NLGJA Announces 2006 Excellence in Journalism Award Winners to be Honored at November 8th Chicago Ceremony

The National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association today announced the recipients of its Excellence in Journalism Awards, including its Journalist of the Year honor to be presented to Jason Bellini of CBS News on LOGO.

NLGJA’s 2006 Excellence in Journalism Awards & Hall of Fame Ceremony will be held on Wednesday evening, November 8th, 2006 at Chicago’s Palmer House Hilton. In addition to a presentation of all national Excellence in Journalism Awards, NLGJA’s hosting Chicago chapter will honor longtime member Tracy Baim of the Windy City Media Group with its Outstanding Chicago Journalist Award.

“As coverage increases on LGBT issues, we’re also seeing more sophistication in reporting,” said NLGJA President Eric Hegedus. “It’s so rewarding that we’re able not only to acknowledge the best work offered by the industry, but also that NLGJA’s efforts as a viable newsroom resource are making such a positive impact and are a part of the process.”

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, awards will be presented for HIV/AIDS coverage, written news, written feature, written opinion/editorial, radio, television, photojournalism, new media, LGBT media, and student journalism.

The NLGJA Journalist of the Year Award recognizes the outstanding professional achievements of an LGBT journalist who is a member of NLGJA. CBS News on LOGO‘s Jason Bellini will accept this award of distinction on November 8th in Chicago.

Jason Bellini is a correspondent for CBS News on LOGO, and is the first anchor for MTV’s new channel for the LGBT community. Before joining CBS News on LOGO, Bellini served four years as a CNN news correspondent where he covered the world’s conflict regions, doing three rotations in Iraq. During 2003’s Operation Iraqi Freedom, Bellini reported as one of CNN’s embedded journalists. He spent months in New York covering the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks as the crisis evolved into an international war on terrorism, a story he also covered from Afghanistan.

“It is notable that Jason is being recognized for his work,” said NLGJA President Eric Hegedus. “The stories he relates are, of course, topical and enterprising. But they come to fruition in a unique manner: He’s really a ‘mainstream’ media journalist whose work appears on a LGBT media outlet. Jason tackles some singular challenges along the way – and excels in the process.”

NLGJA’s Excellence in Journalism Awards include $500 first place prizes in eleven separate categories, as well as a $1,000 first place prize presented to the winner of the Sarah Pettit Memorial Award for Excellence in LGBT Media, a category dedicated to LGBT Media. All second and third runners-up receive award certificates.

NLGJA’s Excellence in Journalism Awards are selected by 40 distinguished journalists from across the country who volunteer their time to serve as judges. The Journalist of the Year was selected by faculty members at the University of Southern California's Annenberg School of Journalism.

Corporate sponsors for the 2006 event are the Palmer House Hilton and the Hilton Family, Hearst Newspapers, JetBlue Airways, the Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago’s WFLD-TV, the Chicago Tribune and the Tribune Company, ABC 7 Chicago, and Chicago's NBC5.

2006 NLGJA Excellence in Journalism Awards Winners:

NLGJA Journalist of the Year Award

Presented to Jason Bellini, CBS News of LOGO
Sarah Pettit Memorial Award for Excellence in LGBT Media

First Place Presented to Malinda Lo,
Second Place Presented to Todd Henneman, The Advocate
Third Place Presented to Karen Ocamb, IN Los Angeles Magazine
NLGJA Excellence in News Writing Award
Sponsored by Hearst Newspapers

First Place Presented to “From Pain, Family,” Tina Brown and Elizabeth Hamilton, The Hartford Courant
Second Place Presented to “Gay Tide,” David Crary, The Associated Press
Third Place Presented to "PlanetOut Bids Big for $610 Billion Gay Market," James A. Lopata, In Newsweekly
NLGJA Excellence in Feature Writing
Sponsored by Hearst Newspapers

First Place Presented to "Out Here: Gay Voices in Hampton Roads," David Nicholson, Mike Holtzclaw, and Alison Freehling, Daily Press, Newport News, VA
Second Place Presented to "See Dick Be Jane," Julia Reischel, New Times Broward/Palm Beach
Third Place Presented Posthumously to Joe Dignan, The San Francisco Bay Guardian, for "Cross Purposes"
NLGJA Excellence in Writing Award Opinion/Editorial
Sponsored by Hearst Newspapers

First Place Presented to "The Married State" Series, Alfred P. Doblin, Herald News
Second Place Presented to Columnist Jon Carroll of the San Francisco Chronicle (Link|Link)
Third Place Presented to "I'm Not Willing to Settle for Crumbs," Kim Severson, Newsweek
NLGJA/Seigenthaler Excellence in Radio
First Place Presented to "Gay Pride Banned in Tampa," Andrew Stelzer, Free Speech Radio News
Second Place Presented to "Two Moms Ruled Legal by State Supreme Court," Eric Jansen and Marilyn Pittman, Out in the Bay/KALW 91.7 FM, San Francisco
Third Place Presented to "Native Gay Pride," Patty Talahongva, Camille Lacapa and Tara Gatewood, Native America Calling
NLGJA/Seigenthaler Excellence in Network Television

First Place Presented to “Gay or Straight?,” Lesley Stahl, Shari Finkelstein, Sianne Garlick and Matt Lev, CBS News’ 60 Minutes
Second Place Presented to “I’m Still Emily,” Maria Patrick, In the Life Media, Inc.
NLGJA/Seigenthaler Excellence in Local Television

First Place Presented to “Dads,” Jessica Abo, WCAX-TV, Burlington, VT
NLGJA/RTNDA Excellence in Online Journalism Award

First Place Presented to "How AIDS Changed America,"
Second Place Presented to "Gender Outlaws," Emily Alpert,
Third Place Presented to "A Frightening Odyssey," Patrick Letellier, and
NLGJA Excellence in Photojournalism Award

First Place Presented to "An Anniversary," Lacy Atkins, San Francisco Chronicle
Second Place Presented to "Illusions of a Glittered Life," Kim Badawi, SHIFT
Third Place Presented to "Center's Senior Prom," Gil Kaan, Frontiers Magazine
NLGJA Excellence in HIV/AIDS Coverage Award

First Place Presented to "AIDS at 25," David Jefferson, Geoff Cowley, Claudia Kalb, Andrew Murr, and Ellis Cose, Newsweek
Second Place Presented to "Over 50 with HIV," Jim Rodriguez, Rocco Zappa, and Scott Dill, QTN World News with Steve Kmetko
Third Place Presented to "CBS News on LOGO: AIDS," Brett Alexander, Jason Bellini and Court Passant, CBS News on LOGO
NLGJA Excellence in Student Journalism Award
Sponsored by Jim Duggins, Ph.D

First Place Presented to "Left Out," James Kirchick, Yale Daily News Magazine
Second Place Presented to "Hollywood: Straight and Narrow?," Jason Blalock, UC Berkeley Television (University of California, Berkeley)
Third Place Presented to "Resist Urge, Gays Told: Jesus as 'Motivating Factor',”Bradley Wooten, UWM Post (University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee)
NLGJA is an organization of journalists, media professionals, educators and students working from within the news industry to foster fair and accurate coverage of LGBT issues. NLGJA opposes all forms of workplace bias and provides professional development to its members.