By Conrad Dudderar
A Yukon High School graduate has risen quickly to become a well-respected broadcast journalist and familiar face on local newscasts.
Just 25, Storme Jones has taken the Oklahoma City television news market by storm as he chases stories – wherever they lead him and his viewers.
“I have been a news consumer since I was age 7,” said Jones, an anchor/reporter at KWTV-News 9. “This is a passion I enjoy.”
A 2015 Yukon High School graduate, he earned a bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism in 2019 from the University of Oklahoma.
In college, Jones participated in nightly student newscasts and worked at KGOU – the National Public Radio (NPR) station in Norman.
He’s now been at News 9 for a little more than three years, having gotten his start as an intern.
“During my internship, I realized this is a job that I could do,” Jones said. “They hired me right out of college as a multimedia journalist.”
His first story at News 9 came one day after graduating college in May 2019 when James L. Gallogly announced he was retiring as OU’s 14th president after just 10 months.
“It’s just been an awesome ride,” Jones related. “The opportunities I’ve had at News 9 – getting to cover the State Capitol and State Legislature for the past two years.”
Griffin Communications has provided Jones with opportunities to travel to cover stories – such as when he reported on the Presidential Inauguration, Hurricane Ida and Gov. Kevin Stitt’s state trip to Mexico.
Many viewers recognize Jones from his May 2020 reporting of civil unrest in downtown Oklahoma City.
“That was a night I’ll never forget, being called into work and ending up in hours of live coverage until 3 a.m.,” he recalled. “People will still come up to me and say, ‘You’re the guy that got tear-gassed’.”
Jones’ favorite stories cover public policy, and local and state governments.
His newest news adventure is on News 9’s morning show, anchoring the early morning newscast that starts at 4 a.m. He also fills in when the station’s other anchors are off.
Jones is a true professional journalist, much preferring to report on breaking news from the front lines rather than just watching it on TV.
“I have a tendency to want to be in the middle of it, covering it,” he said with a wide smile. “I keep a ‘go bag’ packed. Tornadoes? I’m ready to go.
“It’s fun. I really enjoy my job and, a lot of times, it doesn’t feel like work.”
COMING TO YUKON
Jones didn’t come to Yukon until summer 2013 before his junior year, moving with his family from Kansas to be close to his ailing grandmother. It was a leap of faith because his parents didn’t have jobs when they decided to come to Oklahoma.
That faith was assured by the connections that Jones already had in Yukon – but didn’t even know about.
“I moved from a small town in Kansas and my middle school principal knew Darryl from national Student Council activities,” Jones said.
He was speaking of Darryl Andrews, Yukon’s longtime Student Council and Leadership advisor.
“The first time I stepped in this building, I met Darryl,” Jones recalled upon coming to a high school with about seven times the enrollment of his previous school.
While at YHS, Jones became active in the Yukon Student Council, Special Olympics and Partners Club. During his senior year, he was elected as Student Council president.
He found success in Student Council, attending basic and advanced workshops and earning a President’s Leadership Class Scholarship at OU.
“Storme led by example – in everything from a tornado supply drive to our blood drives,” advisor Andrews shared. “He was excellent. He stepped up and did everything. He was creative.
“Storme cared about the other students and was always interested in what they had to say.”
Interestingly, Jones visited CNN headquarters in Atlanta, Ga. in high school during a national Student Council trip.
Demonstrating his work ethic, Jones also was a teller at YNB Bank during the two years he attended high school here.
Andrews isn’t surprised by the career success that the former YHS Student Council leader has achieved.
“I knew Storme was driven,” the veteran Yukon educator added. “He never stepped back – and went and looked for things. He toured the News 9 station in high school when we had a Student Council member whose dad was one of the directors there.
“I’m so proud of him and the difference that he’s made in people’s lives – not only from the broadcasting side. He takes a personal interest and is invested in volunteering and giving back to the community.”
Jones admits to being a News 9 “groupie” while in high school. And he’s still their biggest fan.
“I did develop a mentorship with Kelly Ogle,” he said. “Kelly’s actually the one who suggested I go into radio; he worked at KOSU in college.
“He told me, ‘Radio will give you a voice and give you a way to synthesize news quickly and concisely and paint a picture with your words’.”
Interestingly, a News 9 reporter came to Yukon while Jones was a YHS junior to interview him for a report about problems with state testing.
Jones was involved in journalism during his high school years as a member of the student newspaper staff.
“When I came down here from Kansas, I was kind of worried about it,” he shared. “It was a big change. But things just worked out better than I could have imagined. The connections were just seamless.”
Erik Jackson, the former YHS journalism teacher and award-winning student newspaper/yearbook advisor, knew Jones’ future was bright.
“Storme is one of the most talented students I had in Yukon,” Jackson said. “He is an incredible writer, and his conviction makes him stand apart from his peers.
“He has limitless potential, and I could not be more proud of him.”
Growing up, Jones preferred staying in the living room with his parents watching the evening news than being outside playing “horse” on the basketball court.
Jones’ parents are mother Shelly Kingery and stepfather Jay, who live in Yukon; and father Robert Jones and stepmother Rhonda, who have a farm near Bartlesville. Brothers are Garrison, Gage and Chase Kingery.
“I have three brothers, and they were the high school athletes,” he explained. “I was the newspaper/Student Council kid.”
While in high school, Jones toured OU and realized he wanted to pursue journalism as a career. He became the first member of his family to attend college.
Jones believes part of what drives him and keeps him grounded is coming from a blue-collar family that include a truck driver, railroad mechanic to oil refinery worker.
He’s proud of his blue-collar roots.
“If I can explain the story I’m doing and its importance to my family – and it makes sense to them and they understand the value in it – I can explain it to anyone,” he shared. “In college, I was so blessed obviously to earn a degree, travel the world and work for an NPR radio station.
“If I can explain my stories to both sides of that ‘world’, then I think I’ve done something right.”
On the News 9’s morning shift, Jones has embraced the chance to report news to people who are getting up and heading to work.
“And anytime I get to cover a story over here, I jump at it,” he said.
Aside from his work, Jones stays “plugged in” to Yukon through his family and volunteering with Route 66-Area Special Olympics. He also works with his former advisor Andrews on Oklahoma Student Council workshops as his schedule allows.
What does the future hold for Storme Jones? Having already moved up the ranks so swiftly, he was asked about his aspirations.
Since his job requires some holiday and weekend work – with long hours, he likes staying close to family.
“As long as I’m in local news, I want to be here in Oklahoma City,” Jones noted. “Griffin Communications and the Griffin family have been so nice to me and given me these opportunities I’m so grateful for.
“I don’t know if I would have trusted a kid my age to be put in these situations. But I’m so grateful for it.”