Cascadia Daily News is a locally owned newspaper created in a brick-and-mortar newsroom in Bellingham, Washington by local reporters, columnists, editors and visual journalists.

CDN debuted online on Jan. 24, 2022, and published its first weekly print edition on March 2, 2022. The newspaper is a publication of Cascadia Newspapers LLC, which is wholly owned and funded by fourth-generation Whatcom County resident David Syre.

We deliver our news throughout the day on our website seven days a week and publish a weekly printed version, available at newsstands and retail locations, by mail to subscribers, and via our print-replica e-edition on Wednesday mornings. We are already at work creating additional ways to bring you the news.

Get the latest news delivered directly to your inbox by signing up for one of our email newsletters.

From our newsroom in downtown Bellingham, we report breaking and enterprise news, opinion, arts and entertainment, sports and other subjects from the Northwest corner of Washington state, including Whatcom and Skagit counties and the San Juan Islands. We are owned, managed and staffed by NW Washington residents who believe the region deserves a news source as unique and engaging as the place where we live.

The news staff at Cascadia Daily News is fully independent, and we know that trust is earned. That’s why we’ve made public our News Mission Statement and ethics guidelines, which we take seriously.

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Meet the news staff

Ron Judd
Executive Editor
— Ron Judd,
ext. 102
Twitter: roncjudd
Ron Judd, a veteran reporter, columnist, historian, teacher, raconteur and now editor, comes to Cascadia Daily News after three decades at The Seattle Times, where he covered a broad variety of news beats, wrote several popular columns, traveled the globe to cover the Summer and Winter Olympics, and produced a range of features about Northwest people and culture for  Pacific NW, the paper’s Sunday magazine.

A native of Duvall on Seattle’s Eastside, he is a fourth-generation Washingtonian who graduated in 1985 from Western Washington University, where he studied history and journalism and edited the campus newspaper, the Western Front. Before his long tenure at the Times, he worked as a reporter for the Anacortes American, and the (then) Bremerton Sun.

The author of multiple nonfiction books, Ron also has conducted extensive archival research about media and radical politics in Bellingham as part of thesis, and book-in-progress, about the  1930’s Red Scare firing of Charles Fisher, the president of the teacher’s college that became Western. He is a staunch advocate of a vigorous, aggressive and transparent Free Press, and is rabidly pro-democracy.

A 22-year Bellingham resident, Ron and wife Meri-Jo and usually a dog live in the Samish neighborhood and enjoy hiking, winter sports, cycling, photography, kayaking, and occasional proud participation in bottom-third-finishing Ski to Sea teams. He also is a collector and restorer of vintage Coleman lanterns. As a night owl, Ron constantly wonders why nearly every restaurant around here seems to close too early.

Audra Anderson
Assistant Editor
— Audra Anderson,
ext. 115
Audra Anderson is the assistant editor and enterprise reporter for Cascadia Daily News. She grew up in Vail, Arizona, then swapped prickly pears for pine trees and attended Western Washington University. As a student, Audra served as editor-in-chief of The Western Front and editor-in-chief of Klipsun Magazine. She graduated with a degree in news/editorial journalism and a minor in chemistry.

She worked for Wahpeton Daily News in Wahpeton, North Dakota, for a year and a half as a reporter, then assistant managing editor. There, she honed her reporting, editing and design skills in a small, but capable, newsroom. Audra is thrilled to be back in Bellingham, and back in a place with more than one eggs benedict option. She cannot wait to support Cascadia Daily News in an editorial role.

In her free time, Audra runs a polymer clay earring business called ardentlyme designs. She also makes delicious food, paints odd paintings and belts weeknight karaoke in local bars.

Jaya Flanary
Digital Editor/Designer
— Jaya Flanary,
ext. 106
Twitter: jayaflanary
Jaya Flanary, digital editor/designer at Cascadia Daily News, is a Western Washington University graduate with a BA in Visual Journalism and a double minor in English and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Jaya enjoys telling human-interest stories through narrative journalism, photography, documentary filmmaking and design. She grew up in an artsy but business-oriented environment — her dad is a glassblower while her mom and stepdad managed a tattoo shop. Jaya’s upbringing not only forged her work ethic, it made her a firm believer in the power of creativity and how it changes lives.

In high school, Jaya enjoyed filmmaking and journalism. After graduating, she took a gap year, then pursued visual journalism — the perfect marriage of her interests. In college, she worked for the university’s newspaper and magazine. After interning at Bellingham Alive! Magazine, Jaya was given the opportunity to stay in Bellingham, a place she’s learned to call home, working at Cascadia Daily News.

When not hunched over at two (or more) monitors, Jaya is either bowling, playing with her cat, Sully, or blowing glass.

