Dennis Moore Mixes it up with the Movies in his job as Deputy Managing Editor for the Life Section of USA TODAY
By Stuart Johnson and Robin Street
Ole Miss alumnus Dennis Moore, class of ‘75, says his job as deputy managing editor for the Life section of USA TODAY is the ideal career.
“I have the best job because I get paid to go to movies, to watch TV and to read books,” Moore says. “If I weren’t paid to do this for my job, I would be doing this anyway.”
His job may sound glamorous, but overseeing entertainment coverage requires the same dedication and hard work as covering any other beat.
““We offer insight into the production of a variety of entertainment genres and into the lives of celebrities, for whom everyday people have an insatiable appetite,” Moore says. “When done well, this requires sharp reporting skills and engaging writing. It’s real news but with movie stars.”
Moore spends much of his time planning and coordinating with the editors and reporters who cover television, movies, music, books and celebrities. “I guide the collaboration that creates and distributes content on our three platforms: print, online and mobile,” he says.
Moore says he and his staff are dedicated to giving readers insight into entertainment topics. “I see movies and TV shows, and listen to music to help make decisions that will focus our coverage, to identify trends and to allow me to suggest stories that will inform our readers on how the entertainment industry works and which performers[dm1] , directors and productions are worth their attention,” he says.
Because of their trusted reputation, Moore and his staff often see movies and television shows being made. “We are proud that readers and people in the entertainment industry trust our standards of reporting, which allows us access to actors on sets and musicians in recording studios that other publications are denied,” Moore says.
Getting the facts straight gains the trust of readers, a lesson Moore learned from his time at Ole Miss. “Everything comes back to detail and attention to being correct, I learned at Ole Miss,” Moore says.
Moore’s work history includes serving as arts and entertainment editor for The Baltimore Sun and editor of Florida magazine at The Orlando Sentinel. He also worked as a reporter and features editor at The Clarion Ledger in Jackson, Miss.
“Classes in reporting, feature writing and magazine production and my work on The Daily Mississippian gave me a strong foundation for the variety of jobs I have had over the years,” Moore says. “And in my work here at USA TODAY, I continue to learn how to use new media just as students do at Ole Miss.”
For example, during the Vancouver Winter Olympic Games, Moore and a videographer created a “first” for USA Today: a daily video blog about the scene in Vancouver and the games on the newspaper’s website.
Moore says students need to take initiative to similarly think “out of the box,” He also urges them to get involved in campus media because that is where they will learn the true art of reporting.
“The experience outside the classroom is important,” Moore says. “You learn the accountability and skills and learn the impact you can have as a journalist.”