Heather Schatz

Talk Show Producer

Heather spent close to 10 years at CBS News in New York City, where she worked for CBS Network Radio, CBS This Morning and The Early Show, producing news and feature stories for television and radio. While there, she was nominated for a national Emmy Award for a feature series and received National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Certificates of Recognition for the reporting of the September 11 events and the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster.

Since returning to Florida in 2007, Heather has worked as the communications director for Best Buddies International and the National YoungArts Foundation and as a communications consultant for a number of businesses. 

She is also a long-standing member of the Writer’s Guild of America, East, and contributes to Edible Northeast Florida magazine. Heather has a master's degree in journalism and mass communications from New York University and a bachelor's degree in public policy from Cornell University. 

Heather lives at the Beaches with her husband and two children.

AP Photo/Elise Amendola


On this week’s program, we took a closer look at voting in Florida and how the election might play out here this fall.

UF Health

As coronavirus cases keep mounting in Florida, hospitals are working to manage their COVID-19 wards.

AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee

On Friday, the state once again restricted the sale of alcohol in bars, to help try and slow the spread of coronavirus. That means that many bars, breweries and nightclubs either had to switch back to to-go only service, or shut down altogether again.

Ryan Ketterman / Via Winn-Dixie

Jacksonville-based supermarket chain Winn-Dixie is getting national attention due to its name. The word “Dixie” is a nickname for the Civil War-era South. 

The "River Runner" bronze statues in front of The Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront hotel are pictured with face masks in this May 9 photo. The Hyatt is the largest and closest hotel to the site of part of the RNC.

Some are calling for a citywide mask ordinance ahead of part of the Republican National Convention (RNC) in Jacksonville this August.

AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee



On Wednesday, the state saw its largest single-day increase in coronavirus cases



A new poll conducted by UNF’s Public Opinion Research Lab shows widespread local opposition to the Republican National Convention coming to Jacksonville this summer, as well as increased levels of concern over coronavirus and its effects. 

The Jaxson

Protests continued in and around Jacksonville - and around the country - this weekend.


The head of Duval County’s Republican party says Jacksonville has an “excellent chance” of landing the GOP’s national nominating convention in August.

Sky Lebron/WJCT

The U.S. Surgeon General said Monday to expect new outbreaks of the coronavirus resulting from the nationwide protests - protests that have seen thousands of people gather in close proximity - over the death of George Floyd.

Melissa Ross/ WJCT

Thousands of protesters took to the streets in Jacksonville on Saturday to demand justice for George Floyd and transparency around the police-involved shooting deaths of three black men in the city over the last six months.

Ron Rothberg/RonRothberg.com


A new piece of public art is coming to life in Avondale, thanks to some Douglas Anderson graduates and resident Ron Rothberg.

AP Photo/Lynne Sladky

Wednesday morning, we took a closer look at the global movement to encourage everyone to wear masks with Jeremy Howard, co-founder of the #Masks4All movement.

AP Photo/David Goldman, File

Adults aren’t the only ones who may be feeling more anxious than usual due to COVID-19.

Heather Hailstones

Jacksonville artist Heather Hailstones' work is about to appear on close to 50,000 cans of beer.

Marvin Meyer/Unsplash

A Florida International University student has filed what is at least the third potential class-action lawsuit seeking refunds for students in the state university system. He says online classes are inferior and not worth the price of tuition he’s been paying.

AP Photo/Steven Senne

On Wednesday’s program, we took a closer look at the jobs and employment situation in Northeast Florida with Tim Gibbons, Editor of the Jacksonville Business Journal; and Ron Whittington of CareerSource Northeast Florida.

hands holding a box of Narcan spray
Matt Rourke / Associated Press

Duval County saw a 25% increase in overdose 911 calls from mid-March until now, year over year.

AP Photo/Matt Rourke

The COVID-19 pandemic is sparking growing concerns about the nation’s food supply chain for meat and other items.

AP Photo/Matt Rourke

The COVID-19 pandemic is sparking growing concerns about the nation’s food supply chain, particularly with shortages of meat, but also with other items.


The shooting death of an unarmed black man in South Georgia is making news around the world.


As the battle against coronavirus takes its toll on the global economy, one industry that has been hit particularly hard is aviation. In the United States, major carriers have seen passenger numbers and revenue plummet. 

A food server wears a protective face mask as he delivers food to customers.
Chris O'Meara / Associated Press

Family physicians are often the first line of health care providers that patients turn to when they present with COVID-19 symptoms. 

Heather Schatz/WJCT

On Monday's program, we took a closer look at the workplace issues around today's gradual reopening of the state with Jacksonville attorney Tyler White. He is a principal with Jackson Lewis, and specializes in employment issues. 



This week Gov. Ron DeSantis announced his Phase One reopening plan, which will take effect across most of the state (with tighter restrictions remaining in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties, where over half the confirmed COVID-19 cases and deaths are located) on Monday, May 4.

Sky Lebron/WJCT

On Friday’s episode of First Coast Connect with Melissa Ross, our Media Roundtable discussed some of the biggest stories impacting Northeast Florida this week, including:

Robert Bye on Unsplash

On Thursday’s program, we took a closer look at how the coronavirus pandemic has impacted colleges and universities - and what their summer and spring semesters might look like - with FSCJ President John Avendano.


Owners Allison and Kurt D'Aurizio are pictured outside of 1748 Bakehouse earlier this month.
Renee Parenteau

The coronavirus pandemic has hit the food and beverage industry particularly hard, as restaurants and bars have been closed for in-room dining and drinks for weeks. Many have shifted to takeout and delivery only — some have shut down altogether.