Ever since she was a little girl, TV 12 news anchor and reporter Dawn Jones knew in heart she wanted a career in broadcasting. “I was ten years old when I first said I wanted to be a news reporter.” Her inspiration came from watching the television news show “60 Minutes” every Sunday night with her father. She was fascinated with words and intrigued by the stories about people from all walks of life, all over the world. She held on to that dream for years, until she began to notice that there were not many people in broadcasting that looked like her. “I was a curvy girl. I was not a size two,” she said. “I didn’t see images that looked like me on television.” In addition to her own self-doubt, she heard negative things about her career choice. “There were people that told me that broadcasting was a very competitive career and that there weren’t many job opportunities.” Listening to those voices, she thought her ideas of becoming a news reporter were perhaps just a fantasy and that she should consider a more practical career, so she thought about becoming a psychiatrist, “that way I would still be able to listen to people’s stories.”
While considering a new career choice, Dawn took classes in high school in abnormal psychology, but her inner voice was still speaking about her dream. That voice was louder and she just couldn’t seem to abandon her vision of becoming a news reporter. She shared her feelings with her grandmother, the late and former first Lady Martha Curry of Macedonia Baptist Church, where her grandfather, the late Rev. JC Curry, was pastor. Her grandmother’s strong words of faith were the motivation Dawn needed. “If God be for you, then it doesn’t matter if the whole world is against you,” Her grandmother said, “You can do anything you want to do, as long as you have God on your side.” With those words, Jones moved forward in pursuit of her dreams. “I started to believe that I no longer had a second option,” she said. “I started hosting talent shows, getting comfortable with my voice and my look and I learned to love me.” “My grandmother spoke into my life so much that I couldn’t help but to believe in myself.”
Dawn attended Specs Howard School of Broadcasting in Southfield, Michigan. After graduating, she spent 13 years working in radio, including working at Flint’s WDZZ. While most news stations are not seeking to hire those over thirty, when Dawn began working at TV 12 News, she was in her mid-thirties, a wife and a mother. Former manager Jim Bleicher hired her after hearing her on the radio. She was excited about her opportunity, but she didn’t start reporting on air immediately. “Radio and television are totally different,” she said. “I had to get acclimated to working in TV. I started as a news room assistant, and that was more like a paid intern,” She said. “Then I became a producer and I learned how to craft a news show.” One day, her news director asked if she was ready to go on air. “No, I need to lose twenty pounds,” she said. Before long, a year had gone by and she hadn’t lost the weight. After telling her boss once again that she couldn’t do it, she was surprised when she came in to work one day and both her bosses Bliecher and Jayne Hodak gave her on-air reporting assignments. She admits she was nervous. “What if I can’t do it?” she said. Both bosses insisted that she could, and she did. As a news anchor, Jones is very passionate about social issues and telling stories that impact everyday people and their lives, but what Dawn loves most about her career is being able to work in her hometown. “I love representing where I come from.” She attributes her success to her faith. “I have had God’s favor on my life all of my life.” She believes that everything the she’s experienced, from the happy times to unfavorable family issues, helped to shape the woman she is today. “Every experience adds to the sum of the whole,” she said.
Encouragement to Others
Dawn wants young people to know that they can persevere above any adversity. This Flint native proves that you can succeed even when the odds are against you. She wants young people to know that no matter what their shortcomings are, they can achieve their dreams and have their own success story. “We all have our own stories and the only stories we are responsible for is our own,” she says. “It doesn’t mean that you don’t love those around you that may not be doing positive things, you’re just not responsible for their actions.” Dawn knew she had to follow the paths that were best for her life, her own ambitions, and her own dreams and not carry the weight of her mother’s mental health challenges or her father’s legal troubles. “The cycle doesn’t have to repeat,” she says. “It’s all about choices, and the choices we make are going to yield benefits or consequences.” She wants to motivate the young people of Flint to make good choices.
After twenty-five years in broadcasting, Dawn says she is happy about her accomplishments and her choices. Jones balances her career with her family as well—her husband Rodney and their kids, Rodney II, Dymond, Christian, and Courtni have all been very supportive. “I am blessed and I feel worthy to have a great life and a great career.” Dawn is looking forward to extending her career in public speaking with her own event, “Becoming the
Boss of Your Own Brand.”
She holds on to the encouraging words her grandmother spoke and the words of one of her favorite quotes by Erma Bombeck: “When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say ‘I used everything you gave me.”
Telishia Berry is the publisher of Courageous Woman Magazine, The Host of Courageous Woman Radio and the author of The Baptist Junkie.
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