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First Coast Connect

3/24/2017: Media Roundtable; Generation W: Johnson; James Astill; 'Fences'

  Friday on “First Coast Connect” was are weekly Media Roundtable with Jacksonville Business Journal editor Timothy Gibbons, blogger Fred Matthews and WJCT reporter Ryan Benk. We also spoke with Generation W founder Donna Orender and U.S. Naval War College professor of strategic leadership and leader development Olenda Johnson about next week’s conference. We spoke with Washington correspondent for The Economist James Astill about the rise of modern India, and we spoke with the star of the play “Fences” Shauntel Robinson and director Jereme Raickett. 

Media Roundtable

Our panel talked about Duval County School Superintendent Nikolai Vitti being a finalist to take the superintendent’s job in his hometown of Detroit. Some controversy surrounding Sen. Aaron Bean, R-Fernandina Beach, over him helping a friend’s business obtain $1 million in state funding, and a bill in the Jacksonville City Council that would place a 90-day moratorium on block parties.           

Gen W: Washington  

At the Naval War College, Johnson works to advance leader and ethics development for the U.S. Navy. She advises and supports senior military leadership, develops strategy, co-authors white papers, contributes to general officer steering committees, co-ordinates task execution, and leads team efforts on multiple fronts. She will be one of the speakers at Gen W March 31 at the University of North Florida.

James Astill

Astill said India’s emerging economy, with a population over 1 billion, is set to change the world. He spoke in Jacksonville this week courtesy of the World Affairs Council.


Set in 1950s Pittsburgh, “Fences” follows the story of Troy Maxson, a former baseball player in the Negro Leagues now reduced to collecting trash to make a living. Winner of the 1985 Pulitzer Prize for drama, “Fences” is a heart-wrenching tale of love, ambition, and the struggles of black families in the 1950s. It was made into a movie last year that won a best supporting actress Oscar for Viola Davis. The play runs at Players by the Sea through April 1.    

Producer Kevin Meerschaert can be reached at, 904-358-6334 or on Twitter at @KMeerschaertJax.

Kevin Meerschaert has left WJCT for new pursuits. He was the producer of First Coast Connect until October of 2018.