No journalist would cover a professional tennis match without getting an education in backhands, foot faults, player rankings and grand slams. But some reporters step into the world of LGBT people without taking the time to know what they’re reporting about.
Covering the LGBT community requires more research than a few viewings of “Will & Grace.” Consider: Transsexuals aren’t the same as drag queens. Outdated phrases such as “sexual preference” make journalists look clueless at best and insensitive at worst. And “outing” someone without permission remains a dicey proposition, even in these days of growing sexual freedom.
NLGJA believes mainstream journalists have an obligation to be fair, balanced and accurate. NLGJA is dedicated to education, not advocacy. We are journalists ourselves and don’t want our colleagues to slant what they write or put on the airwaves.
We don’t expect anyone to blindly follow all the suggestions we make here. We are not the media police, and some of our own members will certainly disagree with some of the viewpoints expressed here. Our goal is simple: to provide thought-provoking resources to our colleagues as they cover one of the most diverse communities in America. – By Randy Dotinga, NLGJA Lifetime Member
How to Use the Toolbox
NLGJA’s Journalists Toolbox is designed primarily to assist journalists who don’t normally cover the LGBT community. The advice here is drawn from outside media experts and our own members who are professional journalists for both mainstream media and the LGBT press. We also offer story ideas and new ways of thinking for reporters who are experienced in covering LGBT life.
The following articles are written in a news style, and as such, may include different views on how to cover the same topic:
Many newsrooms have questions about how to cover people who are or may be transgender. NLGJA is here to help you ensure your coverage is not only fair, but accurate.read more
The U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments April, 28 on whether a state may refuse to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples or to recognize same-sex marriages from other jurisdictions.read more
Here are a few tips, as well as some information from our stylebook on how to handle things such as pronouns and terminology.read more