May 7, 2024
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Cache Valley Daily honored for service to journalism 

As legacy community news organizations shrank and shuttered across the nation during the first decade of this century, the owners of a more than 70-year-old radio station decided to double down on journalism, launching a news website into an uncertain market at a tumultuous time. 


Fifteen years later, Cache Valley Daily continues to report on news, sports, business, community and civic events, and published letters and opinion essays from people across the region. For their service to the community, the website's leaders and staff have been named the 2024 recipient of the Ted Pease Award from the Department of Journalism and Communication at Utah State University.


The award’s namesake and first recipient was the department’s longtime head. Since 2013 it has been given to individuals from Utah who have worked to promote the free and fair flow of information in their communities. The award itself, which is nothing more than a rusty railroad spike, is a nod to northern Utah’s regional heritage — the Golden Spike National Historic Site is about an hour to the west of the university’s main campus — and an important metaphor for what journalists do. 


“Journalists help bring things together,” Utah State journalism professor Matthew LaPlante said. “And that’s what Cache Valley Daily has done. We hear all the time about the death of community news, but it’s proof that while the medium might look different these days, the news media is thriving.”

The website’s editor, Eric Frandsen, agrees.

“I'm bullish on it,” he said. “I know there are some people in the industry who think the sky is falling, but I'm not that way. I think there's a lot of opportunity.” 

Frandsen said the site began when he and his brother, Cache Valley Media Group director of sales Ryan Frandsen, recognized an opportunity to repurpose the news content that was being created by the staff of KVNU, which was founded in 1938 as Cache Valley's first radio station. 

“We were bringing guests in all the time — politicians, people running for office, people from local charities that were hosting a fundraiser, looking for volunteers, whatever — to come on and tell their story on the radio,” Eric Frandsen said. “And we realized we could repurpose that online, but then what we've also discovered is that we can do news stories in longer form online that can help provide news content to KVNU.” 

The company also has nine music stations, and Cache Valley Daily helps those stations “enhance what they're doing to connect with the community,” Frandsen said. "There was just this real amazing synergy behind it.”

LaPlante noted that while northern Utah is a sparsely populated area of the country, it is home to several professional news organizations. “We’re fortunate in that way,” he said. “The more sources that are providing ethical, independent, and accountable news for any community, the better.”

Other former recipients of the Pease Award include sports journalism pioneer Amy Donaldson, school librarian Catherine Bates, cartoonist Pat Bagwell, media veteran Holly Mullen, journalist Tim Fitzpatrick, educator Nancy Williams, political reporter Rod Decker, and editor Charles McCollum.