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Getting 'Moody' about journalism

CYRIL JOSH BARKER Amsterdam News Staff | 7/29/2012, 6:45 p.m.
If you've ever been glued to the computer looking around for the latest celebrity news,...
Getting 'Moody' about journalism

If you've ever been glued to the computer looking around for the latest celebrity news, chances are you've read a story written by Nekesa Mumbi Moody. Having served as a music editor for the Associated Press (AP) for the last 12 years, she was recently promoted to global entertainment and lifestyles editor.

Throughout her journalistic career, she's been at the forefront of telling the world some of the most historic events in modern entertainment history, including covering the death of Michael Jackson and breaking the news to the world of the death of Whitney Houston. Her most recent work includes coverage of the movie theater massacre in Colorado.

But even though she informs millions of people on top entertainment news, she still finds time to give back to the community. A resident of Brooklyn, Moody volunteers as head of the New York Association of Black Journalists' (NYABJ) high school journalism workshop. The program allows students to explore and learn about the world of journalism.

Originally from Albany, N.Y., Moody said journalism was always in her blood. She worked on her high school newspaper and for the student-run Columbia Spectator while attending Barnard College.

"I was always interested in the story behind the story," she said. "When I was a kid I would read--I would read three different versions of a story."

Her first crack in professional journalism came during her junior year of college, when she received an internship at Albany's Times Union newspaper. After that, she began her long career with the AP working at the news agency's Albany bureau as an intern, which turned into a full-time position. While there, she covered New York State government, local news, sports and entertainment.

In 1998, she moved to New York City to AP headquarters as an national editor, and in 2000 became a music writer and editor. Her career has allowed her to be a part of all aspects of music and entertainment, from covering Jay-Z and Beyonce to the Grammy Awards and the Super Bowl.

"To me, it's been amazing, and I feel very fortunate," she said. "When I was at the funeral for Michael Jackson--I remember having Michael Jackson on my wall, and here I am writing the story about him leaving this earth. I am grateful to be able to write about history and cover history."

Moody recently made waves in the journalism world when she was the first to find out and report the death of Houston in February, earning her an award from the AP. She attributed getting the scoop to maintaining relationships with reliable sources in the entertainment industry.

When she's not giving the latest in worldwide entertainment news, Moody takes time to give back to the community. With NYABJ's high school journalism workshop, she spends her Saturdays with students teaching them the ins and outs about journalism. The free program gives local high schools students a chance to write, edit and compile news stories with the help of local journalists who volunteer their time.

"I've always been interested in giving back," she said. "If we don't help the community, we can't complain about it. I started volunteering in 2007 and once I did it, I was really moved by the kids. It's been very rewarding for me. It's been a great program and I encourage people to be a part of it.

"It's important young people get engaged in media. Even if kids don't become journalists, they should know how the news works."

For more information about the NYABJ high school journalism workshop, go to www.nyabj.org or www.firsttakenyc.org.