Observations on the NLGJA Excellence in Journalism Awards

nlgjaI was pleased to chair the NLGJA Excellence in Journalism Awards, announced today. Without divulging too much information about the process, there were some interesting trends in the winners and finalists that say a lot about the future of coverage of the LGBT community.

– Two awards, best online and best TV network segment, went to coverage of the same story: telling the story of Kirk Andrew Murphy, who was treated for “pre-homosexuality” at UCLA by George Rekers in 1970 and how it affected the rest of his short life. The winners were able to use their unique platforms–a national news show and an online effort run by a citizen journalist–to tell this unique story.

– Journalist of the Year Steven Thrasher found time to cover LGBT issues for the VIllage Voice as a staff writer, but also write expansive stories for the New York Times and Out.

– Sarah Petit Memorial Award for LGBT Journalist winner Chris Geidner, formerly of MetroWeekly, showed how effective LGBT journalism includes social media, online columns, and traditional print efforts.

– HIV/AIDS is still a story people are talking about.  HIV/AIDS related stories won for opinion writing, radio, and HIV/AIDS coverage.

– Covering LGBT issues is not just happening in big cities on the coasts. The student winner was from Kent State University in Kent, Ohio.  The best local television segment went to Fox4 (WDAF) in Kansas City.  The best feature writing was in the Tulsa World in Tulsa, Okla. Online winner Box Turtle Bulletin is based in Tucson, Arizona.


2012 NLGJA Excellence in Journalism Awards Announced

nlgjaWashington, D.C. – The National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association (NLGJA) announces the recipients of its Excellence in Journalism Awards.

The recipient of this year’s Journalist of the Year is Steven W. Thrasher of the Village Voice, New York Times and Out. The recipient of this year’s Sarah Pettit Memorial Award for Excellence in LGBT Media goes to Chris Geidner, formerly of Metro Weekly.

NLGJA’s Excellence in Journalism Awards were established in 1993 to foster, recognize and reward excellence in journalism on issues related to the LGBT community. In addition to Journalist of the Year and the Sarah Pettit Memorial Award for Excellence in LGBT Media, awards will be presented for excellence in news writing, feature writing, opinion writing, local television, network television, radio, online, HIV/AIDS and student journalism.

The NLGJA 2012 Journalist of the Year is Steven W. Thrasher, a staff writer for the Village Voice and writer for the New York Times and Out. Whether it is about multigenerational gay families, a homeless shelter for LGBT youth, or a controversial political dynasty involved in New York’s same-sex marriage battles, Thrasher’s work succeeds at being interesting and unexpected. A keen interviewer and beautiful writer, his willingness to move beyond the usual in covering LGBT lives hit its peak this year.

This year’s Sarah Pettit LGBT Journalist of the Year Award goes to Chris Geidner, former senior political editor at Metro Weekly, and now senior political reporter at BuzzFeed. Geidner has been the go-to voice for important news stories in Washington, D.C., covering the White House, Supreme Court, and Justice Department. His sober and intelligent writing thoroughly explains some of the most important political stories of the year, quickly becoming one of the most attributed LGBT journalists online and in the mainstream press.

“It was another outstanding year for quality journalism reporting on LGBT issues and lives. The 30th Anniversary of the beginning of the AIDS crisis brought outstanding work from KQED and CNN, while Cary Aspinwall’s story of a transgender teen in the Tulsa World shined a light on transgender lives in an unusual place. Judges were especially impressed with the work of Jim Burroway of Box Turtle Bulletin, who took citizen journalism to a new level with his coverage of George Reker’s experiment in uncovering what makes little boys gay and the experiment’s impact on one particular man,” says David Steinberg, NLGJA’s National Board President. “NLGJA’s Excellence in Journalism Awards recognize a variety of media and journalists who exemplify NLGJA’s commitment to fair and accurate coverage of LGBT issues.”

