Story and Photos by Robert Hester
As a native of Latrobe, Pennsylvania, Hannah Mears grew up thinking she wanted to be in the medical field, rather than any field in sports. However, those plans “Happily” changed before she went to Happy Valley as a student at Penn State.
The summer before Hannah became a Penn State student, she spent some time shadowing ESPN during their coverage of Steelers’ Training Camp at Saint Vincent College in her hometown of Latrobe, and instantly “Fell in love” with broadcasting. By the time she arrived in Happy Valley, Hannah enrolled at Penn State’s Bellisario College of Communications, with the knowledge and hope that it would be a “...perfect place to be” in order to further pursue her dream of becoming a TV sports journalist in Western Pennsylvania, and then some. “I grew up playing three sports and loved talking about sports in general,” Hannah said, “[Attending Penn State for] sports broadcasting seemed like a no brainer.”
Surprisingly, things happened so fast after Hannah started her tenure at PSU as a freshman. To coin a sports-related phrase: She “scored” a gig as a member of the on-air talent team for Penn State Athletics, starting out covering all of the “Extra” content happenings on football Saturdays in Happy Valley. Hannah’s role expanded from there soon after. She became a sideline reporter, an in-arena host, videographer and editor for Penn State’s athletic programs—mostly for the Football, Basketball and Hockey teams, to name a few programs. Her hard work on-campus was richly rewarded when she a part of major sporting events off-campus; such as the 2019 NFL Combine in Indianapolis, Super Bowl LIV in Miami, and becoming an intern for the Pittsburgh Penguins.
After she graduated from Penn State, Hannah was hired as a sideline reporter with the Westmoreland Sports Network. And like in the same fashion she started her journalism career at Penn State, Hannah’s journalism career as a graduate of Penn State rapidly took off from there. While contributing for the Westmoreland Sports Network, Hannah worked as a broadcast associate for the MLB Network for a few months. And after her successful college internship with the Penguins, Hannah was “Thrilled” to rejoin the Pens, albeit for a short time, as a part-time editor and on-air talent. Interestingly, KDKA-TV contacted her for a sports producer position, a position Hannah accepted!
With her role at KDKA-TV, Hannah is the sideline reporter for Steel City High School Showcase during the High School Football season on KDKA+ (Formerly WPCW-TV, Pittsburgh’s CW). But wait, there’s also a few other “Thrilling” positions Hannah recently accepted! Freelance reporting for the Pittsburgh Steelers, and an on-air position talking sports betting for a company called Picks and Parlays. And thanks to her accepting that position, she hosts her own podcast by the name of “Beers with Mears.”
Also, Hannah is sideline reporter for the Big Ten Network. The network hired her prior to the start of the 2022 Football season. With that position, Hannah traveled to Auburn, Alabama to cover Penn State’s clash with the SEC’s (Southeastern Conference’s) Auburn Tigers. In addition to all of Penn State’s home games at Beaver Stadium in Happy Valley, she ended up traveling about five more times away from the friendly confines of Happy Valley during PSU’s 2022 campaign to continue coverage for the Network. And in early 2023, there were to significant events that took place related to the Pittsburgh Pirates. The first, obviously, bringing home one of the faces of Pittsburgh sports, Andrew McCutchen. The other significant event, hiring Hannah as part of the team’s on-air, and social media talent!
To say that Hannah wears “Multiple hats in the [Sports media] industry” is such an understatement. Hannah has worked so hard taking advantage of her passion of the sports journalism industry, an industry she loves covering on a daily basis. Yes, “Life can be crazy busy at times juggling a few positions at once,” Hannah said about being a part of the industry. But another thing she said was that she, “…would not want it any other way; because I’m blessed to still be living near my family while doing what I love to do!”