Hurricane dampens gay journos’ convention
Attendance at the annual gay journalists convention increased again this year in Philadelphia, despite a soaking from Hurricane Irene.
Officials with the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association say more than 350 people registered for the convention at the Loews Hotel in Philly’s gay-friendly Center City area. As the country—and especially the news business—climbs out of the recession, attendance is up from last year’s convention in San Francisco, and way up from the fewer-than-two hundred who came to Montreal two years ago.
But with Hurricane Irene roaring northward, not everyone who registered actually came to the convention, or stayed the whole four days. But NLGJA President David Steinberg of the San Francisco Chronicle says those who were here had a unique experience.
Steinberg: “As frustrating as it can be to have a hurricane bearing down on you, I think it sort of fostered a certain sense of camaraderie and kinship. By the end of the night tonight, which is the last night, there are fewer people, but we’re sort of bonding together, and it actually has a nice sort of social impact on the convention.”
Highlights of the gay journalists’ convention this year included live on-stage interviews with the Today Show’s Ann Curry, and newly-out CNN anchor Don Lemon.
The location of next year’s convention is up in the air, with NLGJA considering a controversial invitation to join the minority journalist umbrella group “Unity.” At one time, the gay group had lobbied hard to be admitted to Unity; now, some NLGJA members feel the financial and other disadvantages outweigh the benefits of joining.
Several OutQ staff members are members of NLGJA.