Student weathers school and work

By By Rachelle Graham

By Rachelle Graham

Robert Jackson doesn’t just study meteorology: he applies it.

Jackson, a senior in meteorology, works as a full-time weather producer, creating graphics for Channel 2 and The Salt Lake Tribune.

“When I was in the 7th grade, I had a job-shadow assignment and had no idea what I wanted to do,” he said, “but that same day, I got a haircut and my barber happened to be Dan Pope’s dad.”

His barber set up a meeting with Pope, which interested him in weather and inspired him to work in meteorology, he said.

Jackson completed an unpaid internship with Channel 2 in high school and put in more than 600 hours of unpaid service into the station.

One of the key elements to getting his job was putting in so many hours to Channel 2. “I made myself invaluable and learned as much as possible,” Jackson said.

He said he does not consider his job “work” because “it is fun to come and predict the weather and create graphics every day.”

At Channel 2, Jackson “looks at numbers and interprets what they mean,” he said. But the main part of his job is to take a forecast sheet and put it in graphic form.

“When Roland Steadham goes on the air, he uses my graphic,” Jackson said.

KSL meteorologist Kevin Eubank worked with Jackson at Channel 2, and said he is a good friend and a “rare breed.”

Jackson is “extremely dedicated,” Eubank said, “he came in all the time, and he never just worked eight to five. Frankly, I think he is the best weather producer in the Salt Lake City market.”

Eubank said Jackson is extremely knowledgeable about meteorology, computer graphics and television in general, which are all necessary to being a good meteorologist.

“He knows the ins and outs of a newsroom,” Eubank said.

Channel 2 chief meteorologist Roland Steadham said Jackson is a “smart cookie.”

“He has a mind like a computer; I don’t say this very often, but he is extremely intelligent. When I ask him to do something for me, he says, ‘that’s easy, I can do that,’ even if it is complicated,” Steadham said.

Jackson said he values his job because of its importance, since Utah is so dependent on the weather.

Lennie Mahler

U meteorology senior Rob Jackson, a full-time weather producer at KUTV News, describes the duties. His job entails behind-the-camera work, such as creating weather graphics and monitoring the live satellite radar.