Wilton Jackson: student, brother, leader

Wilton Jackson is a junior broadcast journalism major at Southern Miss. His campus celebrity status comes from being the a voice on WUSM’s Southern Miss Today, a news and sports writer for The Student Printz and a friendly face in several student organizations on campus.

Jackson is a native of Jackson, Miss. and chose Southern Miss because he wanted to be close to home, but also because of the financial opportunities.

“Southern Miss was one of many schools [that] offered me a good scholarship,” he said. “I heard great things about the Luckyday Citizenship Scholarship program [and] I was granted the wonderful opportunity to be a part of such a prestigious scholarship program.”

Jackson has always had a passion for sports, since he was 5 years old. He grew up watching various sports programs and enjoyed watching the anchors discuss his one of his favorite topics.

“They made sports seem fun, exciting and interesting,” Jackson said. “…In my mind, I felt, why not combine the two things I like to do: play sports and discuss sports with other people.”

That’s part of the reason he chose Southern Miss to continue his education.

“The Mass Communication and Journalism program was ranked in the top 10 percent across the nation,” he said.

Jackson counts his father and his sister as two of his biggest supporters and has looked to them when he felt discouraged. He said his father has instilled the ideals of dedication, perseverance and motivation in him.

“He fully understands and reassures me what it means to be successful and what it takes to get there,” he said.

His sister has also played a pivotal role in his life, essentially helping to raise him while his father, a retired Army Lt. Col., was deployed during most of his childhood.

“She put herself in a position to really help me become who I am today,” he said.

Jackson also credits student organizations Southern Style, Student Government Association, Residence Life and Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. with helping him to achieve his goals.

“They have allowed me to truly work with some great students, faculty and administrators on campus,” he said. “[Being a member] has also allowed me to assist students and network with other [students] from areas across the country.”

Upon graduating in May 2015, Jackson plans to work at a mid size news outlet as a sportscaster. He doesn’t discount eventually returning to school for graduate work.

“I would love to attend The University of Georgia for graduate school,” he said. “They have a wonderful program.”

He does give some advice to students looking to pursue a career in media.

“It is good to gain as much experience as possible through various platforms whether [it’s] print, social media, broadcast, photography or design,” he said. “This will be crucial in making yourself stand out against competition in terms of looking for employment after college.”

“Most importantly, keep an open mind and willingness to perfect your craft from constructive criticism,” he added.