We are thrilled to be bringing you two days of illuminating and inclusive programming, featuring journalists and media professionals from newsrooms across the country. The sessions will cover everything from practical, skills-based training on networking and fine-tuning your resume, to broader discussions on navigating your identity in the workplace and improving your coverage of LGBTQ communities and identities. Attendees will be sure to come away feeling better prepared for the jump into the job market.

Here’s what we have in store:

The schedule is subject to change. All times are Eastern Time.

Countdown to the 2021 Student Conference








Schedule and Speakers List


Friday, June 25



Welcome & Introduction with NLGJA: The Association of LGBTQ Journalists Board President Sharif Durhams

Start your conference experience off on the right foot with this introduction to NLGJA: The Association of LGBTQ Journalists, our Inaugural Student Conference and the Pathable platform.


1:00 pm – 1:30 pm ET  


Lightning Round Skills Sessions

Learn a series of essential career skills during these four twenty minute sessions, full of practical advice and tips.


1:30 pm – 3:00 pm ET  


Lightning Round: Networking Bootcamp with Benét Wilson (The Points Guy, Senior Editor)

Networking can be intimidating – but it doesn’t have to be! Learn how to make the most of networking opportunities in this speed session.


1:30 pm – 1:50 pm ET  


Lightning Round: Putting Your Best Self Forward in Print and Person with Ramon Escobar (CNN, Talent Recruitment & Development Senior Vice President)

Gear up for the Internship & Job Fair and learn how to make the best first impression with recruiters and industry leaders.


1:55 pm – 2:15 pm ET  


Lightning Round: Starting Your Own Media Venture with Karen Hawkins (Chicago Reader, Co-Publisher and Co-Editor in Chief)

Always dreamed of launching your own media venture? Get practical advice on starting a resilient outlet from the ground up.


2:20 pm – 2:40 pm ET  


Lightning Round: Being a Sensitive Interviewer with Femi Redwood (CBS News and 1010 WINS Radio, Correspondent) and Julie Compton (Freelance Journalist)

Get tips on navigating interviews respectfully.


2:40 pm – 3:00 pm ET  


Internship & Job Fair

Searching for the next step in your career? Introduce yourself to recruiters from top newsrooms, universities and journalism organizations and learn about their available internships and career opportunities.


3:00 pm – 5:00 pm ET  


In Conversation with Michelle Garcia (NBC BLK, Editor)

Journalist veteran and NLGJA: The Association of LGBTQ Award winner Michelle Garcia will share her story and answer questions in a conversation with a student interviewer.


5:00 pm – 6:00 pm ET  


Open Networking Rooms

Build your community and connect with fellow students and early-career journalists in a series of networking breakout rooms.


6:00 pm – 7:00 pm ET  

Saturday, June 26



Afternoon Meetup

Kick off the day in one of our networking rooms, including:
– BIPOC Meet-Up
– Women’s+ Meet-Up
– Trans, Nonbinary & Gender Nonconforming Meet-Up
– Open Networking Meet-Up


Noon – 1:00 pm ET  


Building a Better Newsroom: Using Your Knowledge to Improve LGBTQ Coverage – A Panel Discussion with Tamica Jean-Charles (The Progress-Index, Social Justice Watchdog Reporter), Orion Rummler (Axios, Newsdesk Reporter), and Trey Strange (Vice News, Writer)

The panelists will discuss how to improve your own coverage of LGBTQ communities and issues, while also navigating difficult conversations with fellow journalists and editors when coverage veers into problematic territory.


1:00 pm – 2:00 pm ET  


Finding Your Niche with Katie Barnes (ESPN, Digital Features Writer) and Tripp Crouse (Koahnic Broadcast Corporation & KNBA, News Director)

In this session, Barnes and Crouse will share their own experiences in carving out spaces for themselves in their newsrooms and telling the stories that matter to them, while offering advice for how students can find their own niche.


2:00 pm – 3:00 pm ET  


The Living Legacy of LGBTQ Journalism with 2014 LGBTQ Journalists Hall of Fame Inductee Tracy Baim (Chicago Reader, Co-Publisher)

Learn about the rich history and legacy of LGBTQ journalism from LGBTQ Journalists Hall of Famer Tracy Baim, a pioneer and veteran in the field.


