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NLGJA Timeline


A look back…

In 1990 Roy Aarons gathered a group of journalists together in his San Francisco Bay Area living room to talk about the issues that face LGBTQ people in the newsroom. From that first meeting, NLGJA has grown to be the voice for LGBTQ people in newsrooms across the country. Join us for a look back over more than two decades of progress for LGBTQ journalists.

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  • 1990: NLGJA Founded

    IN THE BEGINNING… The American Society of Newspaper Editors announces the results of its first-ever survey of gay and lesbian journalists at American newspapers. The survey’s coordinator, then-Oakland Tribune executive editor Roy Aarons, reveals he is gay. The study, “Alternatives: Gays and Lesbians in the Newsroom,” indicates newsrooms harbor “palpable undercurrent of bias.” In 1990, only one newspaper, the Village Voice, offers domestic partners benefits. Spurred by the ASNE survey, lesbian and gay journalists begin to ...
  • 1991: First Edition of Alternatives

    The first edition of Alternatives, the NLGJA newsletter, is published. Roy Aarons calls it “a major milestone in our yearlong effort to get this organization off the ground.” The editorial staff of the newsletter includes Shannon Hickey, Warren Pederson and Kate Slott.
  • 1992: First National Convention

    At NLGJA’s first national convention, 300 lesbian and gay journalists meet in San Francisco, many out for the first time. In a videotaped message, New York Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger, Jr., promises that the Times will offer domestic partners benefits.
  • 1993: NBC Agrees to Policy of Nondiscrimination for LGBT Employees

    After meeting with NLGJA, NBC News reaffirms in a memo to employees its policy not to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation. NLGJA now has 13 chapters
  • 1994: “Domestic Partner Benefits: At What Cost?”

    NLGJA publishes “Domestic Partner Benefits: At What Cost?” - a guide for news media companies on instituting domestic partner health benefits. Ten media companies are known to offer domestic partner benefits at the time.
  • 1994: Steven Gendel Comes Out

    NLGJA member Steven Gendel is the first journalist to disclose he is gay on a major network when he outs himself during an NBC broadcast of the Stonewall Celebration.
  • 1995: Canadian Chapter Formed

    Canada forms its own National Lesbian and Gay Journalist Association with ties to the U.S. parent group.
  • 1995: Report on Gay and Lesbian Issues in Electronic Journalism

    NLGJA and the Radio and Television News Directors Foundation publish Another Perspective: A report on Gay and Lesbian Issues in Electronic Journalism. The survey reveals most are unimpressed with the quality and extent of coverage of many gay issues.
  • 1996: NLGJA Hires Executive Director

    Michael Frederickson becomes NLGJA’s first full-time executive director. NLGJA national headquarters relocates from Northern California to Washington, DC.
  • 1997: First Published Stylebook Addenda: Gay/Lesbian Terminology

    Karen-Louise Boothe is elected NLGJA president. NLGJA publishes Stylebook Addenda: Gay/Lesbian Terminology. The German Association of Gay and Lesbian Journalists is founded. NLGJA issues an updated domestic partner benefits guide. The Washington Post refuses to extend benefits to domestic partners but the Hearst Media group does. Knight-Ridder follows suit and soon 56 news organizations are offering domestic partnership benefits.
  • 1998: Annual Convention in Las Vegas

    The NLGJA holds its annual convention in Las Vegas, with over 500 people in attendance. The convention was themed "On A Roll: Dealing an Open Hand in the Newsroom."    
  • 1999: Second Executive Director Hired

    Xiomara A. Sosa joins NLGJA as its second executive director, the first Latina and the first lesbian to hold the job.
  • 2000: Lesbians and Gays In the Newsroom: 10 Years Later Published

    NLGJA celebrates its 10th Anniversary at a gala San Francisco convention. The organization now has 1,000 members in its 19 chapters and those in Germany and Canada. NLGJA launches a new survey, Lesbians and Gays In the Newsroom: 10 Years Later.
  • 2000: Pamela Strother Becomes Third Executive Director

    Pamela Strother served as the organization’s first Director of Development in 2006 and took the helm as Executive Director in September 2000.
  • 2001: Gill Foundation Award

    The Gill Foundation awards $100,000 to NLGJA, the largest made to NLGJA since its first award in 1995.
  • 2001: Rapid Response Task Force

    NLGJA members and staff work daily with our colleagues in the news industry to fulfill the organization's mission of fair and accurate coverage. Sometimes, though, a more targeted response is required to promote greater understanding about how to fairly and accurately cover the LGBTQ community. NLGJA's answer to this is the Rapid Response Task Force. This panel of working journalists from mainstream and LGBTQ media answers complaints about reporting seen as unfair and/or inaccurate by readers, ...
  • 2001: NewsWatch Celebrates NLGJA’s 10th Anniversary

