Deb Price, a 2011 Nieman Fellow whose column on gay issues was the first to be nationally syndicated in mainstream newspapers, died in Hong Kong on November 20 due to complications from interstitial pneumonitis, after a long battle with an autoimmune lung disease. She was 62.
Price began writing her column for The Detroit News in 1992. She first pitched the idea to editor Bob Giles, former curator of the Nieman Foundation, who later selected Price for a Nieman fellowship. She went on to write 900-plus columns over the next 18 years about LGBTQ issues and about her relationship with her wife, Joyce Murdoch. Her groundbreaking work was recognized with several GLAAD Media Awards as well as honors from the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association.
Born in 1958, Price was raised in Bethesda, Maryland and attended the University of Michigan before transferring to Stanford, where she earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in literature. She began her journalism career working for the States News Service and the Northern Virginia Sun before joining The Washington Post, where she held positions including assistant editor on the national, news, and financial desks.
Price joined The Detroit News in 1989, working as a deputy bureau chief and a correspondent in Washington, D.C., in addition to writing her column. Following her Nieman fellowship year, she covered politics in New England for Agence France-Presse (AFP) for a year and taught journalism at Harvard Extension School before becoming the Southeast Asia editor of The Wall Street Journal and, later, the managing editor of Caixin Global, a financial news publication. Most recently, she had been working as a senior business editor for the South China Morning Post, based in Hong Kong.
Price and Murdoch, who married in Toronto in 2003, were the first same-sex couple to have their marriage announced in The Washington Post, which is where they met. The pair wrote two books together, “Courting Justice: Gay Men and Lesbians v. The Supreme Court” and “And Say Hi to Joyce: America’s First Gay Column Comes Out.”