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Changing the World, One Story at a Time

Journalist Natalie Moore highlights the community and the people in her reporting.

by Tamara Holmes (B.A. '94)
Natalie Moore headshot

Growing up on the south side of Chicago, Natalie Moore (BA ’98) noticed that some media coverage often focused on negativity and violence, ignoring the other rich stories that resonated with her community. “I knew that I wanted to be a reporter in my hometown and tell different kinds of stories,” she says.

Moore got her wish, and has had an impact on how different audiences perceive news coverage. In fact, this year, The News Literacy Project, an organization that aims to help consumers identify credible news sources, named her a recipient of the 2023 News Literacy Change-Maker awards — an honor bestowed upon a journalist who has done important work to ensure a more news-literate America.

“We had this moment in 2020 where there seemed to be an awakening, and Americans at large were supporting Black lives and speaking out,” she says. “Now we see all this backlash. We are having really antiquated fights around books and banning, and our democracy is under siege. As a journalist, it's my job to do as much as I can to write about it.”

She also feels strongly about holding disseminators of misinformation accountable. Recently, she hosted “Harm & Distrust,” a News Literacy Project interactive lesson that examines the history of racist mainstream news coverage.

All of my work is informed by my journalism, but I think art can touch hearts and minds in a different way.”

It was at Howard where she honed her ability to see the impact of current events through the lens of race, she says. She recalls “having deep discussions about ethics and morals and how to treat communities without doing harm” while she was a journalism student and serving as editor in chief at The Hilltop.

Moore has worked as a reporter at the Detroit News, the St. Paul Pioneer Press, the Associated Press and WBEZChicago’s national public radio  news station – where she is now editor on the race, class, and communities desk.

Moore also writes a monthly column for the Chicago Sun-Times, and has received numerous awards for her work, including being named journalist of the year by the Chicago Reader, a nonprofit newsroom and advocate for independent journalism. Moore also teaches journalism at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, where she earned her master’s degree.

Her writing also includes books and plays. She is also the author of “The South Side: A Portrait of Chicago and American Segregation,” and co-author of “The Almighty Black P Stone Nation: The Rise, Fall and Resurgence of an American Gang” and “Deconstructing Tyrone: A New Look at Black Masculinity in the Hip-Hop Generation.” She also wrote a play about abortion, titled “The Billboard,” for which she was awarded the inaugural Lydia Diamond Playwright Award by the Chicago Dramatists.

“I look at myself as a multidisciplinary journalist, who can do audio, digital, traditional newspaper writing, and playwriting,” she says. “All of my work is informed by my journalism, but I think art can touch hearts and minds in a different way.”

The most rewarding thing about her work is “people seeing themselves in it,” she says. She also takes her responsibility as a shaper of public opinion seriously. “Journalists can't be afraid of the backlash and it's our job to call out injustice,” she says. “We are the fourth estate. We are essential to democracy. And the things that we are seeing, whether it’s January 6th, book bans or [the fight for] body autonomy — these are attacks on democracy.”

This story appears in the Fall 2023 issue.
Article ID: 1511

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