From Rome: Five Questions With NBC Correspondent Jay Gray

jay grayJay Gray is a correspondent for NBC News and has been with the network for 10 years.

He grew up on the sidelines of LSU football games, started his career as a newspaper reporter, landed his first TV job in Lafayette and worked at the NBC affiliate in Dallas before getting his current job.

If a major story breaks, Jay is one of the first people to hop on a plane and head to the middle of it. Whether it’s the massacre at Sandy Hook elementary, a raging snowstorm in the midwest, a disabled cruise ship or Mardi Gras in New Orleans, Jay is a go-to guy for NBC.

Did I mention he’s there for all the big stories? Right now Jay is in Rome covering the selection of a new Pope.

In between votes for the new pope, Jay found time for…

5 qs

SW: You’re on the road a lot for NBC. How often do you travel during the year and what’s your best travel tip?

JG: The travel really varies, and of course is rarely planned. I probably average about 230 days a year on the road, and there was one particularly busy year when I was home only 6 full weeks – Monday through Sunday.

SW: A lot of people think being a network correspondent is all glitz and glamour. What is your most “glamorous” moment?

JG: Since I am writing this looking out over the Vatican it may be tough to have any sympathy for our “normal” conditions. I have learned quickly which rental cars make the best bedrooms. It’s not unusual to sleep in the car, especially during a storm. But I think the most “glamorous” accommodations had to be in Haiti – after staying up for 2+ days trying to get into the country after the earthquake, I had the chance for a couple of hours of “sleep” in a baggage cart, the kind they use to bring luggage to planes – it was next to a running C-130 cargo plane. The tent I got a day or two later was a real step up.. even though roosters would wander inside for an early wake-up call.

SW: Who is the smartest person you’ve ever met? (I’m not eligible since I’m conducting the interview)

JG: I think there are two kinds of smart – street and book. Street smarts had to be Jonathon my “fixer” in Norway after the mass shooting there. He could make anything happen and get us anywhere with a phone call or handshake. He was amazing. Book smart has to be the scientists and astronauts I had the privilege of working with so many years during the shuttle launches and landings – real life rocket scientists.

SW: You only get one question for your dream interview. What do you ask and to whom?

JG: Really unfair to limit me to just one question. Jesus would be my first choice, but if it has to be someone who is a part of the current news cycle I think I would select Pope Benedict and the question would be Why? (Fidel Castro would also be very high on the list – ok you asked for one, I gave you three!)

SW: What’s your favorite thing to do in New Orleans?

JG: Other than watch Scott Walker on WDSU?? It’s always great to get the chance to hang out with family and friends when I get back. And it’s outside the city, but I’m a water guy so I really like climbing into a boat to go fishing or skiing.

Follow Jay on Twitter: @jaygraymatters


  1. Great to hear about life on the road, Jay. I’ve always wondered how the top reporters get from one place to another so quickly and still function on camera. Sleep deprivation, stress, deadlines, and whatever food you can find when there’s no time. It’s funny how some viewers think it’s personal chefs and limos. If only… Keep up the good work, to both of you.

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