Award-winning journalist and author, Deb Price has tragically passed away aged 62, on November 20. Price among her many achievements will be remembered for having penned the first nationally syndicated column on LGBTQI issues for Detroit News in 1992.
Alongside Price’s work at the Detroit News, she also spent time working for the Washington Post and Wall Street Journal. Price also taught journalism at Harvard and wrote a number of best-selling books including two written with her wife.
Price’s death comes after a 13-year battle with interstitial pneumonitis, according to Joyce Murdoch – her wife who was by her side when she passed away in a hospital in Hong Kong. Murdoch said of her condition that “it gradually diminished her lung capacity” but “she remained energetic and optimistic.”
“Deb lived energetically, optimistically, bravely and fully. Her 18 years as a ground-breaking gay columnist changed lives, healed families and helped our nation progress toward being a more perfect union.
“She lived life fully, including working at the Hong Kong South China Morning Post” until shortly before she was hospitalised September.
Following Price’s death, many took to social media to express their grief at the loss of such a brilliant individual and trailblazer. Tributes poured in from the likes of Joshua Benton, founder of the Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard University who tweeted, “I am very sorry to report the death of Deb Price, a tremendous journalist, a Nieman Fellow (Class of 2011), and a real trailblazer for LGBTQ people in newsrooms and around the country.
“This was long before the internet gave Americans a window into any topic or community they wanted. Most people got a huge share of their information about the world from the local daily and local TV news.
“Most Americans in 1992 said they didn’t know a single gay person. Then suddenly there was Deb, on the breakfast table next to the sports section. She wasn’t just running in New York City and San Francisco, either – she was reaching people in red states too.”
Tracey Baim, who co-founded the Windy City Times LGBTQI newspaper in 1985, said of the writers legacy that, “When Price’s nationally syndicated column began it was truly ground-breaking. It ran in the Chicago Sun-Times, and many other papers, bringing an openly lesbian voice to parts of the US that still had very nascent LGBTQ power structures. Her voice was not just historically critical, but it was also very good.”