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Journalists’ association gives second student scholarship

by Jason Lloyd Clement

CNN Anchor Soledad O’Brien was on hand at NLGJA’s scholarship award ceremony to present $5,000 to gay journalism student Colin Dugdale.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — On March 15, the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association (NLGJA) presented its second Leroy F. Aarons Scholarship Award at Headlines & Headliners: NLGJA’s 12th Annual New York Benefit, which was held at ABC’s Times Square Studios.
The 2007 award recipient is Colin Dugdale, a third-year journalism student at Indiana University in Bloomington.

An Indiana native, Dugdale is a columnist and reporter for the university’s award-winning Indiana Daily Student. While at the paper, he has been awarded nine “Best Column” awards and was twice voted “Best Columnist.”

David L. Adams, Indiana University Professor, Director of the Office of Student Media and NLGJA member, says that Dugdale’s columns “tackle a number of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) issues with great humor and understanding. I knew Roy Aarons personally; from the time he met with many of us and urged the student press to be more receptive to LGBT issues and coverage. He would have been proud to know Colin and see his work in our student media.”

“There is something very empowering about writing,” Dugdale says. “That’s why I’ve chosen this profession. At the end of the day I can look at myself in the mirror and know that I’ve done something that’s made a difference. That’s journalism.”

Named in memory of NLGJA’s founder, the $5,000 award was established to support the education of an LGBT student who plans a career in journalism and is committed to furthering NLGJA’s mission of fair and accurate coverage of the LGBT community.

The award was presented by CNN’s “American Morning” anchor Soledad O’Brien. In 2005, CNN contributed a $100,000 gift to support the scholarship award.

O’Brien was one of a number of special guests joining NLGJA members, friends and supporters at the ABC Times Square Studios. The event was hosted by ABC News Chief Investigative Correspondent Brian Ross and featured notables from the worlds of journalism, sports and entertainment, including former NBA player and Human Rights Campaign Coming Out Project Spokesperson John Amaechi; former World No. 1 tennis player and co-founder of the Rainbow Visa Card, Martina Navratilova; Ted Allen and Kyan Douglas of Bravo’s “Queer Eye;” Meredith Vieira and Natalie Morales of NBC News’ “Today Show;” Erin Moriarty and Russ Mitchell of CBS News and Tim Gunn and Kara Janx of Bravo’s “Project Runway.”

“For the second year in a row, we have been privileged to select the Aarons Scholarship Award winner from a pool of exceptional student journalists,” said Thomas Cashman Avila, acting executive director of NLGJA.

“Seeing the work being done by these students and knowing the work done by the participants in our National Convention Student Projects, it’s impossible not to feel confident and optimistic about the future of journalism.”

The National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association (NLGJA) is an organization of journalists, media professionals, educators and students who work within the news industry to foster fair and accurate coverage of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues. NLGJA opposes all forms of workplace bias and provides professional development to its members.

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