A Mount Airy graduate is getting what might be considered the opportunity of a lifetime.
Jordan Jackson, a 2013 graduate of Mount Airy High School, will travel to Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, on Monday to work on the set of The Today Show, a production of NBC, during the 2016 Summer Olympics.
Jackson said she is a rising senior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She’s majoring in broadcast journalism, something in which she’s always had a great interest.
“It’s always what I wanted to do,” said Jackson. “In journalism you have the opportunity to meet people, travel and experience new places and cultures.”
NBC and The Today Show have been of particular interest for the former Lady Bear.
“I’ve been so fascinated with the network and the show,” explained Jackson. “It’s been my goal for so long and now it’s happening.”
Jackson said she will serve as one of six production runners for the program. Her tasks will include assisting the on-stage talent and the show’s producers, running scripts, escorting athletes to the set and even going out on different assigned “shoots.”
She said she will be on set for the broadcasts, but much of the work will come long before cameras start rolling.
“We have to move everything, get set up and get acquainted with the area” prior to the arrival of remaining Today Show staff members, said Jackson.
Of course, Jackson knows a little bit about being an athlete after winning state 1A tennis titles both as an individual (2011) and as a team (2011 and 2012).
Jackson will head to Rio on Monday and stay there for four weeks to support the show.
“I’ve never been to South America. I’m excited to experience the food and the culture,” said Jackson. “I’ve never been to an Olympic games, so I don’t really know what to expect. I think it will be a crazy and exciting atmosphere.”
Though this may be Jackson’s most exciting opportunity since beginning her schooling, it’s not her first. She said it’s been a long road to this point.
She completed two or three internships in New York before getting an internship her sophomore year of college with The Today Show and NBC Nightly News. She said the internship with the show, of which she has longed to be, a part set the foundation for the Rio opportunity.
“I met a wonderful lady who became my mentor,” explained Jackson. “She encouraged me to apply for Rio.”
Jackson said her education and the opportunities which have presented have further cemented her plans for the future, as she hopes to have a long career in broadcast journalism following the completion of her education at Chapel Hill.
For now, though, she’s focused on the opportunity on the set at Copacabana Beach, experiencing the culture of Brazil and enjoying her front-row seat to the Olympics.
Andy is a staff writer and may be reached at 415-4698.