Natalie Moore, 2010 Terkel Award Winner

Natalie Moore Natalie Moore
Public Affairs Reporter
Chicago Public Radio

Natalie Moore calls herself a groupie who got hired for a dream job: from a new bureau office at 69th and Halsted, she’s covering the South Side full time—not when something bad happens.

“I’m definitely a policywonk and nerd,” she says, but also a storyteller. “You have to come to the story with the facts, not the anecdote,” she says. “Once you have the facts and the meat of it, then you put the anecdote around it. The anecdotes are emotional; the policy has bigger implications to it.”

Community development, youth violence, digging in on education at Robeson High School, and the Olympics are among the topics Natalie’s covered in hundreds of stories since 2007. Much of this is, as she puts it, “the meat and potatoes” issues facing South Side neighborhoods: not off the beaten path, but real issues to the people in these communities.

Growing up in Chatham, Natalie knew early she wanted to be a journalist. At 13, she imagined a career in news that might culminate in someday returning to Chicago to edit the Chicago Defender. At Howard University she joined the school newspaper, the Hilltop (named by Zora Neale Hurston). “I was such a brash freshman,” she recalls. “I introduced myself by saying, ‘I’m Natalie Moore and I want to be editor by senior year.” She was.

During college Natalie interned with Laura Washington at The Chicago Reporter. After school she went to Medill then on to the St. Paul Pioneer Press and later Detroit News, where she was City Hall reporter. She’s also had a distinguished free-lance career for magazines and Web publications.

She left the News to finish Deconstructing Tyrone: A New Look at Black Masculinity in the Hip-Hop Generation,” co-authored by Natalie Hopkinson, a friend and former Washington Post reporter. The book features reflections from the authors’ own experiences with how black men are portrayed in culture and the media as well as the voices of black folks from junior high kids to middle-aged stockbrokers reflecting on black masculinity.

Wrapping up the book in Chicago, Natalie contacted WBEZ staff about freelancing They suggested she apply for a new position leading the new South Side Bureau, and she’s been there since.

Of Studs Terkel, Natalie says, “His spirit rages on…. I’m conscious of his legacy and his idea of having the voices of this wonderful tapestry of neighborhoods in Chicago.” Like Studs, she reaches out to cover stories that feature the voices of people often left out of the news: “I get to cover stories that matter not only to me but to people who haven’t seen themselves reflected in this way,” she says. “And radio. It’s cool. It’s intimate. And I think I bring that intimacy with these stories. The fact that I get to work here and I get to exercise my news judgment is just an awesome experience.”

Natalie, 33, is working on a book about the Blackstone Rangers due out this fall from Lawrence Hill Books/Chicago Review Press. She is a 2009 fellow at Columbia College Chicago’s Ellen Stone Belic Institute for the Study of Women and Gender in the Arts and Media. She’s also on the board of directors of the Neighborhood Writing Alliance. She lives in Bronzeville.

Read her acceptance remarks
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