“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 Outdated phrases such as “sexual preference” make journalists look clueless at best and insensitive at worst.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:
A Statement on Covering Last Night’s Shooting in Colorado Springs, CO
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 20, 2022 PRESS CONTACT: Clare Lefebure Press@nlgja.org WASHINGTON, D.C. (November 20, 2022) – Last night, Nov. 19, 2022, a gunman entered an LGBTQ+ club in Colorado Springs, CO, and opened fire, killing at least five people and...
New Ways: The Story Behind the Story – Investigative Strategies
Presented on March 5, New Ways - Atlanta - was designed for journalists to build their data/investigative skills, narrative storytelling abilities and knowledge of HIV and AIDS. Over the next few weeks, NLGJA will be sharing six sessions from the one-day training...
Open Letter: Covering Caitlyn Jenner
Many newsrooms have questions about how to cover people who are or may be transgender. NLGJA is here to help you ensure your coverage is not only fair, but accurate.
Open Letter: Oral Arguments and Same-Sex Marriage
The U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments April, 28 on whether a state may refuse to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples or to recognize same-sex marriages from other jurisdictions.
Open Letter: Covering Bruce Jenner
Here are a few tips, as well as some information from our stylebook on how to handle things such as pronouns and terminology.
Resources for Reporting on the Transgender Community
As a reporter or editor, you might find yourself in unfamiliar territory like Caleb Hannan did when he wrote “Dr. V’s Magical Putter,” the article from Grantland.com that prompted a wave of criticism over the weekend. In reporting about inconsistencies in claims about...
Tip Sheets on LGBTQ Coverage – Are You Gay?
Introduction When is it appropriate to ask a subject to disclose their sexual orientation for a story? Is it ever? In spring 2012, a New York judge ruled it wasn’t defamatory to call someone gay, even if they were heterosexual. As more LGBTQ people come out and more...
Why Journalists Coming Out (and Being Out) Still Matters
It's easy to be a little cynical about the news today that Anderson Cooper has confirmed, "the fact is, I'm gay." His endearing and interesting letter to Andrew Sullivan, who seems to have been out since the moment he burst onto the U.S. journalism scene, demonstrates...
Covering Nondiscrimination Laws and the LGBTQ Community
Introduction Federal laws do not prohibit discrimination based on a person’s sexual orientation in housing or employment. Without a federal law, a state or local law would therefore provide the only assurance or protection to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender...
Career Advice – Getting that next Job
Written by NLGJA Staff Think you’re doing enough to get that next job? You’re not. Read more on the NLGJA Members Only Site This piece originally appeared in 2011, in the official newsmagazine of NLGJA.
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...
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 NLGJA.
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....
Career Advice – Apply for the Job You Want
Written by Geoff Dankert One key to a successful job search may sound obvious, but it’s a trap a number of people fall into... Read more on the NLGJA Members Only Site This piece originally appeared in 2011, in the official newsmagazine of NLGJA.
Advice for Young Journalists Pounding the Pavement for a New Job
members_only.gifWritten by Sue Green With the local news industry in upheaval the past few years, you can only imagine how daunting it is for students graduating from journalism programs across the country to try and find a job. Read more on the NLGJA Members Only...