Monday, July 19, 2010

Cleared for Take-off...

I never met Richard "Jet" Jackson, but I've been lucky enough to know a few like him: a bear of a man, whose grizzled exterior and ever present lens couldn't hide the huge heart inside. For thirty years, this regional hero covered the trials and triumphs of Oklahoma City for KOCO-TV. But he didn't just go through the motions. Instead he embedded himself with beat cops, wonks and politicians. Among law enforcers, he was a favorite - and not just because he bled the kind of street cred that regularly convinced shackled madmen to confess fresh crimes - on camera! High profile or otherwise, Jet Jackson tackled them all with aplomb and in the process made himself a hero to colleagues and competitors. Sunday, he succumbed to lung cancer and judging from his station's heartfelt goodbye, he'll be missed long after the next walk-down is done. When city leaders stop to honor a fallen photog, you know he made an impression. Richard "Jet" Jackson did just that and his legacy is worth more than a million breathless newscasts. Rest In Peace...


Anonymous said...

A good man... A VERY good man.


M Dillard said...

"Jet" Jackson is a shooters shooter. He was old school a street-wise hustling photographer that loved getting the story ahead of the other guys.

Often if it was not already a Jet exclusive, by the time you got on scene the yellow tape was being rolled up. He was trusted by law enforcement and worked the tips he received better than many so-called reporters.

I always knew when I arrived on scene and saw Richard my workload had just doubled because we would have to pick up some big slack to get on the story.

He was famous for his suspect questioning in the back of a cop car or on the perp walk at the jail. The crews would stay silent just waiting for Jet to begin the gauntlet of questions,,,"Why'd you do it?" "You sorry you did it man?" Sometimes the answers would be confessions and would amaze you.

Despite his gruff appearance Jet was all heart. He cared and would let you know it.

I knew him best covering Oklahoma State University football games. He loved Saturday afternoons even though it was work you got to watch football. Our camera positions were next to one another on the pressbox photodeck so we shared some high fives and some Monday quarterback talk.

Jet was also famous for breaking in the new reporters and photogs from other stations. Many times I watched as he would clown around with the "newbies" if you got tricked by Richard you learned a valuable lesson and you were always a little more street smart for it.

KOCO & Oklahoma City TV have suffered a great loss with Jet's passing. He was a one-man newsroom and one-of-a-kind.

Laks said...

Good to know about guys like Jackson
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