Evan Easterling served in many journalistic roles early in his career at Temple University, but a tireless work ethic is what landed him his current job as a senior staff editor for sports at The New York Times.
A work ethic cultivated at The Temple News, he said.
“I would be on Google Docs at two in the morning sometimes,” Easterling added. “I’d get back from the Inquirer, eat something, then start going in on copy.”
Easterling spent four years working for The Temple News. His development through the different staff positions served as an example for those around him, said Sam Neumann, a 2018-2019 co-Sports editor and 2021 journalism alumnus. It gave fellow editors an idea of how they could progress their craft.
He started off as a freelancer for The Temple News’ Sports section and then moved into the Sports editor position for two years. In his senior year, he served as a chief copy editor. Easterling never lost the drive to work hard that he came into Temple with, he said.
Easterling wrote stories for Sports, Features, News and Longform while also shooting photos and videos for the Multimedia section, he said.
Along with his job at The Temple News, Easterling worked the night shift at the high school sports service for the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Former assistant Sports editor Mike Zingrone, a sixth year journalism major and education minor, remembers Easterling editing his stories in the middle of the night after Zingrone covered events, like the 2018 Independence Bowl in Shreveport, Louisiana, between Duke University and Temple, Zingrone said.
“[Easterling] was on the ball with everything,” Zingrone added. “It’s 3 a.m. and I’m eating at a Waffle House in Louisiana and [Easterling] is texting me and commenting on my stories.”
Not only did Easterling work his way to the top of The Temple News, but he did it with a grace and kindness that can get lost in today’s world, Neumann said.
Easterling wanted to help everybody else before getting to his own work. He would spend Sunday nights in the newsroom editing stories with Neumann when other section editors had already left.
“He was the gold star standard for The Temple News,” Neumann said. “He was just a good guy overall.”
Easterling stuck with The Temple News for four years because of the opportunities it gave him to cover sports while also pursuing other passions, like multimedia storytelling, he said.
He has turned his passion into an influential portfolio and helped other student reporters improve their craft along the way, said Owen McCue, a 2017 Temple News Sports editor and 2018 journalism alumnus.
After graduating in May of 2019, Easterling spent two weeks in Philadelphia covering high school sports for The Philadelphia Inquirer. A month later, the Dow Jones News Fund internship program sent him to the print hub desk as an editing intern at The New York Times in June of 2019.
“It’s definitely something where you get nervous walking through the building,” Easterling said.
Knowing the strict accountability and accuracy The New York Times holds, Easterling’s nerves stemmed from his desire to succeed and advance as a writer.
Easterling earned a job as a full-time senior staff editor as lead assistant to the night editor in February 2020 at The New York Times, which was a one hour train ride from his parent’s home in West Orange, New Jersey, where Easterling still lives today.
Easterling was hired as a casual employee working on different desks just five months after joining The New York Times.
He was mentored at The New York Times through hands-on work and lots of repetition, Easterling said. He would always try to help out students still at The Temple News the same way his mentors helped him, he added.
Nobody was surprised when Easterling found professional success as quickly as he did, Zingrone said. Easterling’s former coworkers always knew he was one of the hardest working and most talented editors.
“Everything [Zingrone] and I did we didn’t try to emulate [Easterling],” Neumann said. “We knew we could never be [Easterling], because [Easterling] is just the best at what he does, but we would try to model the work that we did after his.”