2012 NLGJA Annual Scholarship Award Winners

Washington, DC– The National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association (NLGJA) announced the winners of its two annual scholarship awards.

nlgjaBoth scholarships – worth $3,000 each – are awarded each year to deserving students who are dedicated to furthering NLGJA’s mission of fostering fair and accurate coverage of LGBT issues. “Recognizing and encouraging the next generation of LGBT journalists is one of the most important things NLGJA does as an organization.” said Michael Triplett, NLGJA President, “The scholarship winners demonstrate that our profession can be vital and important, while also representing the diverse communities we cover.”

The 2012 award recipient of the Leroy F. Aarons Scholarship is Christopher Carbone. Carbone graduated from Rutgers University in 2000 and dove right into journalism with his early work published in the New York Press and The New York Blade. Carbone will attend Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism in the fall.

The third annual recipient of the Kay Longcope Scholarship Award is John-Carlos Estrada. Estrada graduated from The George Washington University in 2009 with a degree in International Affairs focused on Latin America. He will attend Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism in the fall.

The Leroy F. Aarons Scholarship was established in 2006 through a gift by CNN. Named in memory of Leroy F. Aarons, founder of NLGJA and a founding member of the Robert C. Maynard Institute for Journalism Education, the Leroy F. Aarons Scholarship was established to support the education of a lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender student pursuing a journalism career.

The Kay Longcope Scholarship Award seeks to further the role of diversity in the education of our next generation of newsroom leaders by providing tuition assistance to a lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender student of color who plans a career in journalism. Longcope was co-founder of The Texas Triangle, a statewide newsweekly focused on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues, and is generally regarded as the first out reporter at the Boston Globe. The pioneering Longcope started writing for the Globe in 1970 and was there for more than 20 years, including a tenure as the paper’s religion editor.

The scholarship funds are administered through a partnership between NLGJA and The Delaware Valley Legacy Fund, a donor-advised fund of the Philadelphia Foundation that works to advance philanthropy through endowment building, fundraising, community outreach and education within the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

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NLGJA Stylebook Supplement Updated

The Stylebook Supplement on LGBT Terminology is intended to complement the prose stylebooks of individual publications, as well as the Associated Press stylebook, the leading stylebook in U.S. newsrooms. It reflects the association’s mission of inclusive coverage of LGBT people, includes entries on words and phrases that have become common and features greater detail for earlier entries.

Stylebook excerpts in the news:

gender transition: The preferred term for the process by which transgender people change their physical, sexual characteristics from those associated with their sex at birth. May include change of name, clothing, official documentation and medical treatments based on individual needs, which may include hormone therapy, hair removal and surgery. Not synonymous with sex reassignment. Avoid the antiquated term “sex change.”
See sex reassignment, transgender.

openly gay/lesbian: As a modifier, “openly” is usually not relevant; its use should be restricted to instances in which the public awareness of an individual’s sexual orientation is germane. Examples: Harvey Milk was the first openly gay San Francisco supervisor. “Ellen” was the first sitcom to feature an openly lesbian lead character. “Openly” is preferred over “acknowledged,” “avowed,” “admitted,” “confessed” or “practicing” because of their negative connotations.

marriage: Advocates for the right to marry seek the legal rights and obligations of marriage, not a variation of it. Often, the most neutral approach is to avoid any adjective modifying the word “marriage.” For the times in which a distinction is necessary, “marriage for same-sex couples” is preferable in stories. When there is a need for shorthand description (such as in headline writing), “same-sex marriage” is preferred because it is more inclusive and more accurate than “gay.”
See civil union, commitment ceremony, domestic partner, relationships.

Click here to download NLGJA’s Stylebook Supplement on LGBT Terminology (PDF). Printed versions are available on request, email Matthew Rose at mrose@nlgja.org.

Gonorrhea Is Not The New AIDS

The LGBT blog Queerty wrote this attention-grabbing headline in response to recent news about gonorrhea: “Super Bug: Is Gonorrhea the New AIDS?

The post by Dan Avery is the result of new guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to health care providers on how to treat gonorrhea.

Here’s an excerpt from the POZ Treatment News article about the new guidelines:

The CDC notes that gonorrhea has developed resistance to every antibiotic recommended for treatment of Neisseria gonorrhoeae, the bacterium responsible for gonorrhea, leaving only a class of drugs called the cephalosporins, which include Suprax (cefixime) and Rocephin. In turn, the recommended first-line therapy for gonorrhea has been Suprax, an oral antibiotic, combined with either Zithromax (azithromycin) or doxycycline.

“Now the CDC is concerned about an uptick in laboratory data showing that Suprax is becoming less effective in treating N. gonorrhoeae. Continued use of the drug, the agency worries, may prompt the bacterium to develop resistance to all cephalosporins. The CDC is therefore recommending that Suprax no longer be prescribed and Rocephin–which needs to be administered by a health care provider–used in its place, along with either Zithromax or doxycycline.”

Just by issuing these new guidelines, it’s clear that the CDC is worried. Which then prompts the question: How worried should we be?

I can’t put an exact measure on it, but I feel safe in saying that this should provide motivation for those who have become weary of safer sex, particularly condom use.

