“Keep your day job,” someone in the audience immediately yelled out, bringing a smile to Jackson’s face and a chuckle from the audience. See, Jackson has done so well as morning co-anchor of WLFI’s (Channel 18) “Daybreak” show; the comment could certainly have been seen as a compliment of his work.
Jackson has been co-anchoring the show with Liz Nichols and Cameron Hopman since Oct. 27. He has immersed himself into the community, whether it’s doing fundraisers like for the Hanna Community Center, or acting as the music director for Bethel AME Church.
“I’m the organist at the church,” Jackson said. “I enjoy that because it allows me to be involved in community at-large and to put all of the music lessons my family paid for to good use.”
Jackson grew up in Pittsburgh and Chesapeake, Va. He said while he was brought up in the big city, the Greater Lafayette area has felt like home.
“The Greater Lafayette area has been so welcoming to me beyond anything I have ever expected,” Jackson said. “This has been a wonderful experience better than anything I could ever think of or even imagined. It’s been an honor to be here in the area. WLFI offered me a wonderful opportunity to come to Lafayette and I’m glad I’m here.”
Jackson is the first African-American male anchor in the Greater Lafayette television market in recent memory. He said the values his role as role model and recognizes the importance of diversity in the community.
“Growing up in Pittsburgh and Chesapeake you realize how important it is,” Jackson said. “My family, especially grandmother, would always tell me that possibilities out there are endless. Seeing other African-Americans on TV helped to put a face to that dream.”
“Jamie brings experience and energy to the morning team,” stated WLFI anchor Jeff Smith on the station’s website. “I really think viewers will enjoy our news team even more.”
WLFI general manager Marc Elliott added on the website: “We are excited to have Jamie join our morning team. Adding Janie solidifies our commitment to morning news in the community.”
Jackson holds a justice studies degree from James Madison University and is currently pursuing a master’s in practical theology and an MBA from Regents University. Jackson admits those current studies puts free time at a premium.
“I came to a decision to do both because of my involvement in the church and a business I started and wanted to have the educational foundation to go along in both,” Jackson said. “It’s a complicated process, especially with a job that’s more than the average eight-hour work day, but education is extremely important to me. It can allow you to do so many great things.”
Jackson said his favorite story at WLFI so far was actually a series of stories he did on African-American history in the area. He said he didn’t realize in the beginning how much people would value the series.
“I don’t think many people know how rich and how deep black history is here in Lafayette area,” Jackson said. “We highlighted the black church, black professionals and business owners, professors and all kind of people doing great things in the area. It was a great idea from our management. People stopped me from all races and to tell me how much they enjoyed that information. I had no idea how much of an impact that would have.”
Jackson said he’s grateful for the opportunity to do good journalism in this area and looking forward to telling more stories that enrich the area.
“I just want to thank the Lafayette community for all of their support,” Jackson said. “Everything has been great.”