Katherine Hobbs



Katherine Hobbs joined WJCT as a journalism intern in May 2020. She is seeking bachelor’s degrees in journalism and English. 

Born in London, England, Katherine has lived across the United States since 2001 with the First Coast serving as her home base. Her bylines include Jacksonville MagazineAutism Parenting MagazineEU JacksonvilleExclamation! Magazine, and others. 

Katherine grew up listening to WJCT and is thrilled to begin her broadcast career with her favorite NPR affiliate station.

Trump and Biden

Turnout has been strong for early voing in Florida. More than 4.8 million Floridians - a third of the state’s registered voters - had already voted by mail or at the polls by Friday morning.


Fletcher High School and Douglas Anderson School of the Arts will remain closed thru at least next week, due to outbreaks of COVID-19. Officials from the Duval County Public School (DCPS) board said it had no choice but to shift these schools to virtual learning because of the percentage of positive cases.



As COVID-19 cases rise in Florida, state leaders are at odds over how cases and deaths are tracked. The statistics are used to inform policy decisions, such as the state’s phased reopening.




Wednesday night, First Coast voters heard from four congressional candidates at two events.


Meanwhile, President Donald Trump and Democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Biden are courting Florida voters with a virtual Town Hall and campaign stop in Miami, respectively.



AP Photo/Alan Diaz


On Monday, which was the deadline to register to vote in Florida,  the state’s voter registration website crashed. Governor Ron DeSantis extended the registration deadline to this past Tuesday at 7 p.m., but voters’ rights groups sued, arguing voters should have more time. 




On this week’s Friday Media Roundtable, we discussed some of the top stories in Northeast Florida, including:


Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jacksonville Jaguars and Mayor Lenny Curry’s administration are brokering a deal to finance Shad Khan’s proposed development of Lot J near TIAA Bank Field.

AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee


Late last week, Governor DeSantis reopened the state for business under Phase 3. Among other things, that means that most restaurants and bars can now be open at full capacity. He also eliminated fines against anyone ticketed for breaking local mask orders.

(AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

On this week’s Friday Media Roundtable, we discussed some of the top stories in Northeast Florida, including:

Electrify America


This week is National Drive Electric Week, a nationwide celebration of the many benefits of all-electric and plug-in hybrid cars, trucks, and motorcycles.






This week, students at Duval County Public Schools (DCPS) who opted for in-person education returned to brick and mortar school five days a week. Parents continue to express concern over the DCPS COVID-19 dashboard and say they want more information as schools continue to quarantine students and employees who have been exposed to a classmate or colleague with the virus

Sky Lebron / WJCT News May 2020 file photo



With less than six weeks until Election Day, Gov. Ron DeSantis has proposed new legislation outlining stiffer penalties for violent protests.



On this week’s First Coast Connect with Melissa Ross’ Friday Media Roundtable, we discussed some of the top stories in Northeast Florida, including:

The Daydream Library Series

Thurston Moore, co-founder of Sonic Youth, an avant-garde band whose "artful noise" influenced an entire generation of alternative and indie rockers, will release his seventh solo album, By the Fire, Friday, September 25.


President Donald Trump is holding a rally in Jacksonville Tuesday night, Sept. 24. Anyone who attends must sign a waiver acknowledging that they run the risk of contracting COVID-19 and cannot sue the president or his campaign if they get sick. 

Sky Lebron / WJCT News


Professors from the University of North Florida and Florida State College at Jacksonville have formed a coalition of academics to work with other local advocates to ask the mayor and City Council to pass the “People’s Budget” for Jacksonville.


Gerald Herbert / Associated Press

Four months’ worth of rain fell in just four hours in Pensacola on Wednesday as Hurricane Sally hit the far western portions of Florida. The Category 2 storm resulted in rescue efforts to save Floridians from storm surge and floodwaters. Tens of thousands in the Panhandle remain without power as more rain threatens the area this weekend.




On this week’s First Coast Connect with Melissa Ross Friday Media Roundtable, we discussed some of the top stories in Northeast Florida, including:


A voter casts his ballot
David J. Phillip / Associated Press


Florida has spent tens of millions of dollars to increase voting security since the 2016 election. Every county in the state has been audited. Five full-time cyber specialists have been hired. And nonpartisan groups are preparing responses to a variety of scenarios should Election Day chaos ensue.

Associated Press


Editor’s Note: The Florida Roundup experienced technical difficulties during Friday’s program.


In the final months of the presidential race, Florida’s Latino voters are a focus of President Donald Trump's and Democratic Presidential Nominee Joe Biden's attention, as Marist polling shows that this critical and diverse demographic could swing the election.



On this week’s First Coast Connect with Melissa Ross Friday Media Roundtable, we discussed some of the top stories in Northeast Florida this week, including:


AP Photo/Lynne Sladky

As the 2020 presidential campaign heads into its final stretch, activists in Duval County are demanding increased access to mail-in ballots.

AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee



On Friday’s program, we discussed how Florida is preparing to vote in the presidential election during the pandemic. One of the areas we focused on was vote-by-mail.





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




On Tuesday, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced that some long-term care facilities would be able to reopen to visitors. The Safe and Limited Re-Opening of Long-Term Care Facilities task force informed his decision.


We spoke with Marty Goetz, CEO of River Garden Senior Services in Jacksonville, who notes that “compassionate visitation, which is discussed in the revised emergency rule, was always in the governor’s original emergency order.”


“We have been using it sparingly here at River Garden,” Goetz said.


Goetz said he expects a vaccine against COVID-19 will be the most effective tool in stopping the spread.


“The governor talked about feeling a pit in his stomach last March, as he ordered nursing homes to begin banning visitation. I hope Gov. DeSantis felt that same pit in his stomach when he refused to order mandatory wearing masks in Florida. Because absent a vaccine; masks, social distancing, and hand washing, I mean [they are] the three most effective tools available to us, that has not changed. As far as the governance or revision, I was expecting that he would be including testing, because testing in communities such as mine are the only way you can get ahead of this fire,” Goetz said.


Attorney Steve Watrel, who specializes in issues related to long-term care facilities, also joined us.

Watrel said he believes that visitation can happen safely if facilities, visitors, and caregivers comply with the rules.


“I think the governor here was trying to strike a balance...right now there’s a risk,” said Watrel.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis during a news conference at the University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine and Heart Institute Monday, Aug. 31, 2020, in Tampa.
Chris O'Meara / Associated Press

Gov. Ron DeSantis has once again extended his moratorium on evictions and foreclosures connected to COVID-19 hardships for one month.


It’s the first of the month, which means for many that the rent is due. But many Floridians can't afford to pay their rent, due to coronavirus-triggered economic hardships. Stout, a global research firm, predicts that 749,000 Florida renters face the risk of eviction over the next four months.