Jason Marsden

Jason Marsden is the executive director of the Matthew Shepard Foundation. A Sheridan (Wyo.) High School and Harvard College graduate, he covered a variety of topics for the Casper Star-Tribune as a reporter from 1995 to 2001 and later lobbied the Wyoming Legislature for conservation and wildlife management issues. He lives in Denver, Colo.

University of Wyoming student Matthew Shepard, who was openly gay, was brutally beaten in October 1998 by Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson. Shepard died several days later. The incident received international media coverage and continues to spark controversy about hate crimes. Shepard’s parents, Judy and Dennis, established a foundation in Matthew’s name, which continues its pro-LGBT educational work today.

Matthew Shepard Foundation Executive Director Jason Marsden was working as a Casper Star-Tribune reporter in October 1998 when his friend Matt Shepard was murdered. In this essay, Marsden examines the effects of the worldwide media attention that the crime brought to the state of Wyoming at that time and since.