I 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.