    NewsWatch (founded in 1997 as a joint project of the San Francisco State University, the Native American Journalists Association, National Association of Black Journalists, Asian American Journalists Association, National Association of Hispanic Journalists and NLGJA) publishes an issue celebrating NLGJA’s 10th Anniversary.
  • 2001: Strategic Plan Ratified

    NLGJA ratified a strategic plan in Dallas, TX, which put emphasis on core program goal areas of membership and chapter growth; improved coverage of LGBTQ communities; expansion of benefits for LGBTQ employees; increased student outreach and education; and more professional development training.
  • 2002: Steven Petrow Elected President

    Steven PetrowSteven Petrow elected to NLGJA presidency.
  • 2002: Minnesota Chapter Victory

    Minnesota Chapter lobbies Minneapolis Star Tribune to consider a contract with a vendor only after gaining assurance that its leaders could work respectfully with a newspaper that had ‘out’ employees. The vendor in question, in response, added ‘sexual orientation’ to its anti-discrimination language.
  • 2002: Barbara Dozetos Joins NLGJA Executive Committee

    The first LGBTQ press member, Barbara Dozetos, joins the executive committee of NLGJA.
  • 2002: Domestic Partner Benefits Offered at The Associated Press

    The Associated Press offers domestic partner benefits to its gay and lesbian employees.
  • 2002: NLGJA Joins Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications

    NLGJA becomes a voting member of the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications, which reviews and grants accreditation of college level programs.
  • 2002: Domestic Partner Benefits Offered At More Media Companies

    The New York Daily News and the Belo Corporation add their names to the ranks of major news media companies offering domestic partner benefits to their employees.
  • 2004: NLGJA Mourns Loss of Founder

    NLGJA mourns the loss of its founder, Roy Aarons.
  • 2004: Newsroom Outreach Project Launches

    NLGJA kicks off its Newsroom Outreach Project, which seeks to familiarize newsroom leaders with NLGJA and discuss LGBTQ coverage issues. Meetings launched in DC, New Orleans and Colorado.
  • 2004: First LGBT Media Summit

    The first LGBT Media Summit is held in New York in conjunction with the National Convention.
  • 2005: 15th Anniversary

    NLGJA celebrates 15 years. There are 1,200 members and 24 chapters across the country and affiliates in Canada and Germany.
  • 2005: LGBTQ Journalists Hall of Fame

    NLGJA unveils the LGBTQ Journalists Hall of Fame, honoring the pioneering lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer journalists whose actions demonstrated both exemplary professionalism and personal courage. Learn more about the Hall of Fame.
  • 2005: Remembering Roy Aarons

    An accomplished journalist who spent 14 years as a reporter and editor at the Washington Post, Aarons sent shockwaves through the news industry in 1990 when he emotionally acknowledged that he was gay at a conference of the American Society of Newspaper Editors. That announcement, which came at the end of a speech in which he also unveiled results of a landmark survey of gay and lesbian journalists that showed most were unhappy with their ...
  • 2006: CNN Donation Funds Leroy F. Aarons Scholarship

    CNN donates $100,000 to the newly established NLGJA Scholarship Fund endowment, funding the Leroy F. Aarons Scholarship Award.
  • 2006: Lifetime Membership Program

    NLGJA launches the Lifetime Membership Program.
  • 2007: David Barre Hired as Executive Director

    NLGJA hires new Executive Director, David Barre.
  • 2008: NLGJA Elects 6th President: David Steinberg

    David Steinberg of the San Francisco Chronicle elected as NLGJA’s 6th president.
  • 2009: Michael Tune Hired as Executive Director

    NLGJA hires Michael Tune as the new Executive Director.
  • 2009: Student Advisory Committee Formed

    NLGJA forms the Student Advisory Committee, to aid in reaching out to students, creating education projects and build exposure among journalism schools.
  • 2009: Re:ACT Goes Live

    Re:ACT, the official NLGJA blog, goes live - more than doubling NLGJA’s exposure and traffic on the web.
  • 2010: 20th Anniversary

    NLGJA celebrates 20 years at the National Convention in San Francisco.
  • 2011: NLGJA Enters UNITY Journalists’ Alliance

    NLGJA Enters UNITY Journalists' Alliance Devoted to Diversity, UNITY Diversifies Its Own Mission FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Priya Barnes, (414) 405-5075, for UNITY Michael Tune, (202) 588-9888, for NLGJA McLean, Va. (Sept. 19, 2011) – UNITY: Journalists of Color will now include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association (NLGJA), after the boards of directors of both organizations agreed to the partnership last week. NLGJA's mission to advance the interests of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender journalists is consistent ...
  • 2012: 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 ...
  • 2012: Michael Triplett is Elected NLGJA President

