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TNH alumni series: Chantel McCabe ‘11

Major: English and sports studies. Position at TNH: Sports Writer and Multimedia Editor

unknownInterviewed by Kelsea Campbell

On-Air Talent

Q: What is something you credit your success to?

A: I interned every single semester. No classroom curriculum can replace the lessons you learn by doing and interacting. The most difficult part is getting acclimated: knowing where to go and who to go to for what and feeling comfortable. I interned at NESN, WMUR, Hockey East, a sports marketing firm and the USM athletics department.

Q: What is your favorite UNH/TNH memory?

A: My favorite TNH memory was not sports! It was getting to cover all of the political action that came through campus. I met Jon Huntsman and it fueled another passion of mine: politics.

Q: Do you have any advice for a future journalist?

A: My advice would be to stand out by doing your job completely, carefully and go the extra mile. There have been a lot of future journalists who overlook things [and] do as little as possible and expect to get by.Work Ethic!

Q: Do you happen to remember any big stories published [during] your time at TNH? If so, what was it?

A: It was most fulfilling to cover things that students need to know. Stories like tuition increases and examining the state funding were the most rewarding.

Q: Elaborate a little more on your background before coming to UNH.

A: Before coming to UNH, I went to [the] University of Southern Maine. I wrote for the school paper and that was my first taste of journalism. I did theater and sang in choir at Manchester Central High School. I danced competitively; that was my sport. I was kind of a lone wolf back in the day!

Q: Is being involved in sports something you’ve always seen yourself doing?

A: I was a very serious Red Sox fan and often went to UNH hockey and Monarchs (LA Kings affiliate) games, but it wasn’t until I got to college and was exposed to the daily atmosphere of sports and its impact that I loved it. I went to UNH with plans to become an athletic director or Sports Information Director (SID). I loved writing and realized I had to take that a step further in the evolving culture and take it to TV. Yes, I write my own stuff. Most of us do! Presenting stories in a compelling way, staying accurate and fair while trying to give the audience a reason to tune in and stay watching is a challenge I love and it applies to any kind of broadcasting.

Q: During your internships, what kind of work were you involved in?

A: I did everything. That’s what you have to do to stand out and for people to not just label you as “a girl who wants to be on TV.” I logged videos of old sports content for hours on end and I edited highlights and other peoples’ interviews. I did assistant work, planning and scheduling executives’ schedules. I interned with a sales and marketing firm to put on local sports events, going door to door to sell sponsorships. I did a work study in the athletic department where I managed referee hours and payment. At NESN, I created an internship. I was working the [score] ticker and I mustered up the courage to present a plan to the digital folks to cover anything that was not on their air: high school championships, sports charity events, extreme sports and more. That was chaos at first but some of the most valuable work to my start on the path I went.

January 25, 2014. Carolina Hurricanes vs. Ottawa Senators, PNC Arena, Raleigh, NC. Copyright © 2014 Jamie Kellner. All rights reserved.
Jamie Kellner
January 25, 2014. Carolina Hurricanes vs. Ottawa Senators, PNC Arena, Raleigh, NC. Copyright © 2014 Jamie Kellner. All rights reserved.

Q: Since graduation, where has your career taken you?

A: I am now very happy to be with Golf Channel and part of the NBC family. I spent the year before covering the 2016 New Hampshire primary and the 2016 Patriots season at NH1 in Concord. Before that, I covered the Carolina Hurricanes at home in Raleigh, N.C. and on the road. I also worked for NHL network and hosted a show on CBS Sports about Major League Lacrosse. My first job out of school was at ABC40 in Springfield, Massachusetts where I did morning news reporting to get live experience.

Q: What has been the most unforgettable experience (thus far) in your career?

A: I’ve covered Stanley Cup victories, interviewed presidential candidates, got roasted by Bill Belichick, interviewed Wayne Gretzky and many other Hall of Fame figures. I’ll share my most recent memory. I was in Mexico City covering the Lorena Ochoa invitational. Ochoa, who spent 158 weeks as the number one ranked golfer, was recently named to the World Golf Hall of Fame. Many of the younger golfers in the tournament have vivid memories of watching her and looking up to her. This tournament was special for them and the timing was beautiful. Carlota Ciganda, a 26-year-old golfer from Spain, had been playing her best golf of her career. When she gave her speech after winning, she [burst] into tears and so did her parents in the audience. They had missed her first win and got to share this one with her. I spoke to them for some time after, through a translator. It was moving. The passion was unforgettable. 

Q: Where do you see yourself in five years? What are your goals in the future?

A: I will eventually get into politics. There is something that always tells me to do that and find ways to improve my home state. The heroin epidemic really worries me and the economy and higher education in New Hampshire are things that I care a lot about. While I have opportunities in sports, I want to be the best in my field. Not the most popular, but the most knowledgeable and thorough. Most importantly, I want to enjoy what I’m doing, even when it’s not easy, which I’ve learned the hard way is not going to happen everywhere. A parting thought: surround yourself with people who want you to succeed and give you the support to do it.

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