WJCT Public Media Expands Local Journalism Initiative with Support From the Jessie Ball duPont Fund and Report for America

Media Contact:
Neily Braren
Promotion & Marketing Associate, WJCT
904.318.2633 | nbraren@wjct.org


$300,000 grant and placement of new reporter accelerate growth of Jacksonville Today

May 18, 2022 — JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — WJCT Public Media today announced the expansion of its Local Journalism Initiative through a $300,000 grant from the Jessie Ball duPont Fund and the placement of journalist Will Brown as a Report for America corps member.

The grant from the Jessie Ball duPont Fund Equity and Placemaking Donor Advised Fund will support the growth of Jacksonville Today, a digital-first, nonprofit local news source focusing on the First Coast. Jacksonville Today launched as a weekday newsletter in October 2021, and will expand to a full website later this year.

“Our collective ability to listen to, acknowledge and incorporate diverse voices is imperative to the future success of the Jacksonville community and to our democracy, and investing in public and independent news organizations is a critical component. We applaud WJCT’s commitment to engaging local citizens through Jacksonville Today, and appreciate the opportunity to partner with their newsroom to grow their reach and impact,” said Mari Kuraishi, President of the Jessie Ball duPont Fund.

This grant brings the cumulative funding secured for the Local Journalism Initiative to more than $1.8 million, nearly 75% of the organization’s $2.5 million goal. This funding has helped WJCT Public Media expand its newsroom along with its digital and business capabilities, all necessary ingredients in the creation of a sustainable non-profit local news service.  

The nonprofit newsroom most recently welcomed Will Brown, a veteran Northeast Florida journalist who was placed with WJCT Public Media as a member of Report for America’s 2022-23 reporting corps. WJCT Public Media is one of almost 70 new host newsroom partners for 2022, helping to grow a program that now includes 325 journalists placed in 270 local news organizations across the nation. 

Brown’s reporting for Jacksonville Today will focus on race, inequality and poverty. Prior to joining WJCT Public Media, he covered transportation, logistics and sports business at the Jacksonville Business Journal. Brown spent more than a decade as a sports reporter at The St. Augustine Record and the Tallahassee Democrat in Florida, and at the Victoria Advocate in Texas. His work has earned awards, including the Morris Journalism Excellence Award for social media, and honors from the Texas Associated Press Managing Editors for his breaking sports news coverage. Brown holds a master’s degree in digital journalism and design from the University of South Florida, St. Petersburg. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, photography and soccer.

“Local journalism is vital to any strong democracy. With the support of partners like the Jessie Ball duPont Fund and Report for America, Jacksonville Today is rapidly becoming a must-read authority on the deep issues affecting Northeast Florida,” said David McGowan, President and CEO of WJCT Public Media.

To learn more and subscribe to the Jacksonville Today newsletter, visit jaxtoday.org.


About WJCT:

WJCT is the community-owned and operated public media organization serving Jacksonville and the First Coast since 1958, using television, radio, digital media, and live events to help community members learn, share, and grow. For more information on WJCT’s in-depth programming content, log on to WJCT Online at wjct.org. Like WJCT on Facebook (facebook.com/wjctjax) and follow WJCT on Twitter (@WJCTJax) and Instagram (@WJCTJax).