by Joe Siegel
LGBT journalists, bloggers, and other media professionals convened in Orlando, Fla., March 23-26, for the 8th annual #LGBTMedia Convening.
The event was sponsored by NLGJA – the Association of LGBTQ Journalists, and funded in part by the Arcus Foundation, which works “with experts and advocates for change to ensure that LGBT people and our fellow apes thrive in a world where social and environmental justice are a reality,” according to the organization’s website.
Also sponsoring the conference was the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund, a private family foundation based out of San Francisco that “promotes equal rights and opportunities with an emphasis on immigrants and gays and lesbians,” according to the foundation’s mission statement.
Adam Pawlus, NLGJA’s executive director, called the event a “great success.”
Just about a year ago the Orlando LGBT community was devastated by the Pulse nightclub attack. “The decision to hold the event in Orlando gave us the opportunity to discuss the tragic attack on the Latino and LGBTQ communities last year at the Pulse nightclub, and to visit the site of the attack,” Pawlus said. “We looked back on the coverage of this hate crime and had a unique opportunity to hear from a survivor. It was an emotional discussion, but an important one, regarding the intersectionality of our communities.”
“It would be impossible to be in Orlando and not focus on the Pulse tragedy — it’s still front and center in so many of our minds,” NLGJA President Jen Christensen told South Florida Gay News.
The gathering’s speakers included a survivor of the massacre and a panel of journalists who discussed their experiences in covering the massacre and what could be learned from that coverage.
“Based on last year’s feedback, and through the support of the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund and the Arcus Foundation, we were able to expand the convening to two days of trainings and discussions,” Pawlus noted. “The initial feedback from attendees was overwhelmingly positive, but we look forward to learning even more from our post-event survey.”
“Along with engaging presentations and learning new skills, it’s great to be with so many other LGBTQ newspaper editors and bloggers.” Christensen told SFGN. “Our field is under tremendous pressure, and talking with colleagues who face the same challenges on a daily basis is uniquely rewarding.”
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