Photo by Matt Douglas
Contact KY3 Reporter
Always on the run, you can bet Contact KY3 Reporter Jay Scherder has his trusty planner—or five—in tow. A man once envious of NBC’s Brian Williams’ job now has different dreams in his crosshairs: to simply help people tell their stories. As an Emmy winner for his take on Branson’s 2012 Leap Day tornado, Scherder has boiled storytelling down to a science. “I love meeting people,” he says. “Everyone has a story worth sharing. I love hearing those stories. It gives me ambition to be a better person in every aspect of my life.”
By helping tell 417-landers’ stories, Scherder has realized just how many people’s stories go untold—something that has pulled at his philanthropic heartstrings. Always recruiting his coworkers to give back to the community, Scherder is considered a “servant leader” by his peers. He’s also made a name for himself through Springfield’s charity scene as a Lost and Found Grief Center Young Ambassador Board member, Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Man of the Year candidate and volunteer for a number of other causes. A regular to Mother’s Brewing Company’s backyard, Scherder enjoys spending time with his wife, Nicole, and beagle, Fritz. You can catch Scherder on the tube Monday through Friday at 6 p.m. on channel 3. –D.D.
417 Magazine: How would you define the secret to success?
Jay Scherder: I truly do believe success isn’t measured by how much money you make. Success, to me, is defined by how much good you do for those around you. I would rather be remembered as a man who made a difference than a man that had a lot of money. Granted, if Brian Williams decided to retire, I have no problem taking over his job.
417: How did you end up at your current job/profession?
J.S.: My now wife. I was a news anchor in Corpus Christi, Texas when I started dating Nicole (who was in St. Charles, MO at the time). I decided I needed to get back to the Show Me State to be with her. A job at KY3 opened up and I jumped on it as fast as I could! I started as a general assignment reporter, but was promoted to the Contact KY3 reporter position in January 2012.
417: Where do you find passion to do what you do?
J.S.: People. People are amazing. I recently interviewed a man by the name of Patrick Murethi. He created a documentary on dealing with stress and anxiety in violence-laden Kenya. His stories were so inspiring, and you have to wonder, ‘how can I inspire those around me?’ Everyone has a story worth sharing. I love hearing those stories. It gives me ambition to be a better person in every aspect of my life.
417: Are you single/married, and do you have any kids?
J.S.: I am married to my beautiful, wonderful, supportive wife Nicole. No kids yet, but our troublesome, curious beagle keeps us plenty busy for the time being.
417: What are your hobbies (when you’re not working)?
J.S.: I’m a big fan of travel. I like seeing new places, meeting new people and experiencing new things. Occasionally I play golf, but I don’t play as often as I would like. Such is life.
417: Are you involved in any charitable organizations?
J.S.: This has become my real favorite hobby. I am currently on the Lost and Found Grief Center Young Ambassadors Board. In 2013 I was elected co-chair for our annual fall event—Lost and Found Game Day, Tailgating meets Charity. Also new this year, I was chosen as a candidate for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Man of the Year. The campaign runs from April to June. And while it’s not necessarily charity, I always enjoy the lighter side of my job. I love emceeing events for groups like the Ozarks Literacy Council, volunteering for the United Way Day of Caring, or helping kick off the Salvation Army Kettle Campaign. It’s always nice to get out of the office to help people in the Ozarks.
417: Are you a member of any professional organizations?
J.S.: Not that I am aware of!
417: How would you define the secret to success?
J.S.: As cliché as it might sound, I truly do believe success isn’t measured by how much money you make. Success, to me, is defined by how much good you do for those around you. I would rather be remembered as a man who made a difference rather than a man that had a lot of money. Granted, if Brian Williams decided to retire, I have no problem taking over his job.
417: What’s your favorite thing about your career?
J.S.: Oh, the places you’ll go! As the talented Dr. Seuss once wrote, “You have brains in your head, you have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose.” Every day is an adventure. I never know where I am going to end up, who I will talk to or the lessons I will walk about with once I leave.
417: What’s your favorite thing about working in 417-land?
J.S.: I’m not from Springfield, I’m from Bowling Green, Mo. It’s a booming metropolis of 3,000. We have plenty of lovely people up there, but Springfield takes the cake when it comes to kindness. Of course, not everyone is happy to see KY3 show up on their doorstep, but most people are incredibly kind. This community gives and gives and gives and then gives some more. It’s incredible to witness and be a part of.
417: If you could go back and give the high school version of yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?
J.S.: Buy stock in Google! Honestly, I would tell my high school self to be better with money. I made a lot of mistakes as a young’n; a better financial sense early on would have been beneficial.
417: What was your “dream job” at age 5?
J.S.: I wanted to be a doctor for the longest time. There wasn’t a particular specialty I was gunning after, but I wanted the scrubs, the stethoscope, the works… I abandoned that once I realized it involved learning science!
417: List three traits that define a successful career:
J.S.: Impact on society, philanthropic contributions and number of Facebook friends.
417: Why are you a 20 Under 30?
J.S.: A bribe, I’m guessing! I was pleasantly surprised when I found out, but I have to acknowledge the wonderful charities and organizations I’m involved with that work so hard every day. I am honored and humbled with the 20 Under 30 designation, but there are so many people out there do such great work. They allow me to be a part of something special. For that, I am forever grateful.
417: What projects do you have on the horizon at your job that you’re excited about?
J.S.: In the news business we don’t get to plan that far ahead, but I am pushing for a cat fashion show. In all honesty, as a nominee for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s man of the year, I have the pleasure of spearheading some awesome charity events. I’m very much looking forward to working with the community on those and raising money for a good cause.
417: What completed project are you most proud of?
J.S.: Professionally, I am very proud of a story I did on the Joplin High School Orchestra post-tornado. It was deeply emotional and inspiring. It was nominated for an Emmy. Sadly it didn’t win. I was thankful to bring home an Emmy, though, for work I did involving the Branson Leap Day tornado. Personally, I am very proud of the inaugural Lost and Found Game Day event. It was our first event in the history of the Young Ambassadors Board, and we raised nearly $19,000.
417: _____ makes life worth living.
417: A day at work wouldn’t be complete without _____.
J.S.: A hug from a stranger.
417: Ten years from now, I hope I’m _____.
J.S.: Not a zombie.
417: If I won the lottery tomorrow, I would _____.
J.S.: Pay Justin Bieber to stop.
417: The best part about being a 20 Under 30 is _____.
J.S.: We get a party, right?