Those who follow Chase Cain (ABJ ’05) on Instagram saw a totally different side of the Tokyo Olympic Games than most. As a climate storyteller for NBC LX, he showed viewers behind-the-scenes views of the food, culture, weather and some of the lower profile competitions like surfing and skateboarding. Cain’s video features of the Olympic Games included a Tokyo’s approach to COVID, a study of the fuel used in the Olympic flame and the increased number of LGBTQ athletes. He chronicled his adventures in a series of Tokyo highlights on his Instagram account.
Cain was a broadcast journalism major and earned his NMI certificate at Grady College before working various local market news jobs following graduation. In 2015, he produced videos at Hulu before accepting his current role at NBC LX. He was honored in the 2018 class of 40 under 40 recipients and is assuming a role on the Grady Society Alumni Board starting in spring 2022.
Grady College: What you are doing at the Olympics through your role with NBC LX.
Chase Cain: Each team at NBC typically chooses one anchor or reporter to send to the Olympics to report from the event. I was thrilled to be chosen by my team at NBCLX! For network news, a major goal is to cover the biggest stars and sports for Team USA. For NBC local stations, they typically focus on the hometown athletes. NBCLX has a unique position, because we’re a national channel which aims to provide depth and context on news. That meant that I wasn’t focusing on what anyone else was doing. My stories ranged from explaining why the pandemic was worse in Japan than the United States — to showing people what it’s like to be “the only fan” at an Olympics arena.
GC: How did you prepare to cover the Olympic Games?
CC: Because of the pandemic, I honestly wasn’t sure how to prepare. Would I be interviewing fans? Japanese citizens? No one? What level of access would we have to athletes? In the end, much of my “preparation” centered around customs entry requirements, Covid precautions, and testing. I did a fair amount of research into Japanese history and culture. That even included conversations with people from Japan. I wanted to ensure I understood the context of this unprecedented Olympics Games.
GC: What is your daily work flow?
CC: No sleep. Even less sleep. And lots of caffeine! Seriously. It was one of the most exhausting experiences of my life but also one of the most gratifying. There’s a 13 hour time difference from the East Coast, so when I’m in the thick of my day, most of my colleagues were asleep. That brought plenty of challenges. I typically woke up at 5:30 AM local time to be live for our evening newscast. Then I would spend my day at Olympics events, shooting, editing, and uploading a story for our early newscast before I went to sleep. I typically worked 15-16 hours every day.
GC: How did your time at UGA prepare you for what you are doing in Tokyo?
CC: My senior year in Grady, I was part of the team at Newsource15. I know it’s a rather different program now, but I will be eternally grateful for how challenging our professors made the experience. I had plenty of days where I couldn’t believe the real world would ever be as tough. In hindsight, it was a piece of cake. Learning how to perform every role in a TV newsroom was an invaluable education. Today’s news environment blurs lines of responsibility, and my time at UGA was the perfect preparation for that.
GC: What is your work focused on now that the Olympics are over?
CC: I’m solely focused on covering the climate crisis for NBCLX. I would encourage every Grady student to consider how climate change will impact their future, because even if it’s not their career, it will impact their career. One of the challenges I face is how to tell stories which create impact. It often feels as though most people are either already deeply concerned about climate change — or are resistant/skeptical for some reason. How do I break through? How do other soon-to-be journalists from Grady break through? I would welcome ideas and conversations.