Lawrence Jones is the youngest Black solo host of a program on cable news is currently the host of Lawrence Jones Cross Country, which airs every Saturday night on Fox News Channel.
Jones has become renowned for his signature storytelling and “man-on-the-street” segments focusing on the impact of various issues on local communities. He has covered several stories, including the Uvalde, Texas mass shooting, the state of race relations in America, and gun violence in Chicago. Jones, who studied Criminal Justice at the University of North Texas, started his career as an anchor with no intention of being on TV.
It happened when he was in college, playing around with his phone and doing investigative reporting. Now, his show has a sweet spot in covering crime issues that typically do not get a lot of coverage. He uses his background in Criminal Justice and experiences working in juvenile court to cover crime and understand law enforcement lingo. Resident Magazine speaks to Lawrence Jones bout his career transition from criminal justice and law enforcement to becoming a news anchor, his favorite crime TV shows, and how his perspective differs from other new shows, bringing a sense of humanity and patience to the news coverage.
What do you enjoy most about coming to New York every week?
I love the energy of New York, which is different from Texas, where I live. It’s faster-paced, but I also appreciate the slower pace of life in Texas, where it’s just me, my dog, and my family. I get the best of both worlds, even though I’m only in New York for a couple of days each week.
Can you tell me about your career, from criminal justice and law enforcement to becoming an anchor with your own show?
I never dreamed of being on TV; my goal was to become a lawyer. However, while in college, I started investigating stories and creating reports on my phone, and I found that I really enjoyed it. I fell into TV news and never looked back. I love going after stories, and my Criminal Justice background has been particularly useful in covering crime and other issues. The show that I currently host covers all issues facing the country, but we have a particular focus on crime, and my background in law enforcement and working in juvenile court has been helpful in that area.
Do you have any favorite crime TV shows, documentaries, or docuseries that inspired you when you were younger?
I love the initial episodes of “48”, but the person who inspired me the most was Nancy Grace. I now work with her, and we have a great relationship. Nancy taught me to be descriptive in my storytelling and to bring the audience into the courtroom. People sometimes criticize her for being too graphic, but she wants to make sure that her audience understood what was happening.
How does your perspective differ from other news shows, based on your background?
I’m not a traditional prompter reader; I prefer to be out in the field, gathering all the facts for the story and I have the luxury of taking my time to put together my segments as I’m not rushed to get the segment ready for the 9 o’clock news. I’ve covered many crime stories, and I understand the delicate task of reporting on stories where families are still grieving. Sometimes, I spend time with them to gather all the elements of the story and be patient with them as they walk through the process of mourning. I believe that my approach allows me to deliver the news with a sense of humanity.
Does your perspective change when you’re in the field conducting the stories?
All the time. I cover not just crime, but also other issues that the country is facing, such as homelessness, violence, and murders. I can talk with people who have been directly affected by these issues, such as mothers who have lost children to drug overdoses or violence on the street. I’ve learned that you can’t write the script before you go out into the field because sometimes, the story changes depending on what you discover in the scene.
What story has made a lasting impression on you?
One of the most fascinating cases that I covered was the Idaho murders. I did three shows in Idaho, and the case was evolving as I was reporting on it. The killer was still on the scene, and it was a particularly complicated case. The perpetrator was a criminal justice major, just like me, which made it even more impactful.
What do you think is the biggest crisis facing the country?
In my opinion, the biggest crisis facing the country is the fentanyl epidemic. The devastating consequences of this drug are not widely recognized, as people are experimenting with it without realizing its potency. The drugs are often laced and a lethal dose could be the size of a pencil eraser. The fentanyl crisis is not only killing our kids, but also adults and even children, and it is being brought into the country by the same people who engage in human trafficking. It is an enterprise system operated by the cartel. There is a direct correlation between the crisis and what’s happening at the border, and I believe that if more journalists highlight this issue, people will understand the severity of the problem.
There is also a direct correlation to what happened after COVID. These kids were so isolated, and they’ll never be the same and their social skills have changed. They don’t want to go to work anymore, and they did drugs during these lockdowns. A lot of people don’t want to have those conversations, because it forces us to be self-reflective to think, what did we do to our kids?
What advice would you give to the next generation?
My advice to the next generation is to always say yes and be ready to go anytime. By saying yes to new opportunities, you can learn from others and gain valuable experience. Don’t think you know everything, be humble and learn from others who have made mistakes before you. No one owes you anything, and if you don’t say yes, someone else will. Be open-minded, work hard, and take advantage of opportunities that come your way.
I’ve had great mentors such as Sean Hannity, Dana Perino, Lauren Pettersen, who was a producer and now the president of Fox Business, who really pushed me to go out there on the road, learning America and the different facets.
What are your next goals?
I am currently working on a new book now and I’m taking my mother’s advice “to enjoy life” as I tend to be a workaholic. I hope to eventually get married and become a daily show anchor, while still enjoying traveling and being on the road. Another passion of mine is working with special operators, Navy SEALs, Green Berets, Army Rangers, Delta Force operators, to help them transition into civilian life using canines.
How would you describe your fashion style?
My fashion style is diverse, depending on the occasion. I am a huge sneakerhead and have over 200 pairs of sneakers, especially Air Jordans, for streetwear. For professional wear, I prefer British European tailored suits with pocket squares, ties, and oxford shoes. I also love double-breasted English bespoke suits. In Texas, I wear cowboy boots and Levi’s with flannels, clean T-shirts with a bomber jacket, or anything Ralph Lauren Purple Label. I shop at Bergdorf Goodman and my favorite designers are Tom Ford and Ralph Lauren Purple Label.