Media Contact: Bach Polakowski, or 202-588-9888

Washington, D.C. – Today the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association (NLGJA) announces the recipients of its Excellence in Journalism Awards and salutes their exemplary work.

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 special recognition awards, awards will be presented for excellence in news writing, feature writing, opinion writing, local television, network television, radio, online, HIV/AIDS coverage and student journalism.

The NLGJA 2013 Journalist of the Year is Michael Luongo, a freelance journalist, editor and photographer and New York University adjunct professor who teaches travel writing. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Bloomberg News, CNN, National Geographic Traveler, Gay City News, The Advocate, Condé Nast Traveler, Travel+Leisure, Details, Man About World and other publications, with most of his travel writing and international correspondence work concentrating on the Middle East and Latin America.

One Excellence in Journalism Awards judge commented that Michael Luongo “gains amazing access to the Palestinian, Israeli, and Egyptian worlds. His ability to weave a narrative draws the reader into his stories, be they about pinkwashing in Israel, the difficulties of being gay in Palestine, or what became of the out, gay activists in Egypt's manifestation of the Arab Spring. He also shows versatility, reporting on both the gay world for the mainstream media and on the lesser known aspects of straight Arab society in Egypt and the just plain fascinating continued existence of Samaritans in Israel.” 

Another judge noted: “Luongo produces well-researched and sourced work that simply isn't done by many – even any – other news organizations. His travels potentially put him – and even his subjects – at risk as he pulls together his stories. His work focuses on many under-reported topics and underserved segments, especially of LGBT life.”

This year's Sarah Pettit LGBT Journalist of the Year Award goes to Lila Shapiro, a staff reporter at The Huffington Post. A judge praised her: “Shapiro shows a sophisticated understanding of sensitive topics – her story about life in Harlan County (and the alleged hate crime there) went far beyond any other story I have seen on the topic to get at the true nature of the people there and the complicated secrets they must keep. She is a careful observer watching the way a buff gay man who seems fearless at first gets nervous on a drive out to where the focus of the story has been beaten. She's a fantastic reporter and clearly knows her own voice and spins a good story.  Truly remarkable.”

The following are special recognition awards and awards for excellence in various news media and platforms.

Special recognition awards:

Journalist of the Year Award

Sarah Pettit Memorial Award for the LGBT Journalist of the Year


Print/online awards:

Excellence in HIV/AIDS Coverage Award

Excellence in News Writing Award

Excellence in Feature Writing Award

Excellence in Opinion/Editorial Writing Award

Excellence in Online Journalism Award

Excellence in Multimedia Award

  • First: Olivia Ford for the video series “A Day in the Life,” with Mark S. King, Becky Allen and Kellee Terrell,

Excellence in Photojournalism Award

Excellence in Student Journalism Award


Broadcast awards:

Excellence in Network Television Award

  • First: David Corvo for “Golden Star,” with Kate Snow, Charmian Ling, Meghan Frank and Beverly Chase, NBCUniversal
  • Second: Tommy Nguyen for “Josie's Story,” with Hoda Kotb, Allison Orr Nicholas Capote and Liz Cole, NBCUniversal

Excellence in Local Television Award

Excellence in Radio Award

Awards will be presented August 24 during the NLGJA Awards Reception at Boston: Uncommon, the 2013 NLGJA National Convention and 9th Annual LGBT Media Summit. For more information on the convention in Boston, visit

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About the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association
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. For more information on the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, visit the NLGJA Web site at