Eric Trent
News Producer
— Eric Trent
Twitter: RealEricTrent
Eric Trent, the news producer for Cascadia Daily News, grew up in the small Chinook Indian Nation fishing village of Bay Center on the Southwest Washington coast. Eric survived a 10-year drug addiction before eventually becoming a first-generation college graduate at Western Washington University.

He won the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association’s Sports Writer of the Year award in 2019 — his first year out of college — while working for the Lynden Tribune. He then worked for two years as the sports editor at The Chronicle in Centralia, Lewis County, before joining Cascadia Daily.

During late summer through early spring, Eric can be found fishing for salmon or steelhead on remote rivers in Southwest Washington. He also enjoys sports photography, movies and miniseries (“The Lost Boys” and “Band of Brothers” are his two favorites).

Amy Kepferle
A&E Editor
— Amy Kepferle,
ext. 108
Twitter: amy_kepferle
Amy Kepferle, arts and entertainment editor at the Cascadia Daily News and 2022 Mayor's Arts Award winner, continues to be amazed that she has spent more than 20 years writing for newspapers about live theater, art, music, food, books and the people and places that make Whatcom and Skagit counties shine.

After attending the College of Idaho for two years and Western Washington University for two quarters, Amy ultimately graduated from Boise State University with a Communications/English degree with a journalism emphasis and a theater minor (yep, that's a mouthful), so perhaps shouldn't be too surprised at the path her life has taken.

After a four-year stint at the Boise Weekly — where she answered phones, delivered the paper, edited copy, pitched stories and eventually became the calendar editor — Amy left Idaho in the rearview mirror, moved to Washington, and spent a year living alone in her family's longtime cabin on Lummi Island. It was there she started writing for the Every Other Weekly, which eventually morphed into the Bellingham Weekly and, 15 years ago, reinvented itself as the Cascadia Weekly.

Amy is excited to make the transition to Cascadia Daily News because she knows she'll have even more opportunities to share stories about people who, even in the midst of a global pandemic, are committed to enhancing our region's cultural landscape. When she's not sussing out art exhibits, interviewing actors and musicians, reviewing books, or delving into the culinary scene, she can be found in her backyard garden, growing food and flowers, pulling endless weeds and tending a small flock of chickens.

Ralph Schwartz
Local Government Reporter
— Ralph Schwartz,
ext. 107
Ralph Schwartz has worked for 15 years at newspapers on both sides of the Cascades. He started small, writing initially for The Leavenworth Echo and the Cashmere Valley Record. The publisher who ran this North Central Washington newspaper group quickly promoted Ralph to editor of the Lake Chelan Mirror.

Ralph moved to Bellingham in 2006, after landing a job with the Skagit Valley Herald. People in Whatcom County, however, might remember Ralph from his years as a reporter for The Bellingham Herald, covering the proposed coal terminal and other hot-button issues of the time. Since leaving the Herald in 2015, Ralph has written for several outlets, including the Methow Valley News, Salish Current and NWCitizen.

Ralph was born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, a sensible, blue collar city that doesn’t waste time on wild conspiracy theories (especially the notion that Super Bowl XL was fixed). He studied physics and philosophy at Bucknell University, never intending to write a newspaper article until an editor at the school paper asked him to cover a philosophy and music department mashup called “Nietzsche Contra Wagner.” It’s still not clear how this event was newsworthy. After that initial exposure, Ralph really caught the newspaper bug as a graduate student at The Daily of the University of Washington.

As for his personal life, Ralph does his part to stave off social collapse by reminding his teenage children not to believe everything they see on TikTok.

Hailey Hoffman
Visual Journalist/Education Reporter
— Hailey Hoffman,
ext. 103
Hailey Hoffman is a visual journalist taking photos, shooting video, flying her drone and reporting on education for the Cascadia Daily News. She graduated from Western Washington University in 2019 after escaping the dry desert heat of Las Vegas, Nevada, where she grew up.

Hailey got her start in journalism working on her middle school and high school yearbooks. After graduating, she went to college to study the thing closest to a yearbook she could find — visual journalism. While at Western, she worked for all the student publications and interned for the Skagit Valley Herald and Bellingham Alive! magazine.

In an attempt to live somewhere with even more rain and wind, she landed a job as the staff photographer for The Astorian newspaper after graduation. There, she covered the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic on the small coastal towns along the Oregon Coast. She worked to feature individuals through a series of portrait projects as they navigated different stages of the pandemic. She also took a lot of photos of dogs and children at the beach.

While Hailey loved living along the Oregon Coast, she couldn’t turn down the opportunity to return to tell the stories of the vibrant Bellingham community. When she’s not shooting, she’s probably in the mountains hiking or skiing (with a camera in her backpack, of course) or enjoying a beer at one of Whatcom County’s 17 breweries.

