Acel Moore, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, a champion of newsroom diversity, and a 1980 Nieman Fellow, died at his home on February 12 at the age of 75.
Over a career spanning 43 years, the Philadelphia native rose from the rank of copy boy at The Philadelphia Inquirer to reporter, editor, and columnist, according to an obituary in that paper. A co-founder of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ), Moore said in an interview in 2000, “If I had said in 1975 that I thought NABJ would have the impact and import it has today, I’d be lying. The formation of the black journalists’ organization was clearly needed. In 1975, we knew this was not a sprint. This was a marathon.” He received a lifetime achievement award from the NABJ in 2011.
The training programs Moore created for journalists of color—a copy editing internship and a high school journalism workshop—were a model for newsrooms across the country.
William K. Marimow, editor of the Inquirer and a 1983 Nieman Fellow, called Moore, with whom he worked closely beginning in 1972, “a “trailblazer.”
In 1977, Moore and his Inquirer colleague Wendell Rawls Jr. earned a Pulitzer Prize for Local Investigative Reporting for their articles on abusive conditions in a state hospital for the mentally ill. Moore subsequently served on the editorial board and wrote an urban affairs column.
Many journalists found a mentor in Moore, among them Philadelphia Inquirer managing editor Sandra Clark, who wrote in Nieman Reports last year, that Moore recruited her from the University of Kansas to join the Inquirer’s copy desk. “In me, he landed the ultimate diversity hire—African-American, Japanese, and female. And he let me know I wasn’t there just to be a number,” she wrote.