The Southern Editor
From covering the Gulf War in Israel to covering news in Congress and the White House, this LkldNow reporter has had an extensive journalism career and is continuing to serve the Lakeland community she grew up in.
Kimberly C. Moore knew journalism was what she wanted to pursue when there was a scandal in which three county commissioners in Hillsborough County were caught taking bribes.
While the courthouse, Moore saw a reporter running backward on the courthouse steps, and the reporter was asking one of the commissioners, “How can you do this? Why are you taking bribes?” Moore saw the reporter in action, demanding answers, and thought, “I want to do this.”
Moore was born and raised in Lakeland and graduated from Kathleen High School, where she first began journalism. She graduated from Florida State University in 1990 with a degree in history and communication, and then started her professional career as a journalist for the Israel Broadcasting Authority, covering the Gulf Crisis and Gulf War.
Despite her love for journalism, Moore hasn’t always been storytelling in her occupations. She worked at the Habitat for Humanity International Headquarters in public relations, and at the University of Florida as a press release writer. In 2016, Moore was an elementary art teacher, where she taught 600 children art history.
Currently, Moore is a full-time multimedia journalist at LkldNow: an independent free online news site. Moore said “I just missed this” when she was pursuing other endeavors, thus making her return to journalism in 2018.
Barry Friedman, who founded LkldNow in 2015, actually met Moore when she was a senior at Kathleen High School when he came to speak in one of her journalism classes. After reporting in Israel, Moore returned to the states in Washington D.C. as a reporter for the States News Service, and Friedman was one of her editors.
“When she returned to Lakeland, we were friendly competitors for a while. She covered city government for The Ledger, and City Hall is a big part of the coverage I do for LkldNow,” Friedman wrote online when announcing Moore was joining the staff. “I realized that we were drawn to the same kinds of stories — ones that attempt to connect readers with their community by explaining important issues and introducing readers to people who make things happen.
Moore’s stories at LkldNow are typically city government and education-focused, but she covers an array of news. Every other Friday, Moore attends an agenda study meeting for the city commission, and on the following Monday, she attends the actual City Commission meeting.
Twice a month, Moore attends a school board work session/meeting.
When it comes to her work experience and telling stories, Moore said the best skill, and the skill she has learned to be the most useful is, to be honest, kind and genuine with people, no matter what. Thinking about what you will get out of an interaction or interview is not the right mindset to approach journalism, she says.
“Always come from a place of kindness,” Moore said. “People know when it’s genuine, there’s a local politician, and I won’t say who, but this person shows up at events just to get their picture taken, and people have realized the person doesn’t genuinely care.”
At LkldNow, there aren’t too many constraints on the stories Moore can or cannot cover and publish. However, there has been an instance where one of Moore’s stories was completely scrapped while she was at a daily Lakeland newspaper, The Ledger.
It was a pet project of hers, a compelling story she wanted to share: the story she produced was about boys she went to elementary school with who were molested by their sixth-grade teacher – she was not permitted to publish it after initially being told she could.
“It did not make me happy,” Moore said. “I checked with the previous editor for The Ledger, and said, ‘before I go talk to these guys, basically before I retraumatize all of them, are you going to run this story?’”
The editor said yes, but shortly left The Ledger after that conversation. When the story was complete, a new editor joined the staff and said the story could not run unless someone was suing. There were multiple victims Moore interviewed for the story, as well as a few female witnesses. Enough people to where no one would be able to sue, according to Moore. In the end, the story was never released.
Journalism isn’t the only way Moore tells her stories, though. Moore is also a published author. “Star Crossed: The Story of Astronaut Lisa Nowak” is a thoroughly researched book written by Moore that the University Press of Florida published in 2020.
It follows a case in 2007 where an astronaut, Lisa Nowak, who had flown on the Space Shuttle “Discovery,” was arrested for attempted murder and kidnapping of her boyfriend. She drove 900 miles from Houston to Orlando to confront the woman her boyfriend had allegedly been in close relations with, and allegedly she wore diapers so she didn’t have to stop driving as long as she could.
It took Moore more than a decade to finish researching the book. In it, Moore worked with the detective of the case and provided insight into Nowak’s childhood, her trip to space, her actual criminal case and her psychiatric diagnosis, as well as more insight into astronauts’ relationship with mental health.
“It’s a beautifully written book,” FSC English professor Dr. Erica Bernheim said. “It’s a true crime novel, I suppose, in the spirit of cold blood or Helter Skelter, and it’s meticulously researched.”
Moore isn’t entirely sure where she will end up in the next few years, but she plans on continuing journalism full-time.
“I enjoy being out in the community and meeting people,” Moore said. “Some days, I feel overwhelmed, but I just have to tell myself I can’t do everything because I want to do everything.”