Workplace 'Out-Reach.'(out Gays and Lesbians Are Accepted in Many Newsrooms)

By Fitzgerald, Mark | Editor & Publisher, October 12, 1996 | Go to article overview

Workplace 'Out-Reach.'(out Gays and Lesbians Are Accepted in Many Newsrooms)


Fitzgerald, Mark, Editor & Publisher


FOR LESBIAN AND gay journalists, newsrooms aren't closets with terminals anymore.

In the past two or three years, many newspapers have moved dramatically to make openly gay and lesbian employees comfortable in the workplace.

That was apparent at the recent National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association convention in Miami, where more than a dozen newspapers and chains were actively recruiting and the list of event sponsors read like a FAS-FAX report: Cox Newspapers, Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, Gannett Co., Los Angeles Times, Miami Herald, Knight-Ridder, and St. Petersburg Times.

This outreach to gay and lesbian journalists extended even to an ad in the NLGJA convention program for the Knight Fellowships at Stanford University. The ad included this testimonial from 1993-94 fellow Michelle Johnson: "My partner came to Stanford with me for the Knight Fellowship and enjoyed the same privileges as the other fellows' spouses. She even received (and declined) an invitation to join the Faculty Wives Club!" Johnson wrote.

One of the news organizations most active in making itself over as a gayfriendly employer is Knight-Ridder, the nation's secondlargest publisher of daily newspapers.

Among other measures, Knight-Ridder is running "sexual orientation in the workplace" seminars at all its newspapers. There are no exceptions, said Larry Olmstead, the chain's assistant vice president for diversity.

"Some newspapers said to me, `This is a hot-button issue.' And my reaction is, if it's a hot-button issue -- you probably need this training," Olmstead said.

There was no top management resistance at the 53,000-circulation News-Sentinel in Fort Wayne, Ind., however The executive editor there is openly gay, Joe Weiler.

"Should the editor of the newspaper be holding formal -- actually, mandatory -- training sessions on the issues around sexual orientation?" Weiler said."One of the things we saw on the nongay staff is that they never talk about these things as issues. They may think of them as stories, but they never see them as issues."

The sexual diversity program was developed by the NLGJA and Hollywood Supports, a group that began five years ago to do training on the issue of AIDS in the workplace.

While the program has been used in many broadcast operations, Knight-Ridder is the only newspaper company to adopt the program chainwide. said Nancy Murrell, a copy editor at the Miami Herald and coordinator of the NLGJA sexual diversity training program.

"It's been kind of a slow sell," Murrell said. We designed this for journalists and journalists buy into it But what we're finding, is we need to design it for the HR [human resources] folks [because] they're not buying into it."

The NLGJA/Knight-Ridder program,which takes from 90 minutes to three-and-a-half hours depending on what version newspapers use, includes discussions on the legal and business issues involved in sexual orientation, on myths and stereotypes and on suggestions for a specific newspaper workplace.

It also includes a number of exercises such as a "role reversal" questionnaire for heterosexuals -- sample question: "When did you first know you were heterosexual?" -- and role-playing from situations devised from real-life instances at Knight-Ridder newspapers.

"People think this is about bringing your sex life to work when really what it is about is bringing your personhood to work," training coordinator Murrell said.

"The most important thing," Murrell said at another point,"is that [gay and lesbian journalists] make a paradigm shift from thinking, `Is this advocacy?' to `I am bringing a diversity to this newsroom as a lesbian who was born in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and can tell the difference between a Jersey and a Holstein [cows] and that's part of my diversity, too.'"

Murrell added that the program "is designed to be very respectful of religious-diversity just as we're trying to create a respectful atmosphere for sexual orientation in the newsroom"

As for its tangible benefits,Murrell said, "I think it's led to more than feeling good. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Workplace 'Out-Reach.'(out Gays and Lesbians Are Accepted in Many Newsrooms)
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.