Jackson died Friday at age 66, family said. During rehabilitation from his stroke, he was diagnosed with laryngeal cancer. Surgeons had to remove his throat box, with cancer cells finally silencing his calming voice.
Jackson had a 40-year career in broadcast journalism and became part of the NBC4 family in 1994. When he left the air, he was anchor of the 6 and 11 p.m. newscasts with Colleen Marshall. In addition to anchoring the news, he was known for fighting to get answers and results for those across central Ohio through his Better Call Jackson reports.
Jackson, a native of West Virginia, graduated from West Virginia State College. After stops at TV and radio stations in Charleston and Oak Hill, he came to Ohio and worked at Channel 6. He left the area to become evening anchor for the former NewsChannel 8 in Washington, D.C., then returned to Columbus to join NBC4.
He received a first-place award for reporting by the National Association of Black Journalists in 1993. Other honors included four local Emmy nominations for reporting and two second-place awards for reporting by the Society of Professional Journalists. He was also awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award from The Tribute to African American Committee.
After his stroke in January 2019, Jackson focused on recovery and rehabilitation.
“It’s a simple thing, like walking, that we all take for granted,” Jackson said in 2019. “There is a sequence to walking that I never realized before. Retraining my brain to do things at certain times. We take all this for granted. The brain is the main computer of the body. And it’s not just the physical rehabilitation, but also the neuro, try to get it all reconnected again.”
In November 2022, Jackson revealed his cancer diagnosis and the removal of his voice box. Knowing the end was coming, he shared the news with NBC4 viewers but continued to keep others at the forefront of his thoughts.
“I had a career where I used my voice for more than 40 years of employment, public speaking and helping others. This was very hard for me to come to terms with,” Jackson wrote. “At the James Cancer Hospital, I would whisper a soft prayer for those in the hospital. There is little time for self-pity. … I realized there are other brave souls fighting a different cause.”
Jackson was known as a storyteller for viewers of NBC4. He was known as “Big Mike” to those in his family. He is survived by his wife of 45 years, Dawn; two daughters, Nicole Jackson Tubbs and Courtney Jackson Earlwine; nine grandchildren; and a cousin whom he viewed as a brother, Norman “Eddie” Jackson.
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On Tuesday, Nov. 14, friends and family said final goodbye to former NBC4 anchor Mike Jackson. His family has given NBC4 permission to show his funeral service, which you can watch in the video player below.