FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, September 7, 2022
PRESS CONTACT: Clare Lefebure
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WASHINGTON, DC – Today, NLGJA: The Association of LGBTQ Journalists announced that Georgia Voice founder and publisher Chris Cash, documentary filmmaker Debra Chasnoff and former editor for the Boston Globe Michelle Johnson are the 2022 inductees into the LGBTQ Journalists Hall of Fame.
The LGBTQ Journalists Hall of Fame was launched to honor outstanding LGBTQ journalists who have exemplified the association’s mission to advance fair and accurate coverage of LGBTQ communities and issues. To date, the LGBTQ Journalists Hall of Fame has honored 51 individuals, living and deceased, who have left a lasting mark on their profession through their own courage and mastery of the practice of journalism.
Cash is the founding publisher of Southern Voice (SoVo), the LGBTQ newspaper of record for Atlanta and the southeast. In 1988, Cash and a small group of volunteers launched a bi-weekly paper buoyed by the activism and optimism of the National March on Washington the previous year. Within a few years, SoVo had become an integral part of the LGBTQ community and a nationally recognized and award-winning publication. At its height, the newspaper employed dozens of staff members, writers, photographers and cartoonists. The now weekly SoVo carried national advertising and distributed more than 25,000 copies per week in Atlanta and throughout the southeast. Cash attributes the success of Southern Voice to its practice of offering news and imagery of both women and men; limiting sexual and alcohol advertising; and “being a paper you could read on MARTA and take home to Mom.” In 1997, Cash sold the paper to Window Media which declared bankruptcy in 2009. Within days she held a community meeting to choose the name for a new LGBT newspaper to fill the void left by SoVo. The name Georgia Voice was chosen and Cash and two former SoVo employees launched in March, 2010. GAVO continues to publish in print and online.
Chasnoff is a documentary filmmaker and nationally recognized champion of using film as an organizing tool for social justice campaigns, and a pioneering leader in the international movement to create safe and welcoming schools and communities. Her films include Straightlaced: “How Gender’s Got Us All Tied Up,” “It’s Elementary: Talking About Gay Issues in School,” and “Let’s Get Real and That’s a Family!” Chasnoff’s first film, “Choosing Children,” explored the once unheard of idea that lesbians and gay men could become parents after coming out. In addition to dozens of film festival awards, Chasnoff is the recipient of the Wallace A. Gerbode Foundation Fellowship for outstanding non-profit leadership, the Pathfinder Award from the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, and the first-ever alumnae achievement award in documentary filmmaking from Wellesley College. Chasnoff has been a featured speaker at dozens of colleges and conferences, and was recently named a Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellow. She is the founder of GroundSpark and co-creator of our renowned Respect For All Project. She has served the organization in a directing capacity since 1982.
Johnson, a former editor for the Boston Globe, was part of the team that launched the Globe’s award-winning regional website, Boston.com. Prior to moving into online media she was an editor for the Metro, National, Foreign and Business sections of the newspaper. She currently serves as an associate professor of the practice in Boston University’s Journalism department. Johnson served as assistant political editor, senior assistant business editor, senior assistant night editor, and for many years as a copy editor, before being named the first editorial manager of boston.com in 1995. Johnson was awarded a Knight Fellowship to study for a year at Stanford University in 1993. She has received awards for excellence from the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) and NLGJA: The National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association. For more than 15 years, Johnson has taught numerous multimedia workshops for both professional journalists from news organizations around the country and student training programs for a variety of professional journalism organizations. Johnson’s work and teaching have taken her to newsrooms, schools and programs engaged in training professional journalists and journalism students nationwide and internationally. She currently serves as an associate professor of the practice in Boston University’s Journalism department.
Nominations for the 2023 LGBTQ Journalists Hall of Fame class will open in the spring.
About NLGJA: The Association of LGBTQ Journalists:
NLGJA: The Association of LGBTQ Journalists is a journalist-led association working within the news media to advance fair and accurate coverage of LGBTQ communities and issues. We promote diverse and inclusive workplaces by holding the industry accountable and providing education, professional development and mentoring. For more information, visit www.nlgja.org.