3:00 pm – 4:00 pm ET  


In Conversation with Ari Shapiro (NPR, “All Things Considered” Co-host)

Close out the conference with a Q&A session featuring NPR favorite Ari Shapiro. Submit your own question for him here!


4:00 pm – 5:00 pm ET  
Open Networking Rooms

Connect with your peers in custom breakout rooms separated by speciality (broadcast, print, radio, etc.)


5:00 pm – 6:00 pm ET  

The schedule is subject to change. All times are Eastern Time.


More on the Speakers

Tracy Baim, Chicago Reader, Co-Publisher | she/her/hers

Tracy Baim is co-publisher of the Chicago Reader newspaper. She is co-founder and former publisher of Windy City Times. Baim received the 2013 Chicago Headline Club Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2014, she was inducted into the NLGJA: The Association of LGBTQ Journalists Hall of Fame. She was inducted into the Association for Women Journalists-Chicago Chapter Hall of Fame in 2018. She is also in the Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame. Robert Feder named her to his Top 20 women in Chicago journalism list. She has won numerous LGBTQ community and journalism honors, including the Community Media Workshop’s Studs Terkel Award in 2005. Baim has written and/or edited 12 books. Her most recent books are Kuda: Gay & Proud and Barbara Gittings: Gay Pioneer. Her other books include Gay Press, Gay Power: The Growth of LGBT Community Newspapers in America; Obama and the Gays: A Political Marriage; and Out and Proud in Chicago. Baim was executive producer of the lesbian film Hannah Free, starring Sharon Gless, and Scrooge & Marley. She directed and produced e. nina jay’s Body of Rooms film. She is creator of That’s So Gay!, an LGBT trivia game. Baim is the founder of the Pride Action Tank and the Illinois LGBT Chamber of Commerce. She was also co-vice chair of Gay Games VII in Chicago, and in 2013 was founder of the March on Springfield for Marriage Equality. She received the American Institute of Architects-Chicago Presidential Citation Award in 2016 for her work on tiny homes for the homeless. Additional awards include those from the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, the LGBT Chamber of Commerce of Illinois, and Unity Parenting.


Katie Barnes, ESPN, Digital Features Writer | they/them/theirs

Katie Barnes (they/them/their) is feature writer, covering culture, LGBTQ issues, women’s basketball, collegiate softball and women’s combat sports. Since joining ESPN in August 2015, Katie has written about transgender athletes, racial justice, and Hollywood stunt doubles, among other topics. Their ongoing coverage of transgender athletes in high school has earned them two GLAAD award nominations, and they are hard at work on a book. They were also an executive producer on the 30 for 30 short Mack Wrestles.

Katie holds a B.A. in History, Russian Studies, and American Studies from St. Olaf College, and an M.S. in Student Affairs and Higher Education from Miami University (OH). They were the 2017 NLGJA Journalist of the year.


Julie Compton, Freelance Journalist | she/her/hers

Julie Compton is a GLAAD-nominated journalist . She is a regular feature writer for NBC News and Today. Julie has covered a number of issues affecting the LGBTQ+ community with sensitivity, including intersex rights, housing discrimination, health and reproductive justice, and the misogynoir that Black trans women frequently experience. Her work has appeared in NBC Out, Business Insider, The Advocate, Out Magazine, and Them.


Tripp Crouse, Koahnic Broadcast Corporation & KNBA, News Director | they/them/theirs

Originally from the Midwest, Tripp Crouse (Ojibwe) has 15-plus years in print, web and radio journalism. Tripp first moved to Alaska in 2016 to work with KTOO Public Media in Juneau. And later moved to Anchorage in 2018 to work with KNBA and Koahnic Broadcast Corporation.

As KNBA’s News Director, Tripp covers Alaska Native and indigenous issues and policies. Tripp is former chair and member of the Station Advisory Committee for Native Public Media. A member of Native American Journalist Association, Alaska Native Media Group and Alaska Press Club, Tripp is an award-winning journalist with the goal of increasing the visibility and representation of Indigenous people in media.


