National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association Announces 2006 Excellence in Journalism Award


The National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association (NLGJA) today announced the recipients of its Excellence in Journalism Awards, including its Journalist of the Year honor to be presented to Jason Bellini of CBS News on LOGO.

NLGJA’s 2006 Excellence in Journalism Awards and Hall of Fame Ceremony will be held on Wednesday evening, Nov. 8 at Chicago’s Palmer House Hilton. In addition to a presentation of all national Excellence in Journalism Awards, NLGJA’s hosting Chicago chapter will honor longtime member Tracy Baim of the Windy City Media Group with its Outstanding Chicago Journalist Award.

"As coverage increases on LGBT issues, we’re also seeing more sophistication in reporting," said NLGJA President Eric Hegedus. "It’s so rewarding that we’re able not only to acknowledge the best work offered by the industry, but also that NLGJA’s efforts as a viable newsroom resource are making such a positive impact and are a part of the process."

NLGJA’s Excellence in Journalism Awards were established in 1993 to foster, recognize and reward excellence in journalism on issues related to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. In addition to Journalist of the Year, awards will be presented for HIV/AIDS coverage, written news, written feature, written opinion/editorial, radio, television, photojournalism, new media, LGBT media and student journalism.

The NLGJA Journalist of the Year Award recognizes the outstanding professional achievements of an LGBT journalist who is a member of NLGJA. CBS News on LOGO’s Jason Bellini will accept this award of distinction on Nov. 8 in Chicago. Jason Bellini is a correspondent for CBS News on LOGO, and is the first anchor for MTV’s new channel for the LGBT community. Before joining CBS News on LOGO, Bellini served four years as a CNN news correspondent where he covered the world’s conflict regions, doing three rotations in Iraq. During 2003’s Operation Iraqi Freedom, Bellini reported as one of CNN’s embedded journalists. He spent months in New York covering the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and, as the crisis evolved into an international war on terrorism, also covered the story from Afghanistan.

"It is notable that Jason is being recognized for his work," said NLGJA President Eric Hegedus. "The stories he relates are, of course, topical and enterprising. But they come to fruition in a unique manner: He’s really a ‘mainstream’ media journalist whose work appears on a LGBT media outlet. Jason tackles some singular challenges along the way — and excels in the process."

NLGJA’s Excellence in Journalism Awards include $500 first place prizes in eleven separate categories, as well as a $1,000 first place prize presented to the winner of the Sarah Pettit Memorial Award for Excellence in LGBT Media, a category dedicated to LGBT Media. All second and third runners-up receive award certificates.

NLGJA’s Excellence in Journalism Awards are selected by 40 distinguished journalists from across the country who volunteer their time to serve as judges. The Journalist of the Year was selected by faculty members at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School of Journalism.

Corporate sponsors for the 2006 event are the Palmer House Hilton & the Hilton Family, Hearst Newspapers, JetBlue Airways, the Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago’s WFLD-TV, the Chicago Tribune and the Tribune Company.


2006 NLGJA Excellence in Journalism Awards Winners:


NLGJA Journalist of the Year Award

— Presented to Jason Bellini, CBS News of LOGO

Sarah Pettit Memorial Award for Excellence in LGBT Media

— First Place Presented to Malinda Lo,

— Second Place Presented to Todd Henneman, The Advocate

— Third Place Presented to Karen Ocamb, IN Los Angeles Magazine

NLGJA Excellence in News Writing Award, sponsored by Hearst Newspapers

— First Place Presented to "From Pain, Family," Tina Brown and Elizabeth Hamilton, The Hartford Courant

— Second Place Presented to "Gay Tide," David Crary, The Associated Press

— Third Place Presented to "PlanetOut Bids Big for $610 Billion Gay Market," James A. Lopata, In Newsweekly

NLGJA Excellence in Feature Writing, sponsored by Hearst Newspapers

— First Place Presented to "Out Here: Gay Voices in Hampton Roads," David Nicholson, Mike Holtzclaw, and Alison Freehling, Daily Press, Newport News, VA

— Second Place Presented to "See Dick Be Jane," Julia Reischel, New Times Broward/Palm Beach

— Third Place Presented Posthumously to Joe Dignan, The San Francisco Bay Guardian for "Cross Purposes"

NLGJA Excellence in Writing Award Opinion/Editorial

— First Place Presented to "The Married State" series, Alfred P. Doblin, Herald News

— Second Place Presented to Jon Carroll for his column in the San Francisco Chronicle

— Third Place Presented to "I’m Not Willing to Settle for Crumbs," Kim Severson, Newsweek

NLGJA/Seigenthaler Excellence in Radio

— First Place Presented to "Gay Pride Banned in Tampa," Andrew Stelzer, Free Speech Radio News

— Second Place Presented to "Two Moms Ruled Legal by State Supreme Court," Eric Jansen and Marilyn Pittman, Out in the Bay/KALW 91.7 FM, San Francisco

— Third Place Presented to "Native Gay Pride," Patty Talahongva, Camille Lacapa and Tara Gatewood, Native America Calling

NLGJA/Seigenthaler Excellence in Network Television

— First Place Presented to "Gay or Straight?," Lesley Stahl, Shari Finkelstein, Sianne Garlick and Matt Lev, CBS News’ 60 Minutes

— Second Place Presented to "I’m Still Emily," Amber Hall, In the Life Media, Inc.

NLGJA/Seigenthaler Excellence in Local Television

— First Place Presented to "Dads," Jessica Abo, WCAX-TV, Burlington, Vt.

NLGJA/RTNDA Excellence in Online Journalism Award

— First Place Presented to "How AIDS Changed America,"

— Second Place Presented to "Gender Outlaws," Emily Alpert,

— Third Place Presented to "Arrested Justice: When LGBT People Land in Jail," Patrick Letellier, and

NLGJA Excellence in Photojournalism Award

— First Place Presented to "An Anniversary," Lacy Atkins, San Francisco Chronicle

— Second Place Presented to "Illusions of a Glittered Life," Kim Badawi, SHIFT

— Third Place Presented to "Center’s Senior Prom," Gil Kaan, Frontiers Magazine

NLGJA Excellence in HIV/AIDS Coverage Award

— First Place Presented to "AIDS at 25," David Jefferson, Geoff Cowley, Claudia Kalb, Andrew Murr, and Ellis Cose, Newsweek

— Second Place Presented to "Over 50 with HIV," Jim Rodriguez, Rocco Zappa, and Scott Dill, QTN World News with Steve Kmetko

— Third Place Presented to "CBS News on LOGO: AIDS," Brett Alexander, Jason Bellini and Court Passant, CBS News on LOGO

NLGJA Excellence in Student Journalism Award, sponsored by Jim Duggins, Ph.D.

— First Place Presented to "Left Out," James Kirchick, Yale Daily News Magazine

— Second Place Presented to "Hollywood: Straight and Narrow?," Jason Blalock, UC Berkeley Television (University of California, Berkeley)

— Third Place Presented to "Resist Urge, Gays Told: Jesus as ‘Motivating Factor’," Bradley Wooten, UWM Post (University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee)


Tickets for the Nov. 8 Excellence in Journalism Awards and Hall of Fame Ceremony to be held at Chicago’s Palmer House Hilton are available for $50 for NLGJA members and $75 for non-members, and may be purchased online at The evening will begin with a cocktail reception at 6:30 p.m. CDT, followed by dinner and awards presentations beginning at 7:30 p.m. CDT.