Coming Out Day special section wins 1st place award

Posted on 27 Jul 2006 at 9:38pm
By David Webb Staff Writer

Award from Newspaper Special Sections Network and Inland Press Association marks 2nd honor for section



Jonathan Boarman, co-chair of the local Coming Out Project, said targeting people who are not out is a technical challenge.

The special advertising section in The Dallas Morning News published in honor of Coming Out Day 2005 has won a first-place award from the Newspaper Special Sections Network and Inland Press Association.

The award in the category of family publications with 100,000 plus circulation was the second for the special advertising section since its debut in The Dallas Morning News in 2001. There were 79 newspapers with 607 entries competing this year.

The special advertising section, “Be Who You Are,” is sponsored by the Dallas-Fort Worth chapter of the Human Rights Campaign’s Coming Out Project.

Patti Fink, a volunteer for the Coming Out Project, said she is proud of the accomplishment.

“Back in 2001, when our very first National Coming Out Day special section was published, The Dallas Morning News won its first ever first-place national award for a special section,” said Fink, a former co-chair of the local Coming Out Project. “Now five years later, the Human Rights Campaign Coming Out Project once again scores for The Dallas Morning News.”

The winning 2005 issue featured television and film actor B.D. Wong on the cover. It was published on Oct 7.

Newspaper Special Sections Network has 120 member newspapers, and the 120-year-old Inland Press Association has 1,000 member organizations.

Jonathan Boarman, co-chair of the local Coming Out Project, said the special advertising section allows the group to use the mainstream press to communicate a powerful and effective message.

“Helping members of the LGBT and ally community come out is a daunting task,” Boarman said. “It is quite a technical challenge to target people that are not out because they are not as likely to pay attention to the gay media.”

Boarman said project coordinators are hoping to influence activists in other cities to join in sponsoring similar special advertising sections. Dallas now has the only such project in the country.

Co-chair Alan Reynolds said the group has a two-fold strategy. The goals are to educate and recruit new straight allies and to make gay and lesbian people feel more comfortable with their portrayal in the media.

“We address what is critical for our community to win the equality it seeks,” Reynolds said. “That is, we win respect by being open and honest about who we are.”

The 2006 special advertising section will be published on Oct. 6 in honor of Coming Out Day on Oct. 11.

“Be Who You Are’s” theme this year is family acceptance and it will feature articles on Rosie and Kelli O’Donnell’s advocacy on behalf of at-risk children, George Takei’s speaking tour promoting tolerance on college campuses, the third anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision striking down the sodomy law and NAACP Chairman Julian Bond’s thoughts on how the struggle for same-sex marriage fits into the civil rights movement.

Other features will include Dallas-Fort Worth Black Tie Dinner’s philanthropy over the past 25 years, one family’s response to their transgender son and a retrospective of PFLAG’s 35 years of work.

The special advertising section evolved from a tradition of publishing a signature ad petition in The Dallas Morning News calling for an end to discrimination against GLBT people.

For information about signing the petition in the special advertising section visit www.comeout.org.

E-mail webb@dallasvoice.com

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition, July 28, 2006.

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