Posted by: outandequal | August 30, 2011

Media Perspectives

Justin Tanis

Justin Tanis, Director of Communications

by Justin Tanis | I’m just returning from the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association conference, a trip delayed by Hurricane Irene. LGBT journalists from around the country gathered in Philadelphia this past weekend for a fantastic event. As the Director of Communications for an LGBT organization, I was very interested in the panel discussion on “What is Gay News?” as leaders in LGBT media considered what should be covered in their papers. Should Elizabeth Taylor’s death by considered gay news? Rumors about politicians? Bath towels (since everyone uses towels!)? We also consider that question as we decide what to post on Out & Equal’s blog, Facebook page, and website. Obviously celebrity deaths, political rumors, and products are out … but we do think about what is most of interest to LGBT business leaders and employees. Our interests include things beyond our sexual orientation and gender identity but we also know that other business centered groups don’t cover those issues the way we can.

The conference also included very interesting Q&As with Ann Curry, co-anchor of NBC’s Today and Dateline shows,  and Don Lemon of CNN. Lemon recently came out in his book Transparent and talked openly about his coming out process and the responsibilities of being out. In an interview he said, “… you should live in truth and give a hand to people who are struggling and help pull them up rather than turning your back on them.” His presence was a strong reminder of just how important it is for professionals to see and hear from people who are out.

Ann Curry was wonderful, with a well articulated position as both a journalist and an ally. Both speakers were a reminder about the power of diversity in building a strong and accurate media organization.

And the geek in me loved all that I learned from the workshops about new technologies and social media sites, so look for some new and creative ideas from our communications team!

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