If untreated, gonorrhea can spread to the blood or joints, which can be life threatening. And gonorrhea can make it easier to both give and get HIV.

As Avery points out in his post:

If there’s a takeaway from the CDC pulling the alarm bell, its that we have to remember that AIDS is not the only sexually-transmitted infection out there.”

Agreed (except that “HIV” would have been more accurate). And although their headline set us up expecting the answer to be yes, Queerty made it clear the answer was no, gonorrhea is not the new AIDS.

Scaring people unnecessarily doesn’t help in the long run with prevention efforts, which is why I chose the headline I did for this post. That said, I plan on keeping a close eye on how this story develops.

LGBT Media in Mexico

Blogger and writer Enrique Torre Molina recently gathered a group of professionals from various media to attend a summit of sorts on the state of LGBT media in Mexico.

His assessment is a mixed bag:

Mainstream media in Mexico are increasingly including LGBT content in positive ways. Some examples are AnimalPolitico.com, Chilango magazine, CNNMexico.com, E! Latin News, M Semanal magazine, and Reforma newspaper. In 2011 a gay fashion designer and his husband were number one on Quién magazine’s (focused on soft journalism) cover story about the most attractive couples in the country. On the other hand, tabloids, and productions by mass media company Televisa (including gay-oriented TV show Guau) are often responsible for homophobic expressions and bigoted characters.

I am also concerned with the state of LGBT media as a striving industry. Every day I ask myself who is actually reading, watching, and listening to us. I worry that it’s mostly ourselves paying attention to what our colleagues are doing, and giving each other feedback. And that’s awesome if we’re in the business of addressing issues that only we care about, of patting each other’s backs and lifting each other’s egos (or, seen more meanly, bitching about each other’s work). But if we’re in the business of raising awareness on sexual diversity, of fighting discrimination against LGBT people, of sharing stories, of shifting opinions, of speaking up, of being the voices of those who are shut by the closet, or if we want our work to be a business at all we need to take an incisive look at what we do and how we are executing our work as narrators of reality.

In attendance at the meeting was Brian Pacheco of GLAAD. Molina says that he has been collaborating with them on projects, so he used Pacheco’s visit as an excuse for gathering his colleagues.

So it’s no surprise that the following was one of the meeting’s outcomes:

The most tangible conclusion we arrived at regarding how to work collectively was the possibility of setting up an observatory in Mexico with tasks similar to GLAAD’s, of running it with volunteers versus obtaining funds to make it a more sustainable project.

Molina and his colleagues are obviously going through much of the same challenges and opportunities that U.S. LGBT media are currently facing. I don’t doubt their need for an organization similar to GLAAD, but the following made me question what else they would need:

[Participants] pointed out the lack of professionalization of many mainstream media in terms of LGBT issues, but reminded us of the contrasting lack of professionalization of LGBT media in journalistic terms…

Perhaps an organization similar to NLGJA would also serve them well.

UNITY 2012: Day 1

Despite the saying, “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas,” the first day of UNITY 2012 in Las Vegas was too special and important to not share.

The opening program was hosted by Juju Chang of ABC News and Mark Whitaker, EVP and Managing Editor of CNN Worldwide.  The program included comments by the alliance presidents and Unity president Joanna Hernandez, as well as an award to Unity founder Will Sutton, who encouraged Unity and NABJ to continue to seek reunification efforts.

For NLGJA, the immediate feeling I had is “we are part of us.” Any concerns about tension regarding NLGJA’s presence immediately melted away as the spirit of diversity and unity became evident from the very beginning. As the drummers representing the spirit of Asian Americans, Latinos, and Native Americans filled the ballroom (and yes, we need to find an LGBT drumming spirit somewhere), the sense of community was clear.

The opening plenary featured Whitaker hosting a panel focused on “A Difficult Conversation” and the tensions that often exist among racial and ethnic minority groups, as well as LGBT people. The panelists included LZ Granderson, Helen Zia, Ray Suarez and Marley Shebala. After the panelists introduced themselves–including LZ and Helen talking about their identities as being both LGBT and people of color–Whitaker immediately plunged into the difficult question of NLGJA joining Unity after the departure of NABJ and whether that prevented NABJ from halting reunification efforts.  It was an enlightening and tough conversation that also explored the Trayvon Martin case and immigration and laid the framework for convention attendees to really ask the hard questions and explore what brings us together as journalists and what often separates us as different organizations representing different constituencies.

That spirit carried into the opening reception, where I was immediately struck by how diverse and unique this gathering is. Seeing journalists of color mingling with each other and with white journalists, LGBT journalists mingling with straight journalists, old friends greet each other as they make new friends reminds me why I believed it was so important for NLGJA become part of the alliance. I also see a special sense of pride in LGBT journalists of color who have long been active in their own alliances–as well as NLGJA–realizing that “we’ve arrived” and they can take special pride in both being LGBT and journalists of color.

On a personal note, I’m pleased to become the president of NLGJA after this convention. While my writing on the blog may take a less provocative tone, I hope to continue to blog and continue our conversation about the fair and accurate coverage of LGBT issues and the important role of LGBT journalists.