    In 2012, Michael Triplett becomes NLGJA's 7th National President. Triplett was instrumental in recognizing bloggers members of the association.
  • 2013: NLGJA President Michael Triplett Dies, 1964-2013

    It is with great sadness that we inform you that our friend and leader, NLGJA President Michael Triplett, passed away today after a courageous battle with cancer. While Michael only served as president for a few short months, he has been a member of our leadership team for several years, first as a Washington, D.C. chapter board member and president and then as a national board member and vice president for print. His quiet demeanor masked ...
  • 2013: Jen Christensen Suceeds Triplett as NLGJA President

    After Michael Triplett died in 2013, Jen Christensen becomes NLGJA's 8th President.
  • 2013: 4th annual LGBT Media Journalists Convening

    On February 22 and 23, over 60 of the nation's top LGBT bloggers, reporters and editors traveled to Philadelphia for the 4th annual LGBT Editors and Bloggers Convening. Funded by the Evelyn & Walter Haas, Jr. Fund and hosted by NLGJA board member and Bilerico Project Editor-In-Chief, Bil Browning, this invitation-only event has quickly become one of the most anticipated of the year. The National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association is very excited to have sponsored ...
  • 2013: NLGJA and AAJA Partner on Heartland Project

    NLGJA partners with the Asian American Journalist Association on the "Diverse and Inclusive: News of the Heartland" project. The project aimed to enhance coverage of communities of color and LGBTQ issues in the country’s heartland. Based at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the project is a collaboration with newsrooms across Nebraska to deepen reporting on immigration, the economy, health care and domestic violence as seen through the lens of the state’s increasingly diverse population.
  • 2014: Adam Pawlus Becomes Executive Director

    As the organization continues to expand, Adam Pawlus is hired as executive director.
  • 2015: 6th Annual LGBT Media Journalists Convening

    The National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association is proud to host the 2015 LGBT Media Journalists Convening, sponsored by the Evelyn and Walter Haas Jr. Fund. With the theme of "What Happens When You Catch the Car," the forum will be held Friday, March 13 to Sunday, March 15, in Philadelphia, PA. The goal of the forum is to strengthen the capacity of LGBT members of the media and blogosphere to more deeply understand and more ...
  • 2015: New Membership Offer for Allies of NLGJA

    NLGJA offers longtime supporters a new way to partner toward fair and accurate coverage For Immediate Release: February 18, 2015 Media Contact: Bach Polakowski or 202-588-9888 Washington, DC – The National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association today announced a campaign to encourage allies to join and take part in its programs for members. This change, offering an Ally Membership for $75 a year, goes into effect in preparation for the organization’s 25th anniversary celebration later in 2015. NLGJA continues ...
  • 2015: Scholarship Winner: John-Carlos Estrada

    The Kay Longcope Scholarship was established in 2008 in memory of The Boston Globe journalist Kay Longcope, who upon her retirement co-founded the Texas Triangle, a LGBTQ weekly newspaper. This scholarship supports the education of an LGBTQ student of color pursuing a career in journalism. Past winners are: Linda Sankat (2014), Mario Montavlo (2013), John-Carlos Estrada (2012), Fenit Nirappil (2011) and Carl Gaines (2010).
  • 2015: NLGJA Celebrates 25th Anniversary in San Francisco at “Coming Home” Convention

    2015 marked the 25th anniversary of NLGJA. Current and past members, as well as NLGJA supporters and allies, “Came Home” to where it all began — San Francisco, California, for the National Convention and 11th annual LGBT Media Summit.
  • 2016: NSNC Joins NLGJA’s Diverse Network of Partners

    Recognizing the importance of increasing diversity in journalism, NLGJA will expand its strategic partnerships to now include the National Society of Newspaper Columnists. For NSNC, this networking alliance is part of an diversity initiative started by NSNC President Jerry Zezima. “The partnership will strengthen both organizations,” Zezima said, “and provide its members with leads to jobs and freelance opportunities, the ability to participate in each other’s conferences and writing contests, and, among many other perks, a ...
  • 2017: NLGJA, NAHJ and Task Force Lauch Updated “El Manual de Estilo Sobre la Comunidad Lesbiana, Gay, Bisexual y Transgénero”

    NLGJA – The Association of LGBTQ Journalists, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ) and The National LGBTQ Task Force launched a Spanish-language stylebook for journalists reporting on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) people in 2017. First published by NLGJA and NAHJ in 2005, "El Manual de Estilo Sobre la Comunidad Lesbiana, Gay, Bisexual y Transgénero" is available online and can be downloaded here. The collaborative publication was a result of ongoing efforts to educate ...