Sun | Oct 21, 2018

NBC 'Nightly News' Anchor has Jamaican Roots

Published:Wednesday | June 24, 2015 | 12:00 AM
Lester Holt

Lester Holt, African-American journalist with Jamaican roots, has fulfilled his childhood dream of occupying the late Walter Cronkite's chair. That dream became a reality on Monday night after a career that that has taken him from a CBS radio affiliate, to MSNBC and now NBC.

His assignments have seen him in diverse locations from: Northern Ireland, Somalia, and Kuwait to Lebanon, Haiti, and Japan as he delivers the news in his uniquely calm and professional style. He has been described by peers as a 'fireman' because of his quest to go wherever the news breaks in order to get the story ( .

What makes this special for Jamaica is that the 56-year-old Holt's maternal grandparents are Jamaicans and he is the first solo black anchor of NBC's 'Nightly News' - one of three major evening newscasts in the competitive American broadcast-journalism landscape.

Also, Holt's biographical data states that, in 2007, the producers of 'Today', asked him to do something special with his mother for Mother's Day. With television cameras in tow, they arrived in Jamaica, where they toured the property that had been owned by Holt's great, great, great-grandfather, found his ancestor's grave and the house where his grandmother and her siblings were raised.

Holt's grandparents had left Jamaica for the United States before his birth, but he received exposure to Jamaican culture during his childhood.

This elevation comes following Holt's stint as temporary anchor since February, after his predecessor Brian Williams had lost the job after his fabricating a story about his experience during a helicopter attack in Iraq had been exposed.

The announcement of Holt's permanent seat in the slot was made by NBC last week but, in an article by Emily Steel, Holt said he was informed of the news before leaving for a vacation in Paris last week.

Steel's article further states that "NBC is in a neck-and-neck race with the ABC evening newscast, with both networks drawing about 7.8 million total viewers during the week of June 8, according to Nielsen data.