Gay Journos Launch Education Program

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By: E&P Staff

The National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association (NLGJA) is launching a journalism education program intended to prepare journalists to cover sexual orientation issues.

The Leroy F. Aarons Journalism Education Program is named after NLGJA founder “Roy” Aarons, a former Oakland Tribune executive editor who died last November.

“Roy Aarons always believed that NLGJA’s goal of fair and accurate coverage would be realized by training young journalists and students,” NLGJA Executive Editor Pamela Strother said. “The Aarons Program builds on his vision and will help prepare tomorrow’s journalist to cover complex issues of sexual orientation.”

Among the features of the education initiative is “The Educators’ Toolbox,” an online resource for faculty who want to include sexual orientation issues in curricula. The feature was designed under the direction of Dane Claussen of Point Park University in Pittsburgh and Barbara Raab of NBC News.

NLGJA will also award its first scholarship, a $5,000 Leroy F. Aarons Scholarship.

The Aarons program has a Web site portal at

NLGJA announced the initiative at the annual convention of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) in San Antonio.

NLGJA said the Aarons program “is consistent with and designed, in part, to help educators meet standards adopted by the ACEMJC that require colleges of journalism and mass communications to include sexual orientation in their curricula.” It said many of the resources had been developed with the help of AEJMC academic members.

Former NLGJA presidents Steven Petrow and Robert Dodge, a national correspondent in The Dallas Morning News’ Washington, D.C., bureau, will serve as co-founders of the program, the association said.

“For the 15 years that I knew Roy, he continually emphasized the importance of training the next generation of journalists, (lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender) GBT and otherwise, about sexual orientation issues,” Petrow said.

At the time of his death, Aarons was a faculty member at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication, who had developed a program called Sexual Orientation Issues in the News.

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