by Sarah Paynter
“I’m surprised at how neutral you were,” said Dominique Coronel, a leftist guest on Evan Sully’s radio show, “Standing in the Minority.”
According to Sully, that response is typical. Sully’s show bridges sensitive bipartisan issues from black culture and police brutality to mental health and social media, and despite the personal nature of these topics, Sully’s opinion is not always clear.
Sully, 21, will graduate from DePaul University this June with a Bachelor of Arts in economics. As the host of two radio shows and a staff writer at his school paper, the DePaulia, Sully has one mantra for his reporting: Keep your opinion out.
“I’m not out there trying to win an argument, just to be conversational,” he said.
Sully bridges the political echo chambers that paint social media red and blue, which distinguishes his credibility when addressing controversial issues, he said.
To maintain a standard of impartial credibility, Sully will need to stand his ground, risking heightened scrutiny from both sides. But he has the confidence and integrity to back that up, he said.
Hearkening from Dallas Cowboys’ home in Frisco, Texas, this maverick will join Reuters in New York City through the Dow Jones Internship program this summer, where he will cover markets and economics. Sully chose this program because he wants to hone his skills himself in a community of passionate business journalists, he said.
He plans to follow this summer’s internship with another this fall at Bloomberg News in Washington, D.C.
This foundation of experience, accompanied by his smoky, made-for-radio voice, gives reason for this self-described econ junky’s confidence.
“I can’t waste this voice,” he joked. Sully hushed his speech, afraid his bass tones would carry and disturb the people around him.
But his confidence is hard-won. An introvert, he always struggled to speak up. In middle school, teachers’ criticism and loved ones’ well-meaning advice steered him away from journalism in favor of a lucrative business career.
“It was long before the voice I have now, before I grew up to this stature,” he said. “It was a different time.”
But Sully grew out of his adolescent insecurities. After one summer as an AT&T intern, he knew he could not continue along the safe route prescribed to him.
“You don’t really know what you want, until you are on Excel spreadsheets 12 hours a day doing nothing,” he said.
Now, he takes his detail-oriented work ethic and pushes to create a product with integrity. Shane Rene, his editor, said that often, when the student newspaper’s next edition is packaged and ready to print, he gets a text from Sully, still finding and correcting small mistakes throughout the paper.
“It is the most Evan thing he does. His job is done! But he’s still fixing things,” said Rene.
“I knew that was coming,” Sully laughed. He knows Rene will complain when he sends last-minute corrections, but he would rather get it right. He takes his editors’ complaints with good nature, confident in the value he provides to the paper.
In fact, there’s no getting around it: This fall, a single issue of the DePaulia carried seven of his bylines, a full third of the paper’s content.
Sully’s dedication to the details pairs with his ambition to create a space for fair public conversations, and long-term, he hopes that his economic reporting can bring the world closer together.
“Nowadays we’re so polarized. Let’s just take a minute to listen. Instead of name-calling and shaming each other, I want conversations: Why do you think this way?”