Forbes’ Dammarell talks journalism, its pitfalls and misinformation
Evan Dammarell started out writing about fantasy basketball for Hashtag Basketball, focusing on the Charlotte Hornets, Oklahoma City Thunder, and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
He landed with Forbes during the summer of 2018, and now covers the financial and business aspects of the Cavaliers with Forbes, serves as an editor at SB Nation’s Fear the Sword, and hosts a daily podcast called ‘Locked on Cavs’.
Q: What do you see as some of journalism’s biggest potential pitfalls?
ED: Selling your credibility for better access. Access journalism is going to always be a thorn in the side of journalists, and that can deter others from entering the field. However, it gives me hope that there are others like myself who refuse to do so. Being honest with both your praise and criticism of what you cover is invaluable. Don’t lose your way.
Q: How do think journalists and reporters should deal with the rising tide of misinformation, particularly on social media and the challenges it creates around authenticity?
ED: Sure, the adrenaline rush of being the first one to break news can feel great. But the shame you feel if you’re even slightly wrong can be crippling and can destroy your reputation. You are your brand, even on social media, and maintaining that by ensuring what you report is accurate is key.
Q: The profession of journalism feels more attacked today than in a long time, but also highly necessary. Do you feel that’s true, and if so, why?
ED: It does feel true. Unfortunately, the political landscape in the United States has made journalists the enemy of the people on certain sides. That’s not the case at all. There are so many good people trying their damnedest to cover the news in a fair and honest way. Everyone should do what they can to support journalists, especially your local ones.
Q: What do you think about the role of technology in journalism?
ED: I think technology in journalism can be both helpful and harmful, especially social media platforms like Twitter, where you can find breaking news instantly from any corner of the world. The problem is, sometimes information that isn’t 100% accurate gains traction before the truth can come out, creating a divide that can lead to further issues.
Q: What advice would you give to aspiring young writers and reporters?
ED: Writing breaking news about sports is a grind, with plenty of thankless and fruitless hours – but don’t give up, eventually you’ll get your big break. There are going to be times where you’re feeling frustrated with yourself and your work; I’ve been there many times. When that happens, I think of “The Stonecutter’s Creedo” by Jacob Riis.
“When nothing seems to help, I go and look at a stonecutter hammering away at his rock perhaps a hundred times without as much as a crack showing in it. Yet at the hundred and first blow it will split in two, and I know it was not that blow that did it, but all that had gone before.
Just keep hammering away and eventually, you’ll create something beautiful.
Q: If there’s one thing you could change or improve about journalism—in any area—what might that be and why?
ED: It’s important to uplift writers and content creators that are just starting out. We need to encourage people who aspire to cover things they’re passionate about so that they can continue to carry the mantle when others have moved on.
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