If you had a chance on weeknights to watch Broadcast Journalist Kaci Jones on Rochester’s News 10 NBC, her on-air performances reflect essential attributes commonly shared by broadcast journalists, who’d sustained successful careers.
Such attributes beginning with being good on-air, confident and competent, with the addition of a happy and attractive appearance are journalistic jewels, usually perfected along the road of building a successful career.
However, Kaci, a precocious child, who alerted her parents of her advanced abilities, when she started talking before she was walking is a rare talent.
Let’s meet Kaci, the always inquisitive, 25-years old Rochester newcomer:
SWT: Broadcast Journalism?
Kaci: I wanted to be a journalist at a very young age. I remember watching the news with my parents and looking-up and saying, I think I can do that.
And of ‘course, I was very motivated by Oprah. My goal is to one day have a platform and reach like she did. I love how she got people to open up. And, how she showed different perspectives. And I liked, no matter who they were, they wanted to talk to her. Whether they were racist or sexist, anyone felt comfortable talking to her. I also want people to feel comfortable, when talking to me.
SWT: Could we elaborate more on your goal to host your own talk show?
Kaci: My goal is to entertain, empower and enlighten people. I think it’s important for us to understand the stories of other people. It helps you look at life from a different perspective. Most people don’t have a lot of empathy for other people, so they might look at a homeless person on the street and say, [they’re lazy without knowing their story.]
If you knew their story and understood, how they became homeless, you might identify more with them. And help you identify with anyone else that might be in that person’s shoes.
SWT: You have a great personality. Which parent did you inherit your bubbliness from?
Kaci: I’m a blend of my mother and father. My mom is the more academically grounded. She has master’s degrees in political science and public administration. And she has always ensured, I understood why education is important. I was reading and writing at a young age. But, my dad is the personable one. He has all the personality. And I definitely think, I get that from my dad.
SWT: Why is media the right field for you?
Kaci: From a very young age, I was very passionate about helping people. I was a child, who would look-out the window and see someone on the corner begging and ask to go give them a Happy Meal. Watching the news and Oprah were the first times’ I really saw people helping others. I guess those experiences is what drew me to the journalism field.
SWT: How did your path to journalism start?
Kaci: The first time I used my voice was at 5 years old. My family recorded me on their voicemails. It was my voice on everyone’s voicemails, not mattering if it was my aunts, uncles, mom, or dad. So, I always knew I had a unique voice. And anytime that I could use my voice, I did. Whether it was at church, or in the school, or reading aloud in class.
When I graduated from college, I was already working a job for a non-profit. However shortly after, I decided to start searching for jobs that compliments my journalism degree. I applied for hundreds of on-air positions and only heard back from two. The one that had the better offer was in Williston, North Dakota, a small predominately-white male town, created because of the oil boom.
I’ve always been fearless, in fact my name means brave, vigilant and war, so I wasn’t intimidated by its location. So, I headed up there with the intention of staying, but my dad disapproved.
I went back to Richmond, Virginia and a week later, I got a call from the local station, looking to hire an editor. I did that for 2-months, while actively applying for on-air jobs, before I got a call from a media outlet in Midland/Odessa, Texas.
My dad approved of this place for some reason, I have yet to figure-out, because it was strikingly similar to the previous job offer and town in North Dakota. I worked there for a little over a year, before landing a job here with News 10 NBC in Rochester.
SWT: You came to Rochester in December 2016. How do you like, The ROC?
Kaci: I like Rochester a lot. I went to Florida A&M University, which is a HBCU (Historically Black College). I went from looking around and seeing black excellence, to looking around and seeing no-one that looked like me in Texas. And that was my first real job. So, coming to Rochester was a lot closer to what I was accustomed too. I remember, how happy I was to see a black mayor. It was great to see a diverse population. It was great to see black excellence and black leadership.
One of the first things I’d notice, when I came here was the Rainbow Pride Flags, flying everywhere. In Texas, the thing was Confederate Flags. So, the Pride Flags let me know I was in a more inclusive place, combined with the beautiful paintings everywhere of people of a diverse population, I knew I was in a better place.
SWT: Instead of working: What have you been doing since you arrived in Rochester?
Kaci: I’ve hosted community events. Also, I like eating. And there’s a lot of food options here. And that’s another great thing, I noticed about the city.
The first days of being here, it was a week straight of great food. And it was all black owned businesses. I was just ecstatic about that.
I like the lakes including Ontario and Canandaigua. I like the awesome sceneries and beautiful parks Rochester has to offer, including the Genesee River and High Falls. And of ‘course, I love the festivals. Every week there’s a festival.
SWT: You live downtown, near East Avenue. A party-life district. However, what’s your favorite part of the city to visit?
Kaci: My favorite side of town is not downtown, despite I work and live there. I think, the best part of town for me has definitely been the 19th Ward. So many things to eat, so many nice people. And there’s little places to shop among people that look like me.
I’m always happy to support black businesses and people around me. So, if I had the choice to go out and eat on East Ave or Chili Ave, I’m going to choose Chili.
To contact Kaci regarding any news related event see her contact information on Facebook, Instagram, WHEC.COM, or at Kjones@whec.com or call News 10 NBC.
“I’m very easy to contact,” Kaci said.