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Faculty Spotlight: Natalie Moore

By Jon Graef (MA ’11)

Columbia College Chicago adjunct faculty member Natalie Moore has traveled the world.

Although she resides in Chicago’s Bronzeville neighborhood, Moore’s adventures as a writer have taken her to Jerusalem, where she was a reporter for the Associated Press, and Libya, where she went in 2009 to investigate women’s rights in Col. Muammar Gaddafi’s regime. (The trip was part of Columbia College’s Ellen Stone Belic Institute for the Study of Women and Gender in the Arts and Media.)

But no matter where the Chatham native reports, whether it’s abroad or at her employer public radio station WBEZ’s South Side Bureau at 70th and Halsted, she seeks out stories not being covered by most media outlets.

“I try to report in a thoughtful way. [The media has] a quick image of crime and poverty when you mention the South Side,” Moore said. “When I’m out here, [I try to] show the diversity of the neighborhoods.”

As one example, Moore cites her in-depth reporting about the rise of Barack Obama from community organizer in Roseland to president of the United States. By emphasizing local narratives, Moore said she connects more directly with Chicagoans on the issues they care about.

Moore has taken the responsibility of being a journalist seriously since she was 13 years old, the age she said she decided to become one. Moore was the editor of her high school newspaper, earned her bachelor of arts degree from Howard University, and her master of science degree in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. In 2000, she started her first reporting job at the St. Paul Pioneer Press in Minnesota.

Since then, she’s written two books: 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. Moore also became an adjunct faculty member at Columbia College Chicago in 2006, teaching the Foundations of Journalism class.

By teaching at Columbia, Moore said she passes along to students a journalist’s work ethic and critical thinking skills.

“There’s a lot of power in being a journalist. One, you’re getting the information first. Second, you’re passing along that information,” Moore said. “I take that seriously and try to pass that along to the students--the fact that they can be independent and be a watchdog for their community.”