Laura Rena Murray

Laura Rena Murray (2016) is an investigative journalist whose longform work has appeared in the New York Times, the Guardian, Al Jazeera America, the San Francisco Chronicle, Philadelphia Weekly, the Center for Public Integrity and many more national and international publications. Her investigations have helped expose the life-threatening practice of illegal silicone injections among transgender women in New York City and uncovered the biggest Ponzi scheme in the history of San Francisco when an influential social justice foundation was used to defraud donors of millions.

She is a 2011 graduate of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. She also worked with the Stabile Center for Investigative Journalism after graduation through 2014. Murray is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships, including most recently the CUNY Urban Reporting Fellowship, the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center Fellowship, the International Center for Journalists—Bringing Home the World Fellowship and the Lambda Literary Emerging LGBT Voices retreat.

During her time at the Carey Institute, Murray will work on her reported memoir about the string of failed Child Protective Services investigations that marked her childhood in Philadelphia and her subsequent emancipation. The book will explore emancipation as a little-known alternative for youth trying to escape abusive homes or avoid placement in foster care. Murray reported on the failures of Philadelphia’s child welfare system for Al Jazeera America last year. The piece, “Philly’s Invisible Youth,” was inspired by her personal experiences and will serve as the investigative culmination of her book. The book will serve as a resource for teenagers, teachers, social workers and anyone else interested in learning about the effects of child welfare and emancipation laws.

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