Ryan Benk

REPORTER / HOST "Indie Endeavour"

Ryan Benk joined WJCT News in 2015 after working as a news researcher and reporter for NPR affiliate WFSU in Tallahassee.

Originally from Miami, he graduated with a bachelor's in English literature from Florida State University. During his time in Tallahassee, Ryan also worked as a policy and research analyst for legislative-research firm LobbyTools.

When he’s not tracking down news, Ryan likes watching films, writing fiction and poetry, and exploring Florida's natural beauty.

Ryan is also the host of "Indie Endeavor."

Mathew105601 / Wikimedia Commons

For the first time since taking on JEA’s Interim CEO position earlier this week, Aaron Zahn felt the fire of a skeptical panel of city council members.

For a couple of hours he fielded questions ranging from the tense and awkward to the polite, but pointed.

Ryan Benk / WJCT News

In his first press conference since becoming JEA’s interim CEO, Aaron Zahn recapitulated his immediate goals for the nation’s eighth largest municipal utility, and the short list doesn’t include continuing a debate about potential privatization. Yet Zahn wouldn’t say how long the privatization “pause” would last.



Instead of going with a proven utilities professional with years of experience at JEA, the electric and sewer company’s board decided Tuesday to appoint a short-term former board member as the interim CEO.

The move follows CEO Paul Paul McElroy’s April 6 resignation.

The board approved former board member Aaron Zahn to be the interim CEO, while allowing current interim Melissa Dykes to serve in some other governing capacity.

Zahn shocked some observers when he resigned from the board after less than two full months to seek JEA’s top spot Friday.

Associated Press

As Jacksonville city leaders are set to consider expanding an opioid pilot program for those already addicted, St. Vincent’s HealthCare is expanding another designed to minimize the prescribing of pain pills.

Ryan Benk / WJCT News

Florida Governor Rick Scott visited Jacksonville Wednesday for the first time since announcing his run for U.S. Senate.

The Northeast Florida pit stop followed the filing of a complaint accusing him of skirting campaign-finance law.

Ryan Benk / WJCT News

How can Jacksonville elected officials make it easier for their constituents to be part of the governing process? That’s the question a new transparency committee started trying to answer Tuesday.



JEA CEO Paul McElroy is stepping down amid growing debate over whether the city should privatize the municipal utility company. He didn’t cite the controversy as a reason for his resignation, though — instead, he cited wanting to spend more time with his family and the need for organizations to evolve over time.


Public utility JEA is on the hook for hundreds of millions more than originally planned under a nuclear power contract, according to an annual financial disclosure CEO Paul McElroy presented to City Council on Thursday.

Ryan Benk / WJCT News

The Florida General Baptist State Convention is planning to march on the state capitol this month.

Wikimedia Commons

An experimental vaccine could be on the market for ovarian-cancer patients as soon as 2022, according to the Jacksonville-based company that makes it.

The River City’s Mayo Clinic is participating in the trials.

Ryan Benk / WJCT News

Tariffs on aluminum will hurt beer drinkers — that’s according to U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL), who took a tour of Anheuser-Busch’s Jacksonville brewery on Monday.

Carlos Bouvier / WJCT

The hull of a ship that may be several centuries old  washed up on Ponte Vedra Beach this week. 

Joslyn Simmons / WJCT News

JEA CEO Paul McElroy Thursday presented the Jacksonville City Council with 22,000 pages of documents in response to their questions about potentially selling the publicly owned utility.

Ryan Benk / WJCT News

Jacksonville’s new Task Force on Civil Rights History is diving deep into the city’s role in the modern Civil Rights Movement.

Exterior of Jacksonville City Hall.
Joslyn Simmons / WJCT

The Jacksonville City Council is expected to vote on several measures Tuesday night touching on issues ranging from business to blight, but by the time bills go up for a vote, that means it’s too late for the public to comment.