Sharif Durhams, NLGJA: The Association of LGBTQ Journalists National, Board President / The News & Observer and the Herald-Sun, Managing Editor | he/him/his

Durhams has served as the president of NLGJA: The Association of LGBTQ Journalists since 2018 and was recently reelected to serve until 2022. In December of 2020, he joined the newsroom of the News & Observer and the Herald Sun in Raleigh, NC as the managing editor. The move represented a return to Durhams’ roots – at the age of 11, he moved with his family to Raleigh, his mother’s hometown, and went on to study journalism at UNC. There, he served as the first African-American editor-in-chief of the Daily Tar Heel, the school’s student-run newspaper. Prior to joining the News & Observer and the Herald Sun, Durhams worked at the Washington Post, CNN, the Poynter Institute and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. In 2018, Durhams worked with The Daily Tar Heel’s general manager, Erica Beshears Perel, to create the Sharif Durhams Leadership Program, a talent and development course for students at the paper from underrepresented groups.


Ramon Escobar, CNN Worldwide, Talent Recruitment & Development Senior Vice President | he/him/his

Ramon Escobar is senior vice president of talent recruitment and development for CNN Worldwide. He is responsible for the recruitment of all on and off-air talent for CNN U.S., CNN International, CNN en Español and HLN. He also advances the internal development of all anchors, correspondents, contributor and producers. Escobar is based out of New York City and has held his position of vice president of talent recruitment and development since 2012. He also served as the vice president of diversity and inclusion for CNN Worldwide from January 2017 to June 2019, and continues to play a vital role in diversity and inclusion efforts for WarnerMedia News and Sports, the parent company of CNN.

He came to CNN after several years spent at Telemundo, most recently as executive vice president of network news, overseeing the entire news division including all international news bureaus and the development of on-air talent. While at Telemundo his other roles included senior executive vice president of entertainment and senior vice president of news and creative services.

Escobar spent two years as an executive at Sucherman Consulting Group in New York where he acted as vice president and worked with clients including ABC News, Discovery Networks, BBC America and Telemundo.

Previously, Escobar served in a management position as vice president at MSNBC in charge of all live news programming. He was also Vice President & News Director of NBC’s owned and operated station in Miami, WTVJ and got his start in television as a producer at Univision’s owned and operated station in New York, WXTV.

In addition to his executive work, Escobar has served as a mentor, teaching several classes as a visiting faculty member at the Poynter Institute for Media Studies. He is also a lifetime member of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.

Escobar earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Missouri School of Journalism and is a graduate of the Institute of Political Journalism at Georgetown University.


Michelle Garcia, NBC BLK, Editor | she/her/hers

Michelle Garcia is the editor of NBC BLK, a vertical for NBC News focused on Black America. Previously, Michelle was an editor at Vice, Out, Vox, Mic, and The Advocate. Over the last decade Michelle has covered major social movements across the U.S. including the fight for marriage equality, the end of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” #MeToo, and Black Lives Matter movement, to name a few. She was named to Folio’s list of 20 in their 20s, won a GLAAD Media Award with her staff about the advancement of the HIV treatment drug Truvada, was honored by NLGJA: The Association of LGBTQ Journalists for multimedia reporting, taught at CUNY Graduate School Journalism, and has coached several writers along the way.


Karen Hawkins, Chicago Reader, Co-Publisher and Co-Editor in Chief | she/her/hers

Karen Hawkins is co-publisher and co-editor in chief of the Chicago Reader, and founder of Rebellious Magazine for Women and the Feminist Media Foundation. She is an award-winning reporter and editor whose journalism background includes positions at The Associated Press, the Windy City Times, and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. She is also a longtime mentor and national board member for NLGJA: The Association of LGBTQ Journalists. She is a frequent and enthusiastic speaker about newsroom diversity, LGBTQ+ issues, and feminism.


Tamica Jean-Charles, The Progress-Index, Social Justice Watchdog Reporter | she/her/hers

Hailing from South Florida, Tamica Jean-Charles is a Haitian-American reporter currently based in Petersburg, VA. She covers everything social justice for the Progress-Index, and was previously a general assignment intern at the Richmond Times-Dispatch. She has a passion for covering local government, housing, education, and equity issues. When she’s not working, and before the hellscape that we call the coronavirus pandemic started, she loved to go to concerts and festivals (24 and counting) and go out with friends. These days, you can find her binge watching reality TV shows or attempting to read a book. Tamica was a participant in the 2018 CONNECT Student Journalism Training Project.


