Thad Moore (’11) just graduated from college but already holds the distinction of being one of the most famous journalists in the country. Or at least, the most famous journalism intern in the country.
Thad was a month into an internship on the business desk at the Washington Post this summer when a software glitch caused the computers to go down on the New York Stock Exchange. Through a combination of journalistic instinct and luck, Thad was the first reporter at a major news outlet to break the story.
The computers were back up fairly quickly, and, except in business circles, the story ended up being less significant than it initially appeared. But Moore himself—the intrepid intern who scooped the likes of the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times—became a media sensation. In a story that took off like wildfire in the socialmediasphere, Buzzfeed gleefully recounted the details of Thad’s scoop and gushed “He’s now the newshound we all turn to in times of crisis.”
Buzzfeed also noted that Thad handled the whole hoopla with grace and humility. But to Thad himself, “It was nuts. I felt like I stopped being a person and started being an idea for a little while.” His editor at the Post suggested his story was so compelling in part because the photo on his Twitter feed looked like a stock photo of an intern, making him the perfect hero for a triumph-of-the-little-guy tale.
“People at the Post were really into it as an intern-made-good story,” he says. “I was a name around the office for a while, which was the coolest thing ever, because it’s the Washington Post.”
Even if he hadn’t become a media sensation, Thad says his internship still would have been a great experience. “When you intern at the Post, they pretty much treat you like you’re on staff. I was working on stories every day and got my byline in the paper a lot. It was great to see how a big national paper covers the news and to be in the middle of all that. It was great just to walk through the door every day. The history that’s in that building makes being there really cool.”
Thad’s interest in a career in journalism began at Heathwood, and, he says, he realized once he began his studies at the University of South Carolina’s Honors College that his Heathwood education had prepared him well for a writing-intensive vocation: “There was such an emphasis on writing at Heathwood. That’s fairly unique. It really takes a small-classroom environment and very dedicated teachers to provide good writing instruction.”
For current students who have journalistic aspirations of any kind, Thad’s advice is, “start writing. Find freelance opportunities, write for the school paper, or just start writing a blog. That’s the only way to learn.”
Now that his summer internship is over, Thad himself is freelancing regularly, for the Washington Post and elsewhere. While he continues to cover business news for the Post, he’s particularly interested in uncovering and telling stories about South Carolina for national publications. “There are a lot of good stories down here that aren’t being told,” he says. “So one of my career goals is to be in a regional bureau for a national publication—you’re reaching a wide audience while still maintaining a strong local understanding—that’s really valuable.”
His moment in the spotlight aside, Thad is excited about where his career has taken him so far. “What I love about being a journalist,” he says, “ is the rush you get from chasing after the latest story, and also the value that lies in trying to help people understand what’s going on around them. I also appreciate being able to tell people stories just because they’re interesting, or because they’re typical and illustrate challenges people in our community are facing. There’s a lot of value in reminding people to look around a little bit.”