Last week, I traveled to Atlanta for the Society of Professional Journalists Convention (SPJ). It was a great opportunity to meet and network with journalists from around the country and to bring their attention to the work we do here at GLAAD.
According to SPJ's website, the organization is "dedicated to the perpetuation of a free press as the cornerstone of our nation and our liberty." One of its basic tenets is to encourage diversity in journalism and to foster excellence by setting high standards.
While there are many other journalism organizations that focus on specific media, like print or broadcasting, and others like the National Lesbian Gay Journalists Association, the National Association of Black Journalists and the Associated Press Sports Editors that focus on specific communities, SPJ is all- encompassing. They boast a membership of about 9,000 professional journalists nationwide.
The annual SPJ convention gave me a chance to talk with many reporters about the Sports Media Program and about GLAAD in general. I was able to speak to them about fair, accurate and inclusive coverage of the LGBT community not only in sports coverage but in media coverage more generally.
In addition to distributing copies of our GLAAD Media Reference Guide, I offered our services to the media professionals I met there as a resource when they have questions on background or terminology. I was also able to speak with the Diversity Committee and discuss how SPJ could be more inclusive of both LGBT media coverage and LGBT journalists.
As the committee continues to reach out to the LGBT community, they know GLAAD will be there as a resource for them and their membership.