LAURINBURG — I’m sure you’re wondering who in the world is this mohawked girl on the front page of my sports section?
Well, let me take a moment and introduce myself — my name is Amber Hatten and I’m your new sports editor. Don’t mind my accent, I’m from Ohio and I’m sure after a few months it won’t sound like I’m talking through my nose anymore.
Despite my youthful appearance — which I know some day I’ll appreciate — I’ve worked in the newspaper industry for the past three years in Bellevue, Ohio — up near Cedar Point.
I started out as the sports reporter for The Bellevue Gazette before taking over as editor about a year ago. In June, the Gazette closed after 149 years of publication. The same company that owns The Laurinburg Exchange owned my paper, so they asked if I wanted to return to my sports roots and move to the South — in July.
I have always wanted to live in North Carolina, after years of coming down to visit my mom’s family and vacationing in Emerald Isle, I jumped at the opportunity to move here.
Now that I’m here and you’ll be seeing my name all over the sports section, I suppose you want to know a little about me.
I’m 25 years old and was born in Huntington, West Virginia and lived there until I was five. Since then my parents have lived in a small town called Wheelersburg, Ohio which is right on the border with Kentucky. My parents, grandparents and my younger sister all still live in that area — I’m the only one who keeps moving away.
When I graduated from high school — in 2009 — I moved to Bowling Green, Ohio where I majored in telecommunications and minored in journalism. My plan was to become the next Leslie Visser — the only female sports reporter enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame — but that didn’t quite work out. After graduating college I took a chance and applied to the Gazette and I have been hooked on being a journalist ever since.
I love having the opportunity to be on the sidelines of Friday-night football games, scouring the internet for criminal charges and judgments against criminals, honing my photography skills and telling the stories of so many amazing people over the past few years.
In Bellevue, I covered the local high school about as thoroughly as a person could. Since we were a small newspaper along with sports I did most of the school coverage since I was familiar with the students. After covering the same groups of kids for multiple years you get attached to them. I never rocked the Redmen gear during events, but I would secretly cheer while taking notes or pictures.
While I’m not going to miss the bitterly cold winters in Bellevue — I’m talking cold six to nine months out of the year — I will miss the people. The Sabo clan, who took time to explain the ins and outs of Bellevue sports to me; Sally Boyd, who basically adopted me as her “extra” grandchild and was the town encyclopedia whenever I had a question. The sports parents who stuck with me through learning wrestling, freezing during playoff football and almost crying during graduation and the high school athletes that I saw day-in and day-out through every sport and phase of their high school careers.
With that chapter of my life finished, I am looking forward to seeing what Scotland County High School athletics has to offer and to cover college sports for the first time.
When I’m not covering sports for work I love to watch sports. I’m a huge Cincinnati Bengals fan — a fact that shouldn’t offend any of our Panthers readers. I also love watching the Ohio State Buckeyes and most college sports. I’ll admit I’m not a fan of NASCAR — something my grandparents still don’t understand.
Outside of that, my boyfriend Justin and I have two cats — my cat, Ace is three going on 80, he’s my grumpy old man and Justin’s cat, Jinx is a six-month-old terror.
I love to curl up on the couch with a good book, I’m a big fan of the fantasy, magical, syfy genres like Harry Potter and The Mortal Instruments series. I’m also an avid HGTV watcher — Justin and I just can’t wrap our minds around someone wanting to live in a tiny home or needing 5,000 square feet for two people and a dog.
So if you see my mohawk moving through the crowd at a sporting event feel free to stop and introduce yourself. You’ll see me everywhere because one thing you’ll learn is that I’m very dedicated to my job and to doing it well.
Amber Hatten can be reached at 910-276-2311 ext. 2026.