After more than two decades in front of the camera, a Dayton journalist says it is time to find out what it is like not to be immersed in the news.
For Rhonda Moore that means not only quitting her job as an ABC 22/FOX 45 reporter, but unplugging from all social media and avoiding watching the news, she said.
Her last day on the job was Friday.
“This is new for me. I have lived the news for 25-plus years,” Moore said. “I am going to be so oblivious. I need a break. What better time to take a break than during the winter?”
Moore said the decision to leave journalism, for at least the time being, wasn’t an easy one.
“I love journalism. I love knowing everything there is to know about news,” she said. “I love news and sports, and I got to do both.”
That said, Moore, a Dayton native and Wright State University graduate, said a change in her life was necessary and a change in climate might also be in order.
“Who quits a job without a plan for the future? Me,” she said. “I am open to anything and I am open to go anywhere.”
An ABC 22/FOX 45 reporter for 17 years, Moore said the job has come with its challenges, particularly this time of year.
Moore said she won’t rule out another job in journalism or remaining in the Dayton area, but said she won’t be fighting mother nature to get it done.
“Standing in the freezing cold and getting hit in the face with ice? I’ve done that for years and I’ve done that enough,” she said.
She noted that she would love a job in a warmer place or one that allows her to travel to a warmer climate more often.
Moore was a reporter in Memphis eight years before returning to the Miami Valley.
Even though much of her family remains in the region, she said she barely had time to see them.
In recent years, she worked days during the week and Saturday.
“Even on my days off, I am ripping and running,” she said. “I was always working when something has come up.”
The explosion of social media has complicated things further, she said.
“Social media had changed everything,” she said. “You are never away from work.”
Despite it all, Moore said she is proud of the work she’s done and the lessons she has learned while doing it.
“Every day you learn something different,” she said of the variety of features and hard news stories she has covered through the years. “I applied the things I learned to my own life.”
Moore says she also learned that you should never judge a book by its cover, noting that she’s met some of the kindest people under the worst circumstances.
People are not what they sometimes seem, she said.
The list of featured segments she’s done include the restaurant safety series “Eat at Your Own Risk,” a one-tank trip series “Road Tipping and the consumer help series “Help Me Rhonda.”
Moore said people called her about “Help Me Rhonda” long after the series had ended. Helping the community is a point of pride, she said.
“I really felt like I was doing a lot of good for the community, helping them with their consumer issues,” Moore added.
The list of celebrities and political figures she’s interviewed includes local favorites John Legend and Dave Chappelle; former national security adviser Colin Powell, former President Jimmy Carter; actress Angela Bassett; politician Mitt Romney and the late comedian Bernie Mac.
A Dallas Cowboys fan, Moore interviewed both team owner Jerry Jones and former coach Tom Landry.
Moore said she talked about the Cowboys to break the ice when she got an exclusive interview with U.S. Supreme Court Judge Clarence Thomas at an airport in Memphis. Thomas is also a big Cowboys fan.
Talking to celebrities is one thing, but Moore said they were far from the only part of the job she enjoyed.
“It was a pleasure working in my hometown for so long because I care about Dayton,” she said. “I am not going to say I didn’t cover negative stories about Dayton because that was part my job, but I tried to do uplifting story about Dayton.”