Officially, the journalism resume of Evan Easterling, KLN ’19, begins with his time as assistant sports editor with The Temple News during the 2016–2017 school year and builds to his current role as senior staff editor with The New York Times just five years later.
That’s an impressive climb in half a decade. But in reality, Easterling spent almost his entire life preparing for the moment.
Eyes on the ball
Growing up in West Orange, New Jersey, Easterling’s parents and aunt preached the importance of education, particularly reading. At a summer library program in elementary school, Easterling remembers gravitating toward the work of author Matt Christopher, who specialized in sports-themed novels for kids.
By middle school he had started putting pen to paper through Write on Sports, a sports journalism program run out of Montclair State University that offered students access to professional athletes in order to write up stories. Letting the youth write about a topic they found appealing was intended to help them improve their literacy skills.
“We’d go to a minor league baseball game to simulate the experience of going to a game and writing about it, and the teams would make a few players available before the games,” Easterling said. “One year we met some Red Bulls players (a Major League Soccer team), and that was one of the biggest eye-opening moments I could point to.”
Easterling’s decision to pursue sports journalism in college was an easy one, but where to do so was not as clear cut. On one hand was Syracuse University, whose journalism program is regarded among the very best in the nation. On the other was Temple, whose position in one of the nation’s best sports cities, along with a generous scholarship and location closer to home, ultimately sealed the deal for Easterling.
“I felt that being in Philadelphia would be conducive to having a lot of opportunities, [and] being in a big-city environment interested me,” Easterling said.
At Temple, Easterling made the most of those opportunities. To whet his appetite during his first year, Easterling covered sports and worked the women’s lacrosse beat for The Temple News.
Eventually, he branched out, interning with Broke in Philly, a collaborative effort to cover economic issues by the city’s major media organizations, and helped launch and produce Kensington Voice, a nonprofit newsroom serving North Philadelphia.
But his true passion remained in sports. Seeking new challenges as an upperclassman, Easterling took on editing roles at The Temple News, first on the sports desk and later as chief copy editor for the paper. While many journalists seek the thrill of a byline, Easterling found an editor’s responsibilities appealing.
“It’s interesting to put myself in the reader’s position: What would I want to know? What did the headline promise and is it delivering?” Easterling said. “You’re also serving the reporter by telling them they’ve done a good job and are on the right track, but also helping to steer them.”
Evan at a Glance
With Easterling’s talents, it didn’t take long for the big leagues to call. As Easterling worked part time on The Philadelphia Inquirer’s score service desk during his final semester, he also applied for The Dow Jones News Fund, an internship program placing top-notch young journalists with prestigious news organizations across the country.
Easterling struck gold. He landed at the print hub for The New York Times immediately after graduation, where he helped format digital journalism for the paper’s world-renowned print edition. When the 10-week program concluded, The Times kept him around. He edited stories for special sections for the paper on topics as diverse as the Art Basel show and golf. That, in turn, quickly developed into a move to the sports desk, where Easterling now works the evening shifts helping edit coverage of whatever the big games and stories are for the day.
"What’s really great is the opportunity to work with so many people who are just the best at what they do and learn from them and see how they do things,” Easterling said. “I don’t think you can ever fully master the job. But I still want to develop.”