Hillary Chabot, State House Reporter, Boston Herald

“The Feds came in and arrested him,” she said. “It was a huge story. And I broke it in a weekly paper!”

Hollywood often portrays journalists as nosy individuals who show up where they don’t belong. But sometimes, journalists wind up in the right place at the right time. This was the case with Hillary Chabot, a journalist for the Boston Herald. Prior to her involvement with the Boston newspaper, she worked as a local reporter for the Cambridge Chronicle. It was the Spring of 2002, just months after the September 11 terrorist attacks. Hillary was working on a story about a personal trainer in Cambridge who was accused of stealing identities. As a result of careful investigative work, Hillary discovered he was connected with Al-Qaeda. “The Feds came in and arrested him,” she said. “It was a huge story. And I broke it in a weekly paper!”

Her career began in college. She attended UMass Boston, double majoring in English and in History. “I interned everywhere,” Hillary said. She held four internships at four prestigious newspapers over the course of her college career including the Boston Globe, Atlantic Monthly and the Improper Bostonian. “I liked the excitement of being a reporter,” Hillary says. She began at the city desk, answering phone calls and making calls to law enforcement officials when any breaking news was heard over the scanner, before moving on to full-time journalism.

Of all her career accomplishments, Hillary considers her biggest accomplishment that of being hired by a newspaper as large as the Boston Herald. She counts it as blessing to be a state house reporter at the Boston Herald which gave her the opportunity to cover the Obama inauguration. More recently, Hillary reported on the Registry of Motor Vehicles’ decision to charge motorists an additional $5 fee if they appeared in person as opposed to registering online. After Hillary reported on the case, she was pleased to see the governor reverse the decision. “So I saved people from a 5 dollar charge,” she shares proudly, but a little amazed. But that’s not all. She also lost a candidate the seat as State Education Commissioner after investigating a past sexual scandal. “I basically lost her the job,” she said. Hillary went on to explain that when the candidate was heading a Arlington school in Massachusetts, an Arlington teacher was accused of starting some sort of improper relationship with her accuser. After the situation was handled, the accused teacher wanted to go to another state to fill a different educational position. The scandal surfaced when the candidate gave the teacher a ‘glowing recommendation’ without informing the other state about the trouble that had occurred. “I basically blocked her appointment,” Hillary said. “Before that everyone was pretty gun-ho about her.”

Hillary is not only reporting the truth, she’s uncovering it as well. And the best part is that she is so humble about her accomplishments that she surprises herself with her own achievements.

Working as a journalist does have its challenges, one being the long workday. However, although she doesn’t get home until around 8 p.m. each evening, the schedule doesn’t really affect her too much. “I have a very supportive husband,” she says of her spouse of two years.

For women considering the industry, Hillary encourages them to try every avenue. “I would advise [women] to try a whole bunch of different places. That way you can figure out what you like.”

What do her parents think of her being a political reporter? “I think they think it’s pretty cool that I’m a political reporter,” she says. However, her
parents identify as liberals and her paper is conservative. “It’s kind of funny,” Hillary laughs. “I can see them cringing as they read some of my stories.”

Hillary has had the opportunity to cover various political debates, and most recently the Scott Brown win. “It was mobbed. I was in this crush of people,” she remembers. The job certainly keeps her on her toes and within the political bustle. For Hillary it’s not just a job but a civic responsibility to provide the public with information. She’s more than a journalist as she acts as a government watchdog, investigating scandals and keeping the public informed. With a reputation like hers, one could say she is definitely a woman worth admiring.