Jay 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…
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