2012 NLGJA Excellence in Journalism Awards Announced

Washington, D.C.– Today the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association (NLGJA) announces the recipients of its Excellence in Journalism Awards.

The recipient of this year’s Journalist of the Year is Steven W. Thrasher of the Village Voice, New York Times, and Out. The recipient of this year’s Sarah Pettit Memorial Award for Excellence in LGBT Media goes to Chris Geidner, formerly of MetroWeekly.

NLGJA’s Excellence in Journalism Awards were established in 1993 to foster, recognize and reward excellence in journalism on issues related to the LGBT community. In addition to Journalist of the Year and the Sarah Pettit Memorial Award for Excellence in LGBT Media, awards will be presented for excellence in news writing, feature writing, opinion writing, local television, network television, radio, online, HIV/AIDS and student journalism.

The 2012 Journalist of the Year is Steven W. Thrasher, a staff writer for the Village Voice and writer for the New York Times and Out. Whether it is about multigenerational gay families, a homeless shelter for LGBT youth, or a controversial political dynasty involved in New York’s same-sex marriage battles, Thrasher’s work succeeds at being interesting and unexpected. A keen interviewer and beautiful writer, his willingness to move beyond the usual in covering LGBT lives hit its peak this year.

This year’s Sarah Pettit LGBT Journalist of the Year Award goes to Chris Geidner, former political editor at Metro Weekly, starting July 16 as senior political reporter at BuzzFeed.  Geidner was the go-to voice for important news stories in Washington, D.C., covering the White House, Supreme Court, and Justice Department.  His sober and intelligent writing thoroughly explains some of the most important political stories of the year, quickly becoming one of the attributed LGBT journalists online and in the mainstream press.

“It was another outstanding year for quality journalism reporting on LGBT issues and lives.  The 30th Anniversary of the beginning of the AIDS crisis brought outstanding work from KQED and CNN, while Cary Aspirnwall’s story of a transgender teen in the Tulsa World shined a light on transgender lives in an unusual place. Judges were especially impressed with the work of Jim Burroway of Box Turtle Bulletin, who took citizen journalism to a new level with his coverage of Geoege Reker’s experiment in uncovering what makes little boys gay and its impact on one particular man,” says David Steinberg , NLGJA’s National Board President. “NLGJA’s excellence in journalism awards recognize a variety of media and journalists who exemplify NLGJA’s commitment to fair and accurate coverage of LGBT issues.”


NLGJA Journalist of the Year

Winner: Steven W. Thrasher – Village Voice, New York Times, Out


Sarah Petit LGBT Journalist of the Year

Winner: Chris Geidner – MetroWeekly

Runner-Up: Jen Colletta – Philadelphia Gay News

Excellence in News Writing:

First Place: Chris Geidner, MetroWeekly, DOJ Stops Defending DOMA

Second Place: Brett Zongker, Associated Press, Coverage of the National Portrait Gallery’s first show on history of LGBT art

Third Place: Jen Colletta, Philadelphia Gay News , Coverage of the Stacey Blahnik murder


Excellence in Feature Writing:

First Place: Cary Aspinwall, Tulsa World, “Becoming Kate”

Second Place: June Thomas, Slate, “The Gay Bar”

Third Place: Karina Bland, Arizona Republic, “2 Gay Dads, 12 Happy Kids”


Excellence in Student Journalism

First Place: Simon Husted, Fusion (Kent State), “Jake Nash: Speaking For The Transgender Community”


Excellence in HIV/AIDS Coverage

First Place: CNN, “30 Years of AIDS: Profiles” Writer/Producers: Elizabeth Landau and Madison Park,

Second Place:  CNN, Sanjay Gupta MD: AIDS Turns 30

Correspondent: Dr. Sanjay Gupta

Senior Executive Producer: Roni Selig

Executive Producer- Jennifer Pifer Bixler

Third Place: Regan Hoffman, Poz, “R.I.P. HIV”


Excellence in Opinion Writing

First Place: Aaron Stella, Philadelphia Gay News

Second Place: Sean Bugg, MetroWeekly


Excellence in Radio

First Place: California Report for KQED, “AIDS at 30”

Host/Reporter: Scott Shafer

Second Place:  SiriusXM OutQ News, “Live Coverage: Gay Marriage in New York”

Anchor/Producer: Xorje Olivares;;

Third Place: State of the Re:Union, “Laramie After Matthew Shepard”

Host and Executive Producer: Al Letson

Producer: Laura Starecheski

Senior Content Editor: Taki Telonidis

Executive Director: Ian DeSousa


Excellence in Online Journalism

First Place: Jim Burroway, Box Turtle Bulletin, “What Are Little Boys Made of”

Second Place: Michael Luongo, The Advocate, “Unlikely Activist”

Third Place: Adam Polaski, Bilerico Project, Lez Get Real/Paula Brooks Scandal


Excellence in Network Television

First Place: CNN, “Anderson Cooper 360: Sissy Boy Experiments”  Correspondents: Anderson Cooper, Randi Kaye,

Executive Producer for AC360: Charlie Moore

Executive Producer: Bud Bultman

Producers: Jessi Joseph and Scott Bronstein

Editor: April Hock, Blake Luce

Second Place: CNN International, “World’s Untold Stories: Corrective Rape”

Executive Producers: Mike McCarthy, Sheri England

Producer: Brent Swails

Correspondent: Nkepile Mabuse

Editor: Earl Nurse

Third Place: CNN, “Anderson Cooper 360: Bullying It Stops Here”

Correspondent: Soledad O’Brien

Anchor: Anderson Cooper

Executive Producer: Charlie Moore

Senior Broadcast Producer: Kara Kasarjian

Senior Editorial Producer: Kerry Rubin

Producer: Chuck Hadad

Associate Producer: Elise Miller

Writer: Marshall Arbitman, Maureen Miller

Editors: Nathaniel Little, Carl Graf


Excellence in Local TV

First Place: WDAF-TV (Fox-Kansas City), “Meet My Moms”

Reporter/Anchor: Abby Eden

Photojournalist: Sarah Thacker

Awards will be presented at the UNITY 2012 Convention NLGJA Awards Reception, August 3, 2012 in Las Vegas.  For more information on the convention, visit



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