New Jersey Paper Refuses to Correct Coverage of Trans Woman's Murder
BY Sunnivie Brydum
September 28 2013 1:11 PM ET UPDATED: September 30 2013 5:31 PM ET
UPDATE: GLAAD reports that the New Jersey Star-Ledger has published a new story, using female pronouns and Eyricka Morgan's preferred name to discuss her murder. But the paper has not corrected its earlier reporting on the case, and those stories are still accessible on the paper's website.
When New Jersey's Star-Ledger newspaper reported on the stabbing death of 26-year-old Eyricka Morgan, a transgender woman of color reportedly killed in her New Brunswick home by a neighbor on Tuesday, the newspaper referred to Morgan by her given name and used male pronouns to refer to her. The Star-Ledger's initial report made no mention of the fact that Morgan was transgender and had been living as a woman, despite confirmation of Morgan's transgender identity by numerous LGBT sites, including The Advocate.
LGBT media watchdog agency GLAAD reached out to the Ledger's writer who first reported the crime, Susan Epstein, and informed her of the industry's standard fair and accurate guidelines for reporting on transgender people, including using their preferred name and gender identity, according to a blog post from GLAAD. Since 2001, the Associated Press has directed journalists to report on the lives — and death — of transgender people by using the appropriate pronouns and names preferred by the individual.
"The reporter refused to change the story without confirmation of Eyricka's transgender identity from someone who knew her," reads GLAAD's blog, posted Friday. "GLAAD provided this information, but the newspaper has not corrected its coverage. Editors at the paper have not yet replied to repeated outreach by GLAAD."
Morgan was a former student at Rutgers University and was involved with the North Jersey Community Research Initiative. On Tuesday, Morgan was reportedly stabbed by a neighbor who lived in the same city boarding house as she did. When police arrived to find Morgan injured, they transported her to New Brunswick's Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, where she was pronounced dead at 9 p.m. Devonte Scott, 21, was arrested on Wednesday morning in connection with Morgan's death, and is being held in a New Brunswick jail on a $1 million bond.