Peter Haden


Peter Haden is an award-winning investigative reporter and photographer currently working with The Center for Investigative Reporting. His stories are featured in media outlets around the world including NPR, CNN en Español, ECTV Ukraine, USA Today, Qatar Gulf Times, and the Malaysia Star.

He holds a Master of Mass Communication degree from Arizona State University's Cronkite School and bachelor's degrees in Geography and International Studies from the University of Iowa.

After growing up on an Iowa sheep farm, Peter has lived and worked in Ukraine, Chile, Mexico, Washington D.C., Georgia, Arizona and Florida.

His current mission is to tell the greatest stories on earth - in three minutes and thirty seconds.

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Officials have closed a Mayport park while the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers uses it as a construction staging area. 

Helen Cooper Floyd Park, also know as “Little Jetties,” lies along the St. Johns River just west of Mayport Naval Station. The park will be closed for up to two years as the Corps of Engineers begins work on the Mile Point Navigation Project.

Tera Meeks, chief of the City of Jacksonville’s Natural and Marine Resources Division said, "They’ll be removing a little portion of the jetty to restore the natural flow of the water in that area."

Peter Haden / WJCT News

Update: Friday, April 3, 9:10 a.m.:

A cross-party endorsement in the Jacksonville Sheriff race is coming as a shock to the local GOP.

The chairman of the Duval County Republican Party is decrying an endorsement of Democrat Ken Jefferson by Republican former candidate Jimmy Holderfield.

Holderfield, a retired JSO Officer with 33 years on the force, announced his support for Jefferson yesterday, saying he was faced with a tough decision but decided it was best to cross party lines.

Peter Haden / WJCT News

One Spark and Jacksonville city officials announced details of the third annual One Spark festival. "The World's Largest Crowd Funding Festival" runs next Tuesday through Sunday. 

Peter Haden / WJCT News

In a much-anticipated announcement Tuesday, former Republican mayoral candidate Bill Bishop said he’s not endorsing anyone in May’s runoff election. Incumbent Democrat Alvin Brown and Republican Lenny Curry both said they hoped to win Bishop’s support. The non-endorsement wasn't Councilman Bishop’s only announcement.

Peter Haden / WJCT

Florida Gov. Rick Scott was in Jacksonville Monday to send off a Florida Air National Guard Wing on a deployment to Europe.

Two hundred airmen from the 125th Fighter Wing will spend the next six months training in Operation Atlantic Resolve alongside NATO allies.

The Florida National Guard has been deployed 100 times since Sept. 11, 2001. Scott said that’s because they are well-trained and ready to defend freedom.

"This is becoming normal for our National Guard," Scott said. "We are perceived to be the best National Guard in the United States."

County Health Rankings & Roadmaps /

For the fourth year in a row, St. Johns County was ranked the healthiest county in Florida, according to a new report by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and University of Wisconsin. Other counties in the region face challenges to keeping residents healthy.

Northeast Florida’s Union County was ranked the state’s least-healthy, while nearby Duval County moved up two spots to 43rd in the state.

Peter Haden / WJCT News

Jacksonville police are giving hundreds of thousands of dollars they seized during arrests to community groups on the First Coast. The City Council unanimously approved the measure Wednesday.

One organization already announced how it will use the money: to teach young men how to manage conflict before it escalates.

There were seventeen shootings in Jacksonville last week. Operation Save Our Sons Director Bishop John Guns says his organization is dedicated to turning that around. 

A non-profit in Jacksonville Beach is trying to draw more families to the area through a crowdfunding campaign. It’s part of push to clean up the city’s image in the wake of several violent incidents.

Better Jacksonville Beach President Jon McGowan says his group is not out fighting crime, but promoting family events has that effect.

"People don’t go cause trouble where there Mom is hanging out," McGowan said.

He says if they can get more families downtown the troublemakers will go elsewhere.


The Jacksonville Transportation Authority unveiled a high-tech bus-driving simulator Tuesday. It can be programmed for a number of scenarios, including the top three challenges facing bus operators in Jacksonville.

The streets of Jacksonville present some specific challenges to JTA operators, according to Training Supervisor DeWayne Sparks.

Sparks says narrow streets with cars parked on both sides, pedestrians stepping out into traffic and car doors opening are all difficult to deal with when you're driving a 40-foot bus, Sparks says.

Jacksonville voters will choose between Democratic incumbent Mayor Alvin Brown and Republican Lenny Curry in the May runoff election. With mail-in votes remaining to be counted, Brown took 42.9 percent of the vote and Curry took 38.4 percent in Tuesday's first unitary election. 

Republican Bill Bishop and unaffiliated mayoral candidate Omega Allen were eliminated from the race, with 16.6 percent and 2.1 percent of the vote respectively.

Peter Haden / WJCT

Enrollment in health care plans under the Affordable Care Act has doubled in Duval County. Hundreds of thousands of Floridians are now covered for the first time.

During the latest enrollment period that ended last month, Florida surpassed all other states in the number of people covered under the Affordable Care Act with 1.6 million. More than half of those signed up for health insurance for the first time.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Region Four Director Pamela Roshell says an increase in plan options was a factor.


The city of Jacksonville is about to offer more rapid bus service to Northside residents. That's because the Jacksonville Transportation Authority got a boost from the federal government this week. The First Coast Flyer is designed to get you where you're going faster.

The U.S. Department of Transportation awarded JTA almost $27 million for the First Coast Flyer, allowing construction to go forward on the North Corridor Project.


All the candidates for Jacksonville Sheriff met last night in a debate at Jacksonville University. The seven men vying for the office of Duval County’s top cop answered questions about violent crime, race relations, financial management, juvenile justice and gangs.

The candidates are Tony Cummings, Jay Farhat, Jimmy Holderfield, Ken Jefferson, Lonnie McDonald, Rob Schoonover and Mike Williams. Each explained how he would combat gangs in the city.

Holderfield stressed early intervention through arrests:

Peter Haden / WJCT News

A new space for kids to play popped up in a downtown Jacksonville park today. It’s part of a push to attract more families to the area.

Today in Hemming Park, Friends of Hemming Park Director Vince Cavin led the rollout of the new Kid Zone — located in the northwest corner of park.

Cavin said, the Kid Zone is "a play space that encourages learning, social development, movement and lots of fun."

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The city of St. Augustine is monitoring the San Sebastian River after a sewage spill this weekend. A power outage at a city utility station sent thousands of gallons of untreated sewage flowing into the river.

A raccoon shorted out power to a sewer lift station at the end of Helen Street in St. Augustine at around 10 p.m. on Friday. But city crews were not aware of it until 8 a.m. the next morning. They restored power, but not before an estimated 60,000 gallons of sewage flowed into the San Sebastian.