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Latest NLGJA Hall of Fame Inductees Include the Walter Cronkite ‘Zapper’

At the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association (NLGJA) annual convention running today through Sunday in Boston, freelance writer Michael Luongo and The Huffington Post’s Lila Shapiro will be feted. They are this year’s NLGJA “Journalist of the Year” and “LGBT Journalist of the Year,” respectively.

Saturday night, the organization will also induct two journalists into its Hall of Fame: the late Bob Ross, founder of the Bay Area Reporter, and Mark Segal, founder of the Philadelphia Gay News:

In 1972, after being thrown out of a dance competition for dancing with his male partner, Segal crashed the evening news broadcast of WPVI-TV, in what became known as a “zap.” By 1973, Segal, along with Harry Langhorne, calling themselves Gay Raiders, had zapped The Tonight Show, Today, The Mike Douglas Show and then the CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite, that time holding a sign saying ‘Gays Protests CBS Prejudice.’

Starting at Segal’s April 1974 trial for zapping Cronkite, the CBS anchor asked Segal for details on the gay community’s media complaints. The CBS Evening News substantially increased its coverage of gay news and Cronkite became a supporter of gay rights.

In addition to these Special Recognition and Hall of Fame awards, the NLGJA is honoring Mark Johnson (Milwaukee Sentinel Journal), Blake Ellis (CNNMoney.com) and several others for meritorious print and online work. The “Boston: Uncommon” convention also features an array of impressive speakers.

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