LGBT and ally journalists to convene in Philly

LGBT and ally journalists to convene in Philly

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More than 350 LGBT and ally journalists will convene in Philadelphia this weekend.

NLGJA: The Association of LGBTQ Journalists will host its annual National Convention at the Loews Philadelphia Hotel through Sept. 10.

NLGJA previously hosted the conference in the city in 2002 and 2011.

“We have had some really great success [in Philadelphia] before since it’s a major market itself, and since it’s so close to other major markets,” said NLGJA President Jen Christensen. “We love the spirit of the city. It has always been so welcoming to us in terms of the community, and in terms of us as an association as well. We’ve really been lucky to feel so welcome there so it’s always been very good for us.”

Several local journalists will participate in workshops, panel discussions and plenaries. Meteorologist Adam Joseph of 6ABC will participate in the convention’s opening reception Thursday along with three other meteorologists: NBC New York’s Steve Sosna, KARE 11’s Sven Sundgaard and ABC 7’s Drew Tuma. Sam Champion of “Good Morning America” will moderate the panel.

Christensen said she is pleased to hear someone from Philadelphia talk about his job.

“He’s a great guy on air and he seems very interesting, personally,” Christensen said of Joseph. “We have been following his career for a while. Maybe nationally everyone doesn’t know who he is, but they should know who he is.

“Every time you can have professionals talking about what it is they do, it’s such an interesting conversation,” she added. “It’s a little bit different than what you would get to hear in another setting.”

Another session Christensen noted was “A Breath of Fresh Air with Terry Gross and Ari Shapiro.” Shapiro, the host of NPR’s “All Things Considered,” will interview WHYY’s Gross about her career as host of “Fresh Air” during Saturday’s plenary.

“We are so excited about Terry Gross,” Christensen said. “We’ve had her there once before but during that time, she did a speech. This time, Ari Shapiro is going to interview her, so I’m excited to see how that works because usually you don’t get to hear the other side of the question. She has always been a real good supporter of the organization and Ari is a great interviewer. So, I think that’s going to be really interesting.”

A highlight of the convention each year is the Career & Community Expo, where professionals from broadcast, print and online journalism fields interview job-seekers. Christensen noted that longtime E! News reporter Marc Malkin, who won NLGJA’s 2017 Lisa Ben Award for Achievement in Features Coverage, got his start at one of the NLGJA conventions.

“[He] told us that he got his first newspaper job at an NLGJA conference, which we didn’t even know, so it was exciting when he accepted this award for his amazing work,” she said.

The convention will conclude Saturday evening with The Philadelphia Freedom: Find Your Oasis Party, where attendees can dance, bid on auction items and enjoy an awards presentation. NLGJA will present four awards, including the NLGJA Journalist of the Year, Sarah Pettit Memorial Award for LGBTQ Journalist of the Year and NLGJA LGBTQ Journalist Hall of Fame.

Overall, Christensen said this year’s convention is a “really strong program.”

“We have some great speakers and some really big names. People [who] need to go back to their newsrooms and say, ‘Here are the three things that I learned,’ they’re going to have more than three things.”

The NLGJA National Convention 2018 is set to take place in Palm Springs, Calif.

Visit to register for the remainder of the conference and to view a full schedule.

Out & About at the NLGJA Convention

The National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association’s National Convention is returning to Philadelphia, bringing together more than 350 journalists, news executives, educators and communications professionals, Sept. 7-10 at the Loews Philadelphia Hotel, 1200 Market St.

This year, NLGJA is welcoming podcasters to its Authors’ Café, at which attendees can hear from LGBT podcasters and authors sharing their latest insights and engage in intimate Q&A sessions 2:15 p.m. Sept. 8 at Loews Philadelphia Hotel’s Regency C.

If you find time to break away from the conference, take a stroll through the historic parts of the city, making sure you stop at the Arch Street Meeting House, 320 Arch St. In February 1979, the historic home of a 300-year-old Quaker Friends congregation hosted 300 LGBT activists to plan the Philadelphia Conference, the first national demonstration of lesbian and gay rights in Washington, D.C. That march would attract 100,000 demonstrators in October of that same year and defined a national civil-rights movement.

Another piece of Philadelphia history you might want to visit is Philly AIDS Thrift @ Giovanni’s Room, 345 S. 12th St., the longest-running LGBT bookstore in the country and the unofficial community and cultural center of LGBT Philadelphia. It almost closed for good in 2014 but was kept open with the help of new owner Philly AIDS Thrift, which donates proceeds to local HIV/AIDS causes. Browsing the shelves of the historic location is a good way to spend an afternoon and support a good cause.

If you are looking for a timely piece of theater to compliment the conference, Fringe Festival and DBAD Productions present “The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui” 7 p.m. Sept. 7 and 5 p.m. Sept. 10 at the Shambles, 200 Pine St. Bertolt Brecht wrote the play in 1933 after fleeing Germany in 1933. With American audiences in mind, the production is about a Hitler-like character rising to power in gangster-run Chicago, a vision that became all too real in November.

 — Larry Nichols

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