Julia Lerner
Environmental Reporter
— Julia Lerner,
ext. 109
Twitter: julialwashere
Julia Lerner is the environmental reporter at Cascadia Daily News. She joins the staff from a remote indigenous community in Northern Alaska, where she worked as an investigative reporter at the Nome Nugget, Alaska's oldest continuously-publishing newspaper. At the Nugget, she covered climate change and indigenous affairs, and spent time working with community members to understand how the climate is impacting indigenous life. She also reported on food scarcity, mass migrations and how individual cultures and communities survive.

Lerner earned her master's degree in investigative journalism from the University of Maryland in December, 2020. She received her undergraduate degree in multiplatform journalism with a minor in rhetoric from the same university in 2019, and has experience in photography, broadcast journalism, radio production, editing, fact checking and investigations. Throughout her journalism career, Lerner has focused her efforts on investigative projects exploring the climate crisis and environmental policy, low-income and impoverished communities, as well as political disinformation and media impact on democratic states. She worked at CNN as a member of “the Triad,” the team responsible for reviewing all CNN reporting for legal, ethical and factual issues. Prior to her journalism career, she worked in academic and political research at the Congressional Research Service in the Library of Congress, NASA and the Kluge Center for Scholars.

She prefers her pizza with pineapple on it. Her bernedoodle, Maya, is still acclimating to life in the lower 48, but the frequent trips to Starbucks for puppuccinos have helped.

Connor Benintendi
Sports Editor
— Connor J. Benintendi,
ext. 104
Connor J. Benintendi is a football and basketball fanatic who, at a young age, decided to turn that passion into a profession. Born and raised in Woodinville, he moved to Bellingham in 2017 as a student. He eventually graduated from Western Washington University with a bachelor’s degree in news/editorial journalism in summer 2021.

Connor spent four college quarters on The Front — two as a reporter and two as the sports editor. He interned with Western Athletics for nine weeks, writing long-form feature stories for the department’s website. Connor’s year following graduation was spent as the Lynden Tribune’s sports editor, where he further developed his writing and reporting, and began covering prep sports, which he has since grown quite fond of.

During his short time in the industry, Connor quickly discovered a love for photography as an extension of his writing. He now regrets deliberately avoiding photojournalism courses in college.

When Connor is not watching, discussing or writing about sports, you can probably find him spending time with his best friend, Zeffer, his Blue Lacy dog. He enjoys playing video games during his very slim amount of downtime and can likely answer any Star Wars question you throw his way.

Andy Bronson
— Andy Bronson,
ext. 110
Andy Bronson is a Cascadia Daily photographer. He started as a professional photojournalist in South King County at the Highline News covering the five cities around Sea-Tac airport. After eight years he was hired at the start-up Federal Way Mirror.

After a year Andy made his way to the News-Review in Roseburg, Oregon. He was in Roseburg from 1999 to 2008. He was named National Press Photographers Association Region 11 Photographer of the Year in 2007. He then took a job with the Bellingham Herald and in 2013 was named Region 11 Photographer of the Year. Months later he found himself out of a job, but eventually landed at The Everett Herald commuting an hour each way for six years.

Andy just started his 30th year in photojournalism, working in Bellingham again with a much shorter commute.

For Andy, photojournalism is about adjectives and adverbs — how tired, how happy, glad or sad, winning in a blowout or losing a close game. He says it’s not just good enough to see what's there, it’s about how people react to their surroundings at that time.

He lives with his wife and a constant bunny- and squirrel-searching dog in Bellingham.

Frank Catalano
Business & Work Columnist
— Frank Catalano,
Twitter: FrankCatalano
Frank Catalano is the business and work columnist for Cascadia Daily News. A veteran writer and broadcaster, Frank was a founding columnist for the Pacific Northwest technology news site GeekWire, and over the years has been a columnist or regular contributor to Puget Sound Business Journal, Seattle Weekly, KCPQ-TV Seattle, Seattle Times and a couple of niche-but-known education technology news outlets.

Frank also has straddled the business world in his career. He’s been a senior executive for Pearson, ParentSquare, West Corporation and several others either on a full-time or interim consulting basis. So when a company starts talking about asymmetric brand architecture or private equity funding, his eyes don’t glaze over. Most of the time.

While he considers Santa Barbara his hometown, Frank made his way to Washington state through broadcasting, working as an award-winning anchor/reporter and news director at radio stations in California, Idaho and Wisconsin. He wound up in the Seattle area after flying out for a job interview at a news/talk station — the weekend Mt. St. Helens erupted. He was put to work immediately.

Frank and his wife Dee Dee relocated to Bellingham on the cusp of 2022 for the hiking, water, trees and sanity. When he has time, he indulges his secret parallel life as a published science-fiction author.