The 2011 event is set for Aug. 25-28 at the Loews Hotel, where media professionals from around the country will discuss current trends in the industry.
Michael Tune, NLGJA executive director, said the agency was drawn to Philadelphia for a number of reasons, including its prime location — and the fact that more than half of all NLGJA members live within a two-hour drive of the city.
Tune said the agency was looking for a locale that offered a myriad tourist sites — as participants often use the convention as a mini vacation as well as a professional opportunity — and Philadelphia “definitely fit that bill.”
He said the city’s support of the conference was also key to its selection.
“Putting on a convention like this really does take a village, and the Philadelphia Gay Tourism Caucus, the [Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation] and our host hotel all let us know from the very beginning that they were willing to spend the time and effort in making the convention an enjoyable experience for our attendees,” Tune said, noting that the local NLGJA chapter has also been influential. “The on-the-ground support from the local chapter is key, and the chapter in Philadelphia is doing a great job. They’re setting a great example of what a small group of volunteers from all types of media and communications fields can do to emphasize fair and accurate coverage of LGBT communities.”
A contingent from the local chapter headed to California last week for the convention, including PGN publisher Mark Segal and editor Sarah Blazucki, and NLGJA members Gary Bramnick, Kevin Barry, Jeff McMillan, Jeff Guaracino and Bruce Yelk.
PGN was presented with two awards during the convention: Excellence in News Writing for Jen Colletta and Excellence in Photography for Scott A. Drake.
While the conference boasted a 40-percent increase in attendance from last year, Tune said some members chose not to attend because of an ongoing labor dispute with the hotel’s union. While the hotel workers were not on strike, they did ask the NLGJA to move the conference to another hotel because of the ongoing labor dispute, but doing so would have incurred a $150,000 penalty for violating the contract with the hotel.
Hotel workers picketed outside the facility on the morning of Sept. 2, the first day of the convention.
For more information about NLGJA, visit www.nlgja.org.
Jen Colletta can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.