Gay journos head to Philly

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LGBT journalists from around the country will be in the City of Brotherly Love this summer to discuss trends in media.

Philadelphia was selected to host the 21st annual convention of the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association, held from Aug. 25-28.

The conference is expected to draw some 400 professionals from all corners of the nation working in all areas of media.

This year the convention will launch a bloggers’ track for Internet-based writers, in addition to tracks for those who work in print, wire, broadcast and public relations.

“In the past, some of the conferences have focused only on traditional journalists and LGBT media,” said convention co-chair Kevin Barry. “But this time around we’re also targeting demographics like public-relations professionals and trying to come at the issues from many different perspectives.”

The event, which will be held at the Loews Philadelphia Hotel, will feature about 25 panel discussions, as well as keynote speakers, receptions, a women’s networking dinner, a networking brunch and an LGBT media summit.

Among the confirmed speakers are CNN’s out journalists Jane Velez-Mitchell and Don Lemon; Louis Wiley, former executive editor of “Frontline” on PBS; and Daniel Baer, deputy assistant secretary of the U.S. Department of State.

“We’re really excited to be hosting the convention this year,” said convention co-chair and PGN editor Sarah Blazucki. “We’ve been working very hard on the programs, which will run the gamut from conversations on politics and international issues to technical hands-on trainings. We’re aiming to have sessions that will appeal to journalists working in different media, communications professionals and students. And some fun events thrown in, too.”

Panels will cover such topics as reporting on LGBT sports figures to a discussion on who represents the “voice” of the LGBT community in mainstream media.

Barry noted that the convention comes at an interesting point in NLGJA’s evolution.

Several years ago, the agency had to make deep cuts in its staff, and then brought on a new executive director — which mirrored changes in the media industry.

“What we’re seeing with this is that we’re bringing new blood into the organization, both at the national and local level,” Barry said. “This is a really exciting time for us, and it’s really starting to revitalize the Philadelphia chapter, which is amazing. We’re very excited to bring the conference to Philadelphia.”

For more information on the NLGJA Philadelphia chapter, visit www.nlgjaphiladelphia.blogspot.com. For convention information, visit www.nlgja.org.

Jen Colletta can be reached at [email protected].