Metro Weekly

Kickoff Conversation

Capital Pride steps off with panel discussion on LGBT media and volunteer orientation

Editor’s Note:This story has been edited to reflect that the location and time for the event has changed.

For those benevolent locals who hope to volunteer with all the Capital Pride goings on, the ”on your mark” moment is Wednesday, June 1, at ”Out on Assignment – Kickoff & Orientation.”

While everyone who has signed on as a Capital Pride volunteer – or would still like to – is asked to attend this orientation event, they should not expect a warehouse-like cattle call. Instead, Capital Pride is teaming the D.C. chapter of the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association for a stimulating start to this year’s celebration.

”We thought it was a great idea,” says Mathew Friedman, president of the NLGJA chapter, of being asked by Capital Pride to help organize a panel discussion as part of the kickoff event and volunteer orientation. ”It’s right up our alley.”

The 6:45 p.m. panel, fully titled ”Out on Assignment: How LGBT Journalists Influence the Media Landscape,” will be held at the Chastleton Ballroom (1701 16th St. NW), and feature four LGBT media mavens: Bil Browning, founder and editor-in-chief of The Bilerico Project; Sean Bugg, co-publisher of Metro Weekly; Kerry Eleveld, former Washington correspondent of The Advocate, now editor with Equality Matters; and Chris Johnson, Washington Blade reporter. Elizabeth Birch, former executive director of the Human Rights Campaign, will offer her insights on the media ahead of the panel discussion, which should include ample time for questions from the audience. Friedman, who will moderate, gives much of the credit for the event to Anthony Shop, co-owner of Social Driver, a digital strategy and development company, as well as the volunteer chair of the National Press Club’s events committee.

”We’re going to have this panel, an introduction from a board member of the National Press Club and Elizabeth Birch,” says Shop. ”No one knows better than the former director of HRC the role the media plays. I’m sure she’ll have interesting remarks to make.

”The thought we had is that it’s really important to have LGBT representation in the media. It’s really important for us to have that perspective.”

Shop adds that Capital Pride Community Partners should learn from the panel how to better broadcast their particular messages to broader audiences.

Door open for the event at 6:30 p.m. The panel discussion is scheduled to end ahead of volunteer orientation at 7:50, followed by an 8 to 9 p.m. networking reception with a cash bar.

To register for free tickets to ”Out on Assignment – Kickoff & Orientation,” visit, although tickets will not be required for admittance. The Chastleton Ballroom is located at 1701 16th St. NW.

Follow Will O'Bryan on Twitter @wobryan.