in journalism and why you deserve this scholarship. Please explain how your work thus far demonstrates a commitment to NLGJA’s mission.


All entries must be e-­mailed or postmarked by September 30, 2015. In­ person deliveries will NOT be accepted.


We prefer that you send your application electronically to the e­-mail address provided below with “NLGJA App” as the subject line. However, if work samples are not available in an electronic format, they may be sent separately via regular mail, as can the entire application if necessary. No applications will be accepted in person.

Questions about the scholarship and the application should also be sent to the e-­mail address provided below.

Electronic Submission:
Maria De La O at

Regular Mail:

Maria De La O
NLGJA-NorCal Chapter President
831 14th St.
San Francisco, CA 94114

NLGJA Northern California Chapter Student Scholarship Guidelines & Application Updated April 19, 2015​


Name (Last, First, Middle): _____________________________________________________________________

Date of Birth: _________________

Permanent Mailing Address: _____________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________

Telephone Number: _____________________________________________________________________

E-mail: ________________________________________________________________

Area of Interest:
____ Print ____ Television / Film ____ Radio ____ Photojournalism ____ New Media

Name of School:


School Address:

_____________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________

School Phone Number: _____________________________________________________________________

Name of Adviser/Counselor: _____________________________________________________________________

Adviser’s Phone Number: _____________________________________________________________________

Adviser’s E-mail:


Spring of 2015 Status:

____ Freshman ____ Sophomore ____ Junior ____ Senior ____ Graduate Student

Major/Area of Focus: _____________________________________________________

Are you a full­-time student? _____________________________________________________________________

Expected Graduation Date: _____________________________________________________________________


GPA: _______ GPA Scale: _______

Will you be able to attend the NLGJA national convention in San Francisco in September 2015?
____ Yes ____ No


I affirm that all information included with this application is true and accurate and that I will pursue my interest in journalism. I also affirm that the awarding of funds is contingent upon my enrollment as a student in the 2015­2016 academic year at an accredited college or university. All materials, including transcripts, résumé, writing samples, references and essays should be submitted with this application and will not be returned. All applications must be emailed or postmarked no later than September 30, 2015. _____________________________________________________________________

Applicant Signature _____________________________________________________________________

Date ____________


Electronic Submission:
Maria De La O at

Regular Mail:

Maria De La O
NLGJA-NorCal Chapter President
831 14th St.
San Francisco, CA 94114

NLGJA Northern California Chapter Student Scholarship Guidelines & Application Updated April 19, 2015​