JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — July 20, 2023 — WJCT Public Media announced today that its digital local news service, Jacksonville Today, earned two awards in the 2023 Local Media Digital Innovation Awards presented by the Local Media Association. These achievements give the nonprofit public media organization national recognition for its work on the popular Jacksonville Today newsletter.
Jacksonville Today placed first in the Best Local Newsletter/Email Strategy category, sponsored by Social News Desk. The judges noted the clean and easy-to-navigate design and were impressed by the newsletter’s above-average open rate. The news outlet also placed second in Best Philanthropy Journalism and/or Fundraising Campaign, garnering positive feedback from the judges for developing a strategy that benefited both WJCT Public Media and the news ecosystem of Northeast Florida at large.
“It has been rewarding to see Jacksonville Today being embraced here locally, and now recognized not once, but twice at a national level,” said David McGowan, CEO of WJCT Public Media. “We wouldn’t be able to accomplish this without our loyal readers, a group that continues to grow every day. On behalf of the Jacksonville Today team, thank you for reading, contributing and making it a must-read part of your day.”
Jacksonville Today launched in October 2021 as a newsletter providing independent, non-partisan information that helps readers stay informed, get involved in their community and become more civically engaged — all in a succinct package delivered straight to their inbox at 6 a.m. Every Monday through Friday, readers can start the day with a quick summary of recent news, or go in-depth with links to reporting by Jacksonville Today’s team and a wide range of other news sources. As of July 2023, the newsletter reaches more than 19,500 subscribers. Since October of 2022, Jacksonville Today also has operated the local news website, jaxtoday.org.
The news provided in the Jacksonville Today newsletter and on jaxtoday.org is available to all without a subscription fee. Jacksonville Today’s reader revenue fundraising campaign was awarded second place in the Best Philanthropy Journalism and/or Fundraising Campaign category. The campaign gave readers the opportunity to ensure Jacksonville Today continues to be free for everyone. Funds were raised through digital platforms including email and social media (Facebook and Instagram). Links to donate were embedded into email newsletters and social media posts from November 1, 2022 to December 31, 2022.
This entirely digital campaign (no print or broadcast messaging) was not only a first for Jacksonville Today but also for WJCT Public Media. The result was more than $50,000 raised in support of Jacksonville Today from more than 520 newsletter readers. This qualified for a combined $53,000 in matching funds from NewsMatch and the Jacksonville-based Jessie Ball duPont Fund. With the help of those matching funds, the total raised during the campaign was over $100,000.
“We’re energized by the early success we’ve enjoyed in launching a nonprofit digital news brand,” said Jessica Palombo, editorial director of WJCT Public Media and editor of Jacksonville Today. “Beyond fundraising, it’s gratifying to see our readers engage with our team — and with the local news — on a daily basis.”
Jacksonville Today is supported by individuals, corporations and foundations with an interest in the vital role journalism plays in civic life. Support is provided through the Local Journalism Initiative at WJCT Public Media, along with major support by the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations and the Jessie Ball duPont Equity and Placemaking Fund.
For more information on the Jacksonville Today newsletter and to sign up to receive it, visit jaxtoday.org/signup.
About WJCT Public Media:
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).