Jay Shakur is a Reporter and Fill-In Anchor at WATN-ABC 24 in Memphis TN. He captivates viewers by drawing them in to whatever world is around him at the time. His love for storytelling pays homage to his grandmother. Born and raised on the West side of Chicago, Jay realized very early that TV news would be his passion. Imagine having your after-school cartoons interrupted by your grandmother's addictive routine of watching the five and six o'clock news, without fail! At only 7 years old, his grandmother switched between newscasts on different channels during commercial breaks. So, in many cases, there were no real "breaks". This planted seeds that would eventually grow into his love for Journalism. He one day asked his grandmother "why do we always have to watch the news?" Her answer: "so I can know what's going on". What he didn't know then was that his grandmother, who migrated from rural Alabama in the 1940s, only had a third-grade education. So, watching the evening news every day was, in many ways, how she learned about the world. It's how she knew what was "going on". Over the years he saw her laugh, cry and even talk back to stories she saw on the evening news. It gave a woman, who hadn’t even traveled on an airplane for most of her life, a dignity and a command of current events like none other.
At the age of nine he vividly remembers watching the emotional impact of news, enabling him to discover his love for the English language and the many forms in which it is used to communicate ideas. Jay says “It is the ability to tell a story that humanizes us and connects us. That's ultimately why I decided to pursue a career in Journalism while attending Howard University in Washington DC.”
His big break came interning as a congressional reporter for Northwestern University’s Medill News Service and FOX News. He then landed his first full-time position at KTAL in Shreveport, LA, as a dayside MMJ. From Shreveport to Memphis, Jay has reported on hundreds of stories. From the death of Tyre Nichols to Gun Laws in the state of Tennessee to the abduction of Eliza Fletcher, he noticed this commonality. People want and need a voice.
Jay prides himself in telling stories that truthfully and fully tell the story of the “underdog” and present solutions to the everyday problems of "everyday people". He gives a voice to the voiceless. Jay says, “this is what I have found to be the bedrock of this profession. I have dedicated every career pursuit and every internship or job opportunity to defending the efficacy of this field in both substance and definition.”
Jay credits his viewers for allowing him to participate in community events from local runs/marathons and giveaways to emceeing fundraisers. But his most rewarding titles so far are son, big brother, friend, and mentor. In his spare time, you’ll find Jay spending time with family and friends, serving in his local community and church, reading a good book, and watching classic TV shows and films. He also enjoys listening to jazz, gospel, and classical music.