Lesbian and Gay Journalists open convention

The National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association opened its 21st annual convention Thursday in Philadelphia, bringing more than 350 members to the city.

The convention of the organization, which was founded in 1990, features more than 30 workshops and panel discussions and runs through Sunday at the Loews Hotel, 1200 Market Street, in Center City.

Convention officials said 350 members had registered by Thursday and that more were expected.

Keynote speakers will be Ann Curry, co-anchor of NBC's `Today' and Don Lemon, CNN's prime-time weekend anchor.

David Steinberg, the group's national president, hailed Philadelphia as a convention location.

“Philadelphia is a great city, in and of itself, but it's also a two-hour drive from so many of our members in New York and D.C. It's a great place to have our convention because its centrally located for a really large percentage of our members,” Steinberg said.

He said much of the convention is devoted to career development.

“The media are changing and evolving, and we are changing and evolving with it and trying to make sure that what we deliver to people, both our members and people who come from the outside, is something that is really relevant,” Steinberg said, adding that several panels will be on effective use of social media.

"When we were founded, one of the key things was to be there to help journalists be out and open and feel comfortable being out in a newsroom. While that is still an issue in a lot of places, for most journalists that not as much the problem, it’s actually staying in the newsroom to have that voice. If you don't have the skills to be a good journalist then that voice is lost in the newsroom," Steinberg said.

Asked if the organization was an advocacy group for gay issues, Steinberg said, “We're not activists. … We're journalists, so we work from within the newsroom, working on behalf of fair and accurate coverage of the community. So that if someone is writing a story about a transgender person and they don't know what terminology they should use, we're there to help. … If we see bad coverage, we'll talk to the reporter or the editor and say: `We saw this and why it was problematic or how can we help you get more information about XYZ. …. We see ourselves as journalists not activists.”

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