IN THE NEWS: What’s The 411?

Best Local Journalist

Katie Jeffries

First Coast News anchor, traffic reporter and news reporter Katie Jeffries has always had a passion for journalism. From a young age, Jeffries parents believed she would grow up to be a lawyer or a writer because of her love for investigating, debating and writing stories. She more than surpassed their expectations by becoming an investigative journalist and even being voted Jacksonvile’s Best Local Journalist.

In May of 2017, Jeffries created an investigative series called “Unsolved” which profiles Jacksonville’s cold cases. In 2019, the series earned her an Emmy (one of three she’s won) and in 2020 the series directly led to the solving of a missing persons case in Jacksonville Beach. 

Since the beginning of her career, Jeffries has made a name for herself in Cincinnati, New York City and now Jacksonville. She’s won multiple awards for her work and covered numerous national stories from hurricanes to murder trials. 

Jeffries’ passion to tell stories that matter is so strong, she drives other journalists to do the same, making her the clear winner for the Best Local Journalist. –Carmen Macri

 

Best TV Anchor

Dawn Lopez

Born and raised in Jacksonville, Dawn Lopez has been a part of our community from day one. And she’s become a part of our homes as an anchor on Action News Jax This Morning and Action News Jax at Noon.

The beloved news personality graduated from the University of North Florida where she worked at the campus radio and television stations. After graduation, Lopez moved to Columbus, Georgia, but quickly realized her home was in Jacksonville. Once she returned to the River City, Lopez swiftly got into the swing of things with Action News Jax. 

Not only is Lopez an award-winning anchor, she’s also an outstanding citizen, giving back to the community through projects like Family Support Services that assists in the adoption of hundreds of children around the area, as well as organizing nonprofit events for local schools and civic centers. 

Turns out Lopez is a golden girl on and off the screen. –Carmen Macri

 

Best Morning Show

News4Jax

There’s something about watching morning shows that takes us back to when drinking coffee along with a newspaper in hand was the norm. Now, it’s not that different except for the part that everyone in Jacksonville is watching the News4Jax Morning show with their coffee. 

Every weekday morning from 7-10 a.m., Jacksonville is greeted with the smiling faces of Bruce Hamilton, Melanie Lawson, Jennifer Waugh, Vic Micolucci, Richard Nunn and Amanda DeVoe who help us start our days with the news we need to know, including weather and traffic reports. “The Morning Show” also features cooking segments, in-studio music performances, celebrity interviews and human interest stories you won’t find anywhere else. The camaraderie between talent is obvious, as is the dedication of the team members behind the scenes who make the magic happen. And the “Best Morning Show” honor truly belongs to all of them. –Ambar Ramirez

 

Best Local Newspaper Columnist

Nate Monroe 

“The Florida Times-Union” columnist Nate Monroe is, once again, Jacksonville’s “Best Local Newspaper Columnist.” Monroe began his career at the T-U as an investigative reporter focusing on goverment, the environment and various other topics. In 2019, he became a metro columnist reporting on some of the biggest stories of the year, many of which he was instrumental in exposing. Since then, he has made a name for himself as a dogged reporter who is unafraid to ruffle the feathers of anyone who is part of the story. –Molly Britt

 

Best Radio Broadcaster

Brian Jordan, 99.9 Gator Country 

A proud Jacksonvillian since birth, Brian Jordan started his radio career with 95.1 WAPE before moving to 99.9 Gator Country becoming the station’s midday host. In addition to playing the hottest songs in country and giving away tickets to see the top country artists coming to town, he brings a fresh perspective to a cluttered radio landscape. He also created and co-hosts a podcast called “On the Pitch” which focuses on the world of soccer without all the “fluff,” as he likes to say. Jordan is not afraid to talk about hot takes and offer his own opinions. He was also recently promoted to assistant program director for WEJZ/WGNE for his hard work and dedication to the company. –Carmen Macri

 

Best School Board Member

Elizabeth Andersen

As they say, the children are the future and what a big responsibility it is to be trusted with educating those who will inherit the Earth. It all starts with education—specifically the Duval County School Board—and the administrators and school board members in whom we trust to prepare our children. Elizabeth Andersen is one of those people.

While Anderson isn’t currently on the Duval County School Board (she served from Nov. 2018 to Nov. 2022), the work and impact she had on the school district earned her the title of  “Best School Board Member.” Andersen is a former educator with Duval County Public Schools, current small business owner of a private mental health practice, and most importantly, a wife and mother. Andersen graduated from the University of North Florida where she earned a bachelor’s of arts degree in English with a concentration in psychology and began teaching in Alachua County before returning to Jacksonville. While teaching in Duval County, Andersen was also working on a master’s degree in mental health counseling. After graduation, Andersen took the leap from educator to counselor, and putting the mental health of students at the top of her list earned her the role of Duval County School Board vice chairman in 2019, Duval County School Board chairman in 2020 and now “Best School Board Member.” –Ambar Ramirez

 

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