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Journalists Toolbox

“No journalist would cover a professional tennis match without getting an education in backhands, foot faults, player rankings and grand slams. But some reporters step into the world of LGBTQ people without taking the time to know what they’re reporting about.

Covering the LGBTQ community requires more research than a few viewings of ‘Will & Grace.’ Consider: Transsexuals aren’t the same as drag queens. Outdated phrases such as “sexual preference” make journalists look clueless at best and insensitive at worst. And ‘outing’ someone without permission remains a dicey proposition, even in these days of growing sexual freedom.

NLGJA believes mainstream journalists have an obligation to be fair, balanced and accurate. NLGJA is dedicated to education, not advocacy. We are journalists ourselves and don’t want our colleagues to slant what they write or put on the airwaves.

We don’t expect anyone to blindly follow all the suggestions we make here. We are not the media police, and some of our own members will certainly disagree with some of the viewpoints expressed here. Our goal is simple: to provide thought-provoking resources to our colleagues as they cover one of the most diverse communities in America.”  – By Randy Dotinga, NLGJA Lifetime Member

How to Use the Toolbox

NLGJA’s Journalists Toolbox is designed primarily to assist journalists who don’t normally cover the LGBTQ community. The advice here is drawn from outside media experts and our own members who are professional journalists for both mainstream media and the LGBTQ press. We also offer story ideas and new ways of thinking for reporters who are experienced in covering LGBTQ life.

The following articles are written in a news style, and as such, may include different views on how to cover the same topic:


When a College Adviser Gives Bad Advice

Written by Sue Green It was March when I got the call – a call that made me sit back in my seat and go, are you frigging kidding??? It was a call from Bach in the national office concerning a message he had received from a young woman in New York. Bach was asking if I...

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One Year In

Written by Mary Susman A freshman year of college towards a career in journalism. Read more on the NLGJA Members Only Site This piece originally appeared in 2011, in the official newsmagazine of...

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The Shared Experiment

Written by Doug Stewart I work in what might be termed an experiment. For the past year the broadcast station Fox Connecticut and The Hartford Courant newspaper have shared a newsroom, resources and content. Some people don’t like it, and some think it’s the future....

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