NLGJA Journalist of the Year
Winner: Steven W. Thrasher – Village Voice, New York Times, Out

Sarah Pettit LGBT Journalist of the Year
Winner: Chris Geidner – Metro Weekly
Runner-Up: Jen Colletta – Philadelphia Gay News

Excellence in News Writing
First Place: Chris Geidner, Metro Weekly, DOJ Stops Defending DOMA
Second Place: Brett Zongker, Associated Press, Coverage of the National Portrait Gallery’s first show on history of LGBT art
Third Place: Jen Colletta, Philadelphia Gay News, Coverage of the Stacey Blahnik murder

Excellence in Feature Writing
First Place: Cary Aspinwall, Tulsa World, “Becoming Kate”
Second Place: June Thomas, Slate, “The Gay Bar”
Third Place: Karina Bland, Arizona Republic, “2 Gay Dads, 12 Happy Kids”

Excellence in Student Journalism
First Place: Simon Husted, Fusion (Kent State), “Jake Nash: Speaking For The Transgender Community”

Excellence in HIV/AIDS Coverage
First Place: CNN, “30 Years of AIDS: Profiles”

– Writer/Producers: Elizabeth Landau and Madison Park,

Second Place: CNN, Sanjay Gupta MD: AIDS Turns 30

– Correspondent: Dr. Sanjay Gupta
– Senior Executive Producer: Roni Selig
– Executive Producer- Jennifer Pifer Bixler

Third Place: Regan Hoffman, Poz, “R.I.P. HIV”

Excellence in Opinion Writing
First Place: Aaron Stella, Philadelphia Gay News
Second Place: Sean Bugg, Metro Weekly

Excellence in Radio
First Place: California Report for KQED, “AIDS at 30”

– Host/Reporter: Scott Shafer

Second Place: SiriusXM OutQ News, “Live Coverage: Gay Marriage in New York”

– Anchor/Producer: Xorje Olivares

Third Place: State of the Re:Union, “Laramie After Matthew Shepard”

– Host and Executive Producer: Al Letson
– Producer: Laura Starecheski
– Senior Content Editor: Taki Telonidis
– Executive Director: Ian DeSousa

Excellence in Online Journalism
First Place: Jim Burroway, Box Turtle Bulletin, “What Are Little Boys Made of”
Second Place: Michael Luongo, The Advocate, “Unlikely Activist”
Third Place: Adam Polaski, Bilerico Project, Lez Get Real/Paula Brooks Scandal

Excellence in Network Television
First Place: CNN, “Anderson Cooper 360: Sissy Boy Experiments”

– Correspondents: Anderson Cooper, Randi Kaye,
– Executive Producer for AC360: Charlie Moore
– Executive Producer: Bud Bultman
– Producers: Jessi Joseph and Scott Bronstein
– Editor: April Hock, Blake Luce

Second Place: CNN International, “World’s Untold Stories: Corrective Rape”

– Executive Producers: Mike McCarthy, Sheri England
– Producer: Brent Swails
– Correspondent: Nkepile Mabuse
– Editor: Earl Nurse

Third Place: CNN, “Anderson Cooper 360: Bullying It Stops Here”

– Correspondent: Soledad O’Brien
– Anchor: Anderson Cooper
– Executive Producer: Charlie Moore
– Senior Broadcast Producer: Kara Kasarjian
– Senior Editorial Producer: Kerry Rubin
– Producer: Chuck Hadad
– Associate Producer: Elise Miller
– Writer: Marshall Arbitman, Maureen Miller
– Editors: Nathaniel Little, Carl Graf

Excellence in Local TV
First Place: WDAF-TV (Fox-Kansas City), “Meet My Moms”

– Reporter/Anchor: Abby Eden
– Photojournalist: Sarah Thacker

Awards will be presented at the UNITY 2012 Convention NLGJA Awards Reception, August 3, 2012 in Las Vegas. For more information on the convention, visit nlgja.org/unity/.