Chris McDaniel, with permission
Do you love watching and talking about sports? The Enterprise sports editor Chris McDaniel gets to do this for his job almost every single day.
Chances are if you’re a student-athlete from a town on the South Shore, you’ve seen or heard McDaniel’s interviews and coverage of local standout athletes and teams.
I got to flip the script with Chris and interview him about his career highlights and tips and tricks in the sports journalism world.
McDaniel always knew he wanted to work in the sports industry. Growing up in nearby Quincy, he played town sports as a child. When he reached high school, he knew that being an athlete was not in the cards. “My high school athletic career ended during freshmen baseball tryouts,” he joked. “It didn’t take me long to realize I was not going to be on any varsity team.”
McDaniel didn’t have to be on a varsity team to become successful. Little did he know that things would just fall into place after high school. McDaniel attended Westfield State University, majoring in Communication. With no specific plan in mind, he said he “didn’t really plan it out from there” and instead went with the flow. “I just happened to have enough credits to earn a focus in journalism,” he said.
Right before McDaniel graduated, he scored a co-op job at The Enterprise, and has worked for them ever since. His skill set and dedication have also earned him the position of sports editor for weekly papers like the “Marshfield Mariner”, “Norwell Mariner”, and “Hingham Journal”.
McDaniel described his most recent promotion to Regional Multimedia Sports Editor of “The Patriot Ledger,” “The Enterprise,” and “Wicked Local South.” He broke it down to simpler terms, saying it gave him the title of sports editor for “The Patriot Ledger” and “The Enterprise”.
With all of that experience under his belt, McDaniel has advice for aspiring journalists. In terms of a day on the job, he noted the unpredictability and hard work that goes into it. He said,”As editor, there’s administrative work like giving out assignments, approving time cards and little things like that. There’s a lot of planning the next few days and weeks of what’s going into the paper…I still try to carve out as much time as I can to continue to write.”
McDaniel, who stayed positive and professional when asked about possible negatives of the journalism world, said, “There’s always the fear of layoffs in an industry that’s gone through a dramatic transition over the last decade. But I can’t control that so I just try to focus on my work and tell the stories of the community as best as I can,” he replied.
McDaniel had a tough time picking a favorite positive aspect of the job he loves so much, but eventually chose the moment when a story idea flows perfectly. “You’re feeling sharp for the interview and you ask some great questions and get some great quotes. You transcribe the quotes and the story just comes together perfectly in your head.” he said.
McDaniel mentioned the sense of community he gets as one of the job benefits. He said, “I’ve built up a lot of good relationships. I like to think that when people see ‘By Chris McDaniel’ on the top of a story, they know it will be worth a read.”
Now, every writer has their favorite piece they’ve created. One of McDaniel’s favorite stories focuses on 2017 Abington grad and two-time AHS football captain Josh Martin, and it’s definitely worth reading. McDaniel pointed out that, when he was interviewing, “Josh was talking about some deeply personal struggles. As a person, it’s tough to hear about some of the tough times a kid like that has had to battle through. At the same time, it’s inspiring to see his perseverance.” He then mentioned the importance of getting all the details right: “It’s a tremendous responsibility when somebody entrusts you to tell their story accurately about a topic like that.” McDaniel was more than able to tell the story with the sincerity it deserved.
His best advice to sports writer hopefuls was, “No matter how big or small the story is, you have a responsibility to put the same amount of effort into it whether it’s about a T-Ball game or Game 7 of the World Series.”
McDaniel put an emphasis on the ”practice makes perfect” ideal. “You can only get better at interviewing people by actually interviewing people. You can only get better at writing, by writing,” he said.
With that professionalism and love for his job, it’s no wonder that so many sports fans consider McDaniel to be one of the best in the business. He produces a lot of content for sports lovers on the South Shore.
You can find some of McDaniel’s stories online at The Enterprise.