Femi Redwood, CBS News and 1010 WINS Radio, Correspondent | she/her/hers

Femi Redwood is an Emmy-nominated correspondent who splits her time between CBS News and 1010WINS Radio. From her previous work at VICE News covering intersectional issues, to her time as an investigative reporter and anchor in Flint, Michigan, Femi’s mission has always been the same: to help struggling communities through powerful storytelling. She is a board member of NLGJA: The Association of LGBTQ Journalists and co-chair of the National Association of Black Journalists’ LGBTQ Task Force.


Orion Rummler, Axios, Newsdesk Reporter | he/him/his

Orion covers breaking news for Axios. He has researched high-profile “Axios on HBO” stories on former President Trump and the Republican Party, and anchored coverage of ongoing breaking news events including the Capitol siege. His work was cited in the second House Judiciary Committee impeachment report. He previously participated in the 2018 New York Times Student Newspaper Editor’s Workshop and the 2020 IRE/NICAR Mentorship Program. Orion was a participant in the 2018 CONNECT Student Journalism Training Project.


Ari Shapiro, NPR, “All Things Considered” Co-host | he/him/his

Ari Shapiro has been one of the hosts of All Things Considered, NPR’s award-winning afternoon newsmagazine, since 2015. During his first two years on the program, listenership to All Things Considered grew at an unprecedented rate, with more people tuning in during a typical quarter-hour than any other program on the radio.

Shapiro has reported from above the Arctic Circle and aboard Air Force One. He has covered wars in Iraq, Ukraine, and Israel, and he has filed stories from dozens of countries and most of the 50 states.

Shapiro spent two years as NPR’s International Correspondent based in London, traveling the world to cover a wide range of topics for NPR’s news programs. His overseas move came after four years as NPR’s White House Correspondent during President Barack Obama’s first and second terms. Shapiro also embedded with the campaign of Republican Mitt Romney for the duration of the 2012 presidential race. He was NPR’s Justice Correspondent for five years during the George W. Bush Administration, covering debates over surveillance, detention and interrogation in the years after Sept. 11.

Shapiro’s reporting has been consistently recognized by his peers. He was part of an NPR team that won a national Edward R. Murrow award for coverage of the Trump Administration’s asylum policies on the US-Mexico border. The Columbia Journalism Review honored him with a laurel for his investigation into disability benefits for injured American veterans. The American Bar Association awarded him the Silver Gavel for exposing the failures of Louisiana’s detention system after Hurricane Katrina. He was the first recipient of the American Judges’ Association American Gavel Award for his work on U.S. courts and the American justice system. And at age 25, Shapiro won the Daniel Schorr Journalism Prize for an investigation of methamphetamine use and HIV transmission.

An occasional singer, Shapiro makes frequent guest appearances with the “little orchestra” Pink Martini, whose recent albums feature several of his contributions, in multiple languages. Since his debut at the Hollywood Bowl in 2009, Shapiro has performed live at many of the world’s most storied venues, including Carnegie Hall in New York, The Royal Albert Hall in London and L’Olympia in Paris. In 2019 he created the show “Och and Oy” with Tony Award winner Alan Cumming, and they continue to tour the country with it.

Shapiro was born in Fargo, North Dakota, and grew up in Portland, Oregon. He is a magna cum laude graduate of Yale. He began his journalism career as an intern for NPR Legal Affairs Correspondent Nina Totenberg, who has also occasionally been known to sing in public.


Trey Strange, Vice News, Writer | he/him/his/they/them/theirs

Trey Strange is a writer and reporter from Fort Worth, Texas. He writes about queer legacies, music, being poor, and whatever else that comes up. He’s a show writer, and sometimes producer, on the relaunch of the nightly newscast VICE News Tonight. He lives in Bed Stuy, Brooklyn, with his cat. Trey was a participant in the 2018 CONNECT Student Journalism Training Project.


Benét Wilson, The Points Guy, Senior Editor | she/her/hers

Benét J. Wilson is the Senior Credit Cards Editor and a travel/aviation writer for The Points Guy. She has worked for myriad aviation trade publications and managed communications for two airlines, an aircraft engine manufacturer and two aviation nonprofit organizations. Wilson serves on the board of Mercer University’s Center for Collaborative Journalism and is the immediate past VP-Digital of the National Association of Black Journalists. She is a strong advocate for media diversity, mentoring and career navigation. She has moderated workshops and webinars on topics including digital journalism, branding and social media. She graduated from American University in Washington, D.C., with a B.A. in broadcast journalism. She resides in Baltimore, Md.