NLGJA Announces 2012 Excellence in Journalism Awards, Hall of Fame Inductees

The organization will present awards at the UNITY 2012 Convention on August 3.

BY Camille Beredjick

July 11 2012 4:59 PM ET

The National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association this week announced the recipients of its Excellence in Journalism Awards, as well as naming two inductees into its LGBT Journalists Hall of Fame.

“It was another outstanding year for quality journalism reporting on LGBT issues and lives,” said David Steinberg, NLGJA's National Board President, in a press release. “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."

This year's Journalist of the Year is Steven W. Thrasher of the Village Voice, the New York Times, and Out. In the past year Thrasher has covered topics including marriage equality in New York, multigenerational LGBT families and homeless LGBT youth. NLGJA honored him as a "keen interviewer and beautiful writer" who exhibits a "willingness to move beyond the usual in covering LGBT lives."

NLGJA's Sarah Pettit Memorial Award for Excellence in LGBT Media goes to Chris Geidner, former senior political editor at Metro Weekly and current senior political reporter at Buzzfeed. Geidner has covered the White House, the Supreme Court and the Justice Department. His four-part piece about the history of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act won the GLAAD Media Award in the Outstanding Magazine Article category this past year.

Newly out CNN journalist Anderson Cooper and his team took first and third place in the category Excellence in Network Television for two Anderson Cooper 360 series respectively titled "The Sissy Boy Experiment" and "Bullying: It Stops Here." NLGJA also recognized winners in news writing, feature writing, student journalism, HIV/AIDS coverage, opinion writing, radio, online journalism and local TV. For the complete list of award winners courtesy of NLGJA, click here.

This week NLGJA also named Jill Johnston, one of the best known lesbian feminist writers, and Randy Wicker, an activist journalist with roots in the then-called homophile movement of the '50s, to the LGBT Journalists Hall of Fame.

Jill Johnston was born in London in 1929. She became the dance critic for the Village Voice in 1959 and wrote for the Voice until 1981 while also writing for Art News. She eventually wrote for The New York Times Book Review and Art in America, and her journalism was republished in five anthologies, the first being Marmalade Me, in 1971. Johnston is best known for her book, Lesbian Nation: The Feminist Solution, published in 1973. It advocated a lesbian separatist movement and was hailed by feminist scholar Kate Millett as "the most important book to come out of the women's movement." Johnston died in 2010.

Charles Gervin Hayden, Jr. was born in 1938 and legally changed his name to Randolfe Hayden Wicker in 1967. Wicker worked for the Mattachine Society's New York City chapter in the summer of 1958 and convinced the organization to publicize its events, making him the LGBT movement's first public relations practitioner. He went on to start the Homosexual League of New York and continued to lead gay rights demonstrations, eventually covering Gay Activists Alliance events for gay magazines, including The Advocate, and co-authoring The Gay Crusaders. Wicker has been active in Radical Faerie communities in Tennessee and New York since 2009.

Awards will be presented and inductees will be honored during an NLGJA awards reception at the UNITY 2012 Convention in Las Vegas on August 3.

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