Diversity & Inclusion Track: Digging into discrimination: Best practices for investigating LGBTQ bias and bravery

  • Event: 2019 IRE Conference
  • Speakers: Jennifer Christensen of CNN; Pete Madden of ABC News; Lucas Waldron of ProPublica; Kerith Conron of The Williams Institute - UCLA School of Law; Nathalie Sommer of CBS News
  • Date/Time: Friday, Jun. 14 at 11:30am
  • Location: Texas G
  • Audio file: No audio file available.

Covering the LGBTQ community is complex. Accurate data is hard to find, and even some of the smartest newsrooms in the business have made major missteps by offending interview subjects and their audience, failing to use appropriate language or making incorrect assumptions. Yet the community is an under-covered goldmine of great human stories.

This session will teach you about the best sources for reliable data. You’ll learn about successful strategies journalists have used to get at sensitive subject matter, even with reluctant sources. Panelists will introduce resources to help get your language right, show a few examples that got it wrong and discuss what we can learn from those examples. 

This panel was planned in collaboration with NLGJA, The Association of LGBTQ Journalists.

Speaker Bios

  • Jen Christensen is the national board VP of print/digital for NLGJA, the Association of LGBTQ Journalists. In her day job, she's a Peabody-award winning producer at CNN and writer for CNN.com who focuses on climate change and is based in CNN's medical unit in Atlanta. Prior to CNN she managed investigative units at WSOC-TV & WTVQ-TV.

  • Dr. Kerith Conron is the Blachford-Cooper Distinguished Scholar and Research Director at The Williams Institute, UCLA. She is a social and psychiatric epidemiologist whose work focuses on documenting and reducing health inequities that impact sexual and gender minority (LGBTQ) populations. 

  • Pete Madden is a producer for the ABC News Investigative Unit, which contributes coverage of national security, political corruption and human rights to Good Morning America, World News Tonight, Nightline and 20/20. Previously, he was a senior producer at Sports Illustrated, where he co-reported the magazine’s “First Golfer” feature about President Trump’s golf business. He is a graduate of Vanderbilt University and the Columbia Journalism School.

  • Nathalie Sommer is a producer at 60 Minutes, based in New York. Her work for the broadcast includes an Emmy award-winning investigative report on the Iraqi defector code-named "Curve Ball" whose false tale of a mobile, biological weapons program was the chief justification for invading Iraq. Her most recent report gave viewers an inside look at the Rainbow Railroad, which helps LGBT individuals escape violence and persecution in their home countries. @nattysom

  • Lucas is a video and motion graphics journalist at ProPublica. He currently works on the visual investigations team. @lhwaldron

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