It was sometime in June 2011 that Metro Jacksonville initially reached out to Channel 4 (WJXT). They were on our short list of potential media partners.
Our proposition was as simple as a Craigslist ad:
As a result, we went on many lunch dates with multiple media companies. One of them, of course, was with a stalwart media outlet, Channel 4 aka WJXT.
Bob Ellis, Vice President/General Manager, deserves the first round of kudos for his foresight and overall brightness. Hes led WJXT wisely and deserves credit for being at the helm of the strongest local news station in our community. WJXTs online platform News4Jax.com by far, exceeds, in terms of visitors and content (and every other variable), that of their direct competition.
Kent Justice, WJXT reporter, preparing to interview Stephen Dare and Arash Kamiar (not seen) for the WJXT Sunday morning show, announcing the partnership.
Bob, did not sit still as this thing called the Internet introduced itself to the world, Hi, Im the Internet dont ignore me. Seriously, you really dont want to ignore me! WJXT responded accordingly while MOST other Jacksonville media outlets have only now decided to properly introduce themselves to the internet, Hi, you were right. Sorry, we ignored you."
Our meetings with Bob were insightful. He was always willing to share his thoughts and experiences, as were we. To say the least, we hit it off. We had a few good dates and we were hopeful that there was more to this relationship than a good conversation. We just needed to figure out how we could move forward and create something a little deeper. Enter Steve Patrick, managing editor of News4Jax.com
Steve Patrick is a mustachioed, knowledgeable and good-hearted individual who has that rare talent (or is it a skill?) to push through the BS. He knows how to start, manage and complete a project. A few rounds of brainstorming with Steve and the WJXT team brought us to where we are today (and where we will be going in the next few months). As our official news partner, News4Jax.com will distribute MetroJacksonville.coms content on their site.
The goals of the collaboration are mutually beneficial.
For MetroJacksonville, it allows us to catapult our message and ethos of history and civic involvement out there to a much larger audience.
For WJXT, we provide content that is 'evergreen'--meaning that many of our stories are not time or deadline dependent. The history of a neighborhood doesn't change and will always be interesting to the people that live in the area.
In the age of the 24 hour news cycle and the 'if it bleeds, it leads' philosophy, many news teams around the country do not have the staff or infrastructure to devote hundreds of hours of analysis and research to larger issues like development patterns or transit or historic fabric. MetroJacksonville does that well: It is built into our DNA. We will give WJXT viewers a reason to stay on their site for a few more minutes and click onto content which will never get old or outdated. It will be a nice contrast to the breaking news, weather, and crime coverage that Channel 4 excels at.
The board at metrojacksonville, mindful of Channel 4's long history of community activism and broadcasting citizenship felt that it was also philosophically a good match, considering the civic passion that fuels so much of our own content, and we are proud to join the long and storied history of WJXT.
Finally, WJXT is an independent station that is owned by Post/Newsweek, and we hope to develop a larger partnership with the other Post/Newsweek properties as we expand our mission to other cities.
Throughout the week Metro Jacksonville will format some of its content to WJXTs standards and practices for distribution on a Metro Jacksonville branded page on WJXTs website. And, in the next few months, we will begin to produce video segments for their television and online portals. Well make an announcement when that occurs of course.
News4Jax.com is one of the most successful websites in our community. Receiving page views that are in tens of millions, on a monthly basis (and thats probably under estimating their numbers). Thats significant amplification for the Metro Jacksonville community. Which means a lot of amplification for our site users, you.
Where MetroJacksonville.com is located on the News4Jax.com menu bar.
MetroJacksonville.com will also have their own "box" on the News4Jax.com home page.
Metro Jacksonville is comprised of leaders, from college students, to business professionals to stay-at-home moms/dads regardless of your current slot in life we know that community influencers come to MetroJacksonville.com. More people in the community will hear your voice as a consequence of this partnership. Thats exciting.
Were looking forward to working with WJXT in the coming years. There are definitely more ideas brewing about how we can work together on various projects. We think this is the start to a very productive relationship and we look forward to seeing the fruit of everyones hard and creative work.
MetroJacksonville.com's page on News4Jax.com.
Check out the MetroJacksonville.com branded page here
Check out News4Jax.com here
Text by Arash Kamiar and Stephen Dare