By Raji Ramanathan

Simon Rogers teaches about data visualization at the Google Bootcamp.

Simon Rogers teaches about data visualization at the Google Bootcamp.

SAN FRANCISCO — In early September, 12 students settled into their seats at the National Lesbian Gay Journalists Association’s student newsroom at the group’s annual convention in San Francisco.

They were part of NLGJA student projects team, Connect, which works to provide students of any and all sexual orientations a chance to report on LGBTQ issues and learn about the community at the host city.

Prior to convention, Lead Mentor Caroline Que told students they would become familiar with NLGJA and its mission, produce a portfolio-quality piece of digital journalism and develop a plan to launch their career. Once the convention kicked off, students were able to report on stories that mattered to them.

Some students worked on stories that related to their sexual identity, their families, their school systems and others. I chose to work on three very different stories during the week.

My first story was a light-hearted piece on best ice-cream shops in San Francisco. It was a fun story to work on and it was posted and socialized on the first day of the convention.

NLGJA President Jen Christensen moderates a discussion with CBS Executive Producer Rand Morrison at the NLGJA Convention.

NLGJA President Jen Christensen moderates a discussion with CBS Executive Producer Rand Morrison at the NLGJA Convention.

My second story focused on a convention workshop by Simon Rogers at Google Trends. Not only did I get to report on the workshop, I also gained a lot of knowledge from just taking notes and interviewing Rogers after the event. My final story focused on how gentrification in San Francisco affected the LGBTQ community at large.

Meanwhile, students also had the opportunity during the week to attend convention sessions, panels and workshops.

On top of attending several networking receptions, NLGJA closed the 2015 Coming Home convention will a grand awards ceremony and gala to celebrate the organization’s 25th anniversary.

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About Raji Raji Ramanathan, 22, is UNITY’s 2015 Reporting Fellow. She is a University of California – Berkeley graduate. The fellowship was created in 2014 based on feedback from the first annual diversity caucus convened by the UNITY board. It is supported by funding from the Ford Foundation, and it allows college students to develop strong multimedia and cross-cultural reporting skills by attending five diverse journalism conventions this summer. Learn more about the fellowship here, and watch for the application in the spring in the Opportunities section of this website. Raji Ramanathan

UNITY Reporting Fellow - 2015

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