Spotlight on Metcalf Advisory Board Member: Kendall Moore

Kendall Moore UPDATED 150x150

Photo credit: Gretchen Ertl

Metcalf Institute Advisory Board member Kendall Moore considers herself a foot soldier in the quest for a more just society. “Journalism, when done well, is a very important component of a healthy democracy,” says Moore, a professor in the Journalism and Film Media departments at the University of Rhode Island. “That’s my way of contributing to culture, society and justice.”

Moore grew up watching her stepfather work to improve the quality of life for others as an employee of the U.S. Agency for International Development, a government organization committed to ending poverty in developing countries. While pondering her future as undergrad traveling home to her parents’ post in Bolivia, Moore had considered following the same diplomatic career path. “I was looking for ways to engage in justice in some meaningful kind of way, but it had to be organic to who I was as a person.”

That person turned out to be a naturally curious individual driven by “question making” and the search for answers. After earning a B.A. from Syracuse University in Latin American studies and a M.A. in media studies and documentary film from the New School, Moore worked as a field producer and reporter for ABC News, the Discovery Channel, and Reuters.

Moore transitioned to academics in 2003 after completing a Fulbright Scholarship in Tanzania where she reported on the AIDS epidemic and taught at the University of Dar Es Salaam. At URI, she teaches documentary film production, theory, multi-media reporting, and introduction to mass media.

“The most exhilarating experience I think a teacher can have is when you spark the imagination in a student and it turns to action,” says Moore. “My parents were always about cultivating and nurturing and encouraging passion, so passion is very much a core belief of everything I do.”

That passion extends to her position as a Metcalf Institute Advisory Board member, a position she’s held since 2007, when her colleague and founding Journalism Co-Director of Metcalf Institute, the late Peter Lord, nominated her. Moore describes Metcalf as “sitting on the frontlines of science communication” in an era of upheaval for journalism and a political landscape in which facts and respect for scientific accuracy are under siege.

“To be a part of an organization that is training young reporters and young scientists, you’re really paying it forward into the future.”

As an award-winning documentary filmmaker, Moore primarily focuses on health, race, environment and gender. Her films, which have appeared on PBS and at numerous film festivals, include Sick Building, which examines PCB contamination in public buildings; The Good Radical, about environmental activist Dr. Cynthia Hamilton; and Sovereign Nation/Sovereign Neighbor, about the 2003 raid of a Narragansett Indian smoke shop in Rhode Island.

Moore recently completed a series of short films that aired on Rhode Island PBS focusing on environmental issues affecting Rhode Islanders: gypsy moth infestations, harmful algae blooms, and the legacy of lead paint pollution. Moore’s lead paint documentary will be featured at a special screening hosted by Metcalf Institute as part of URI’s Alumni & Family Weekend on October 20, 2017.

“I’m very happy that I am able to use my skills–whether it’s inspiring passion in my students or informing people about important issues–to have a positive impact on the health of this country,” says Moore.

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