Only one thing saddened Jennifer Moore when she chose to leave her radio job in Missouri to move to Boston to become GBH News’ features editor.
A devoted fly-fishing naturalist, she thought she’d never find the equivalent of her home state’s renowned freshwater streams, springs and rivers.
“I thought I would have to leave all that behind,” she said. “And then I got here and discovered the beautiful rivers in Central and Western Massachusetts. I've already been fly-fishing on the Deerfield River.”
Moore comes to GBH from KSMU, the NPR station in Springfield, Missouri. During her 15 years there, including the last five as news director, she oversaw the expansion of the station’s news staff and internship program and received numerous awards for her own top-notch reporting. Moore has been a freelancer for The New York Times and contributed to NPR from the Persian Gulf region. She contributed to CNN’s “Inside the Middle East,” working almost entirely in Arabic, in which she is fluent. Her reporting has earned multiple regional and national awards, including a national Edward R. Murrow Award for writing, the Excellence in Legal Journalism award from The Missouri Bar and the honorable mention for the Toner Prize for Excellence in Political Reporting from Syracuse University.
In her new role, she says she’ll help GBH News reimagine its feature stories pipeline, producing even more unique, local reports and creating a new publishing strategy for digital, radio and television.
Moore was raised on a farm in West Plains, Missouri. “It is one of the most geographically isolated, high-poverty regions in the country, but I didn’t realize that while growing up.” Her father was a physician, and her mother was a public health nurse.
“I come from a family that prioritized public service,” she said. “I also loved writing.” That blend transformed her into a diehard public radio enthusiast.
“I really appreciate that the emphasis of public media is on serving all communities, addressing accessibility and making sure that we communicate in a really clear way,” she said. A longtime fan of the late Gwen Ifell of the PBS NewsHour, and Robin Toner, the first woman to be national political correspondent for The New York Times, she strives to emulate Ifell’s ability to simplify complex issues and Toner’s knack for delivering both hard data and poignant storytelling.
Moore attended the University of Missouri School of Journalism and initially set out to be a foreign correspondent. ”I was lining up an internship with CNN in London when a professor intervened — he said, ‘if you want to be a foreign correspondent, you really need to learn a foreign language and culture.’”
A childhood family trip to Egypt had already sparked an interest in the region, so off she went to the American University in Cairo.
Her years there influenced the way she now approaches journalism.
“Partly because I lived in and reported from a more authoritarian part of the world, I really value the democratic process, which sets a government apart from more authoritarian regimes,” she said.
Conveying the power of democracy is central to her mission as a journalist. ”I like to incorporate nuggets of democracy into our everyday coverage as journalists. We in many ways are the civics classroom of the day.”