nlgjaThe recipient of this year’s Journalist of the Year is LZ Granderson of ESPN and CNN. The recipient of this year’s Sarah Pettit Memorial Award for Excellence in LGBT Media goes to freelance journalist Michael Luongo.

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 and the Sarah Pettit Memorial Award for Excellence in LGBT Media, awards will be presented for excellence in news writing, feature writing, opinion writing, network television, radio, online, photojournalism, HIV/AIDS and student journalism.

The 2011 Journalist of the Year is LZ Granderson of ESPN and CNN. Granderson’s work—whether about sports, race, gender, sexual orientation, or a combination of them all—succeeds at being topical and profound, often spurring water cooler (and social media) conversation. His willingness to talk about the intersection of race and sexual orientation makes him a unique voice in the national conversation.

This year’s Sarah Pettit LGBT Journalist of the Year Award goes to freelance writer Michael Luongo. His collective work for publications including The Advocate Gay City News Out and the Gay and Lesbian Review focused primarily on gay life in the Middle East . While Luongo’s work is broadly viewed as travel writing, his portraits of the gay Middle East defy boundaries and provide readers with a glimpse of gay life in a region few LGBT people visit.

“With a huge increase in entries, the 2011 awards show the depth of quality journalism reporting on LGBT issues and lives.  From legacy media—like Jeff Sharlet’s stunning reporting on homophobia in Africa for Harpers—to online citizen journalism—Bil Browning’s heartbreaking saga of Betsie Gallardo chronicled at Bilerico Project—NLGJA’s excellence in journalism awards recognize a variety of media and journalists who exemplify NLGJA’s commitment to fair and accurate coverage of LGBT issues,” says David Steinberg , NLGJA’s National Board President.

NLGJA Journalist of the Year
: LZ Granderson , ESPN and CNN
Honorable Mention : Chris Johnson , Washington Blade

Sarah Pettit LGBT Journalist of the Year 
: Michael Luongo, Freelance Writer
Honorable Mention : Chris Geidner, MetroWeekly 

Excellence in News Writing 
First Place 
: Chris Geidner, MetroWeekly Body of Work on Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repeal 
Second Place : Steve Freiss, The Daily Beast , “ Sharron Angle’s Gay Campaign Cash Hypocrisy 
Third Place : Diana Scholl, City Limits , “ For Transgender Homeless, Choice of Shelter Can Prevent Violence 

Excellence in Feature Writing 
First Place : Jeff Sharlet, Harpers “Straight Man’s Burden” 
Second Place : Jeff Sharlet, The Advocate “Dangerous Liaisons” 
Third Place : Kate Brodoff and Ginny Graves , Glamour “Meet My Two Moms”

Excellence in Network Television 
First Place : CNN, Gay in America “Gary and Tony Have a Baby” 
Soledad O’Brien, Reporter

Excellence in Local Television 
First Place : “ Gay in America: Tensions and Tolerance ” – WTIC- Hartford , Conn.
Sarah French, Reporter
Sarah Aaskov, Producer
Charles Carter, Executive Producer
Ryan Wark, Editor
Matthew Nodland, Editor
Daniel Putnam, Editor

Excellence in Radio 
First Place State of the Re: Union “Bayard Rustin: Who is this Man?” 
Al Letson, Host-Executive Producer
Ian DeSousa, Executive Producer
Tina Antolini, Senior Radio Producer
Taki Telonidis, Senior Content Editor
Second Place , NPR, All Things Considered “Word Is Out: A Love That Dared Speak After All” 
Neda Ulaby, Reporter
Tom Cole, Editor
Third Place , NPR, Weekened Edition Saturday “Express Yourself: A Major New Showcase of Gay Portraiture” 
Neda Ulaby, Reporter
Tom Cole, Editor

Excellence in Photojournalism 
First Place : James Kirchick, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty , “A Battle for Gay Rights in Belgrade”

Excellence in HIV/AIDS Coverage Award 
First Place : Jacqueline Gares, Series Producer, In the Life “Legalizing Stigma” 
Second Place : Trenton Straube, Poz , “ Thou Shalt Fear AIDS”

Excellence in Online Journalism 
First Place : Bil Browning, Bilerico Project “A Christmas Miracle for Betsie Gallardo” 
Second Place : Chris Geidner, MetroWeekly’s Poliglot blog, Proposition 8 in Court 
Third Place : Cyd Ziegler, Outsports, “ Kye Allums First Transgender Man Playing NCAA Women’s Basketball”

Excellence in Multimedia Journalism 
First Place 
Kellee Terrell: News Editor/Project Manager

Excellence in Student Journalism 
First Place Newscene , iTV, “ Day of Rememberence 
Alex Miller Pastore-camera and editing
Steven Commer – reporter/track ( San Diego City College )
Second Place : Meredith Bennett-Smith ( New York University ), Pavement Pieces ,“Transgender Rights Still Uncertain After DADT repeal” 
Third Place : Laura Murray ( Columbia University ), “Willing to Die for Equal Rights”

Excellence in Opinion Writing 
First Place : Jonathan Rauch, The Advocate “The Majority Report” 
Second Place : Sean Bugg, MetroWeekly “Learning Experiences” 
Third Place : Alfred Doblin, The Record “The Tragedy of Tyler Clementi”

Awards will be presented at NLGJA’s National Convention & LGBT Media Summit, August 25-28 2011. This year’s convention will provide media professionals the opportunity to participate in high-level training with some of the industry’s best and brightest, as well as provide the opportunity to make the contacts and connections that will strengthen them in their field.

For more information on the convention, visit the convention Web site.