Lester Holt at the NBCUniversal Summer Press Day at Universal Studios on May 2, 2018 in Universal City, CA (Shutterstock)
By Staff Writer, Jamaicans
American journalist and television new anchor Lester Holt was born in 1959 in California. He traces his Jamaican heritage through his grandparents: his maternal grandparents were born in Jamaica. His mother was born in Harlem, and his father was an African American from Michigan. Holt is the first African American to serve as lead anchor on a weekday nightly news television program, the NBC Nightly News. He became permanent anchor of the program in 2015. A poll in 2018 ranked Holt as the most trusted television new anchor in the US. Holt graduated from Cordova High School in 1977 and majored in government at California State University in Sacramento, although he did not graduate. His first broadcasting job was as deejay at a country-western station, where he also reported the news.
In 1981, he worked as a reporter for WCBS-TV in New York City, and in 1982 worked as a reporter and weekend anchor in Los Angeles in KNXT. In 1986, he joined WBBM-TV in Chicago where he spent 14 years as an evening new anchor. Holt hosted Weekend Today in 2005 and reported from various trouble spots like Iraq, Northern Ireland, El Salvador, and Haiti. He went to work for MSNBC in 2000 and joined NBC News full-time in 2004, becoming a substitute nightly new anchor. In 2007, he was named anchor of the weekend NBC Nightly News and held that position for eight years. He is now the current host of NBC’s “Dateline.” Holt has also hosted specials for The History Channel, been a sports reported for NBC’s coverage of the 2008 Summer Olympics, and hosts “Dateline” on the Investigation Discovery television network. Holt has appeared in cameo roles in several films, including “The Fugitive” in 1993 and has played himself on television series like “Law and Order: Special Victims Unit.” He was the announcer of the 2006, 2007, and 2008 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show on the USA Network and featured in “Making Music” magazine. In 2020, Holt made a virtual commencement speech for the 254th graduating class of Rutgers University due to COVID-19.