Anyone who watched Jessica Starbard’s outstanding work as the sideline reporter for the Everett High football team or as a co-host of the LynnMA Sportscast show on LynnCam knew this day was coming.
Starbard, a Lynn English 2009 graduate and Northeastern University 2013 graduate, has accepted her first job in the broadcasting industry as the new sports anchor and reporter for WBKB-TV, Channel 11, in Alpena, Michigan, which is located in the northern part of the state on Lake Huron close to the Canadian border.
“We’re mainly a CBS affiliate and the only station in that town,” said Starbard. “We’ll be covering a lot of high school sports and they do a lot of outdoorsy stuff. We’ll be showing highlights of Michigan and Michigan State sports and professional sports. There’s also an amateur team we cover in Thunder Bay.”
Last fall Starbard covered the powerful Everett High football program on a broadcast team with Lynn’s John Hoffman and Paul Halloran. The professionalism of her reporting on that broadcast, coupled with her entertaining pieces as a columnist and reporter for the Lynn Journal, solidified her credentials and showcased her superior knowledge of sports to a wider audience.
Starbard also had an internship at WHDH-TV, Channel 7, before accepting a news writing position at the Boston station that is an NBC affiliate. She was writing news for the Channel 7 afternoon and evening news shows.
At WBKB-TV, Starbard will be a reporter for the daily news shows and an anchor for the weekend news shows.
Starbard said she was hired following a Skype interview, having been recommended for the position by WHDH-TV executive sports producer Koon Lam.
“It was a very short time between finding out about the job being open, sending in my application, doing the Skype interview, finding out that I had the job last Thursday, and accepting it last Friday,” said Starbard. “It’s been very quick.”
Starbard was an actress in high school, appearing in two shows, “Bye Bye Birdie” and “High School Musical,” at North Shore Music Theatre in Beverly.
While she was a freshman at Marymount Manhattan College, Starbard decided to forgo acting and pursue a career in sports journalism. “I was still taking some acting lessons and thinking about auditions but then I thought, ‘I really like sports and I have a real interest it,’ but I was at a school where no one liked sports.”
Starbard transferred to Northeastern University where she majored in Communication Studies. She worked for the student-run television station, NUTV, and served as a sideline reporter and color commentator for Go NU, the athletic department’s video channel.
While at NU, she also had a cooperative position at Major League Baseball Productions and spent one season with the North Shore Navigators as a broadcast media journalist. She was working on a new television project at LynnCam when she received word about the WBKB-TV position.
Starbard thanked several people who have been supportive of her career.
“Obviously I want to thank my parents, (School Committee member Rick Starbard and Lois Starbard), my sister, Stephanie (a student at Bridgewater State University) my family, my boyfriend, and all my friends who had to put up with me talking about my job search pretty much non-stop. I also thank Sean Donahue at LynnCAM, Cary Shuman for giving me the opportunity to be a columnist for the Lynn Journal and the people in Everett who were a huge help. And I can’t say enough about the people at Channel 7. [Sports anchor] Alex Corrdy has been a great help, a really good resource to have and a friend to have that’s in the business.”