SALT LAKE CITY – Some Cache Valley residents may recognize the blonde reporter Erin Cox on KSTU FOX 13 News. She grew up in Wellsville, attended Mountain Crest High School and Utah State University, earning a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Communications.
“When I graduated high school with my Associate’s Degree, I had no idea what I should study for my Bachelor’s and didn’t have a lot of time to figure that out before class registration,” Cox said. “I remember my dad and I sat down together and looked through the A to Z degree list, going through each one to see what was a good fit.”
She expressed an interest in politics, writing and photography and those three things seemed to connect to journalism.
“Utah State University’s program didn’t just educate me, it gave me experiences,” she said. “At my time at USU, I covered President Trump’s inauguration, won an Emmy Award for investigating sexual assault allegations at the university, and became the youngest reporter to interview President Russell M. Nelson—four months before he became prophet for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”
The Cache Valley woman took a break in her education process to serve a mission for her church to Hong Kong, where Cox learned to speak Cantonese. The church service didn’t hamper her education or her profession.
Cox said her career really took off on New Year’s Eve of 2017 when a professor, Brian Champagne, gave up his shift and pitched me as a replacement.
“It was my first time ever on television and I was either going to fall or fly,” Cox said. “The piece was picked up by FOX national news.”
She said she will never forget that day. Even the memory of it brings back the excitement, adrenaline and a flood of gratitude.
“Journalists have been both in-front of the camera and behind the camera, since the late 80’s,” Cox said. “Being a one-woman show allows you to really take ownership of a piece and I love that.”
As a reporter for FOX 13 she takes stock of her surroundings to find the best possible angles for pictures and listens for sounds that may add to the story. Before the story is aired, she edits her work to create the most compelling story possible.
“Perhaps the unusual part for me is doing all of this with reporters who have done this for at least a decade and anchors who have been around since I was born,” she said. “I love working with who I grew up watching and admiring, but with that comes the overwhelming desire to measure-up.”
Cox sad the learning curve has been steep, but she is enjoying the climb.
“I find small victories in my pursuits to become an ever-better journalist for my home state and count my young age as a strength, not a setback,” she said.
Generally, television news talent start at smaller news stations and work their way into a larger market. Before joining the FOX 13 team, Erin was a freelance photographer in Cache Valley for all Salt Lake City TV Stations before landing the job with the Salt Lake television station.
“It’s not just about reporting a story with broadcast journalism, it is about taking your audience there; it is about creating an opportunity for someone to not just cognitively learn something, but to experience it,” she said. “I want people to feel like they are having a one-on-one with who I’m interviewing.”
Sometimes journalists have a front row seat to moments in history. In 2017, Cox reported on President Trump’s inaugural ceremony and the first Woman’s March in Washington D.C. for Utah Public Radio
“When I covered the first woman’s march in Washington D.C., just 24 hours after President Donald Trump’s inauguration, I wanted listeners to hear the journey that brought those women there,” Cox said. “When I returned to Utah and played the radio piece I had edited on the airplane ride home, one of the journalists at UPR stopped and said, ‘I have never heard the D.C. Metro captured so well, it was like I was there.’ He couldn’t have paid me a greater compliment.”
She continues to rack up awards from state and national journalism associations.
Cox said being on TV was never something she wanted to do, but she found a passion for it because she loves seeking truth and being a contributor to her community.