Jeremy Lambert Interview - Journalistic Integrity and Mental Health
Newsletter Special Feature #8
Fightful Lead Wrestling Writer
Jeremy Lambert is a member of Fightful.com where he writes and talks about wrestling. He regularly writes about wrestling news on the website and is the co-host of Fightful’s daily Distraction Podcast. Lambert is also a prominent voice in the Internet Wrestling Community, especially when it comes to mental health and journalistic integrity.
Hello Jeremy and welcome to the PWMusings Weekly Newsletter! Thank you so much for joining us. To start things off could you give us an insight into your journey as a wrestling fan?
I discovered wrestling just flipping through channels one night and stumbling upon Ric Flair & Arn Anderson vs. Vader from Clash of Champions XXXI. From there, I was pretty hooked and my parents would take me to WCW events at the Norfolk Scope. I would watch throughout the Monday Night Wars and just keep up with the product ever since. Even if I couldn't watch shows during my college days, I would at least check results and keep up with the news.
You are a prominent member of the Fightful team, what does this entail for you? What is your role as part of Fightful?
It's mainly writing news stories, but it's also blossomed into becoming more of an on-air personality. I'll write 10-15 articles a day, do 3-4 podcasts a week, live stream video games, and more. I'm very fortunate that Sean Ross Sapp and Fightful have allowed me to be creatively fulfilled.
Many people will look at your job as a wrestling writer and be envious, should they be? Is wrestling writing a dream job?
In the position I'm in, it is a dream job. But again, I'm very fortunate -- and I worked really hard for many years -- to find this home. I've written for other sites where it was straight aggregation work and that wasn't exciting or fulfilling to me. I wouldn't say anyone should be envious because we all have different paths and wants and needs. The hours can be demanding because there are 50 shows a week to cover and you never know when news will break. My ex-wife hated wrestling -- not so much my job, just wrestling -- because of the unscripted hours and some of the stuff I had to cover (Speaking Out and COVID being the big ones this year). So yes, it's a dream job right now, but I had to sacrifice a lot and try to make many compromises to get to this point.
What is your favourite accomplishment as a wrestling writer, at Fightful or otherwise?
As a writer? Probably the oral history of Soultrain Jones piece. Going to Starrcast in Baltimore and asking various AEW wrestlers about Soultrain Jones and turning that into a full article was really something fun and unique that kind of highlights the stuff I like to do. The real answer is The Distraction podcast with Joe Hulbert and what we've been able to turn that into with movie reviews and playing TEW. Without that podcast, I don't know where my head would be at this year with everything going on. It's really kept me sane.
You recently spoke out against journalists who fabricate or misrepresent in their stories. You did so against individuals that could be labelled as huge names in wrestling media. Can you let us into the thinking that prompted such an admirable stance? How do we create a space online where people can be driven by honesty and still be ambitious and successful?
I just got tired of dancing around the topic and I had the support of Sean and Fightful. I wasn't fearful of saying the wrong thing or putting my job in jeopardy by calling people out because I knew I had good people backing me. I didn't say anything that others in a lesser position weren't already say or others in a higher position weren't thinking. I guess I was in that middle ground of not being a "big name" but being attached to a "big site" that gave me some credibility. And Joseph deserves just as much credit because he was saying the same things as well even before me.
I don't find it hard to be ambitious and successful while being honest, but I'm also not in the "scoops" business. That's not my lane. I think I'm good at vetting stories and looking into what's going on without haphazardly running a report or taking speculation or "duh" as a report, but I'm probably never going to be the guy who breaks a big story and I don't want to be that guy. It's important to just find your lane and have fun with what you're doing. A lot of times, you'll just stumble onto stuff without even knowing it just by doing that. I say all the time that I just like doing dumb shit with my friends.
Another thing you seem to go out of your way to bring to the fore on social media is mental health. This is something I think a lot of people want to see more of, but it is far easier said than done. Forgive me for the sameness of the question, but again what is your thinking behind this admirable stance!? What are the steps that need to be taken to create a more compassionate norm of communication online?
I just feel like I'm an open book. I don't really have anything to hide and I'm not afraid to embarrass or put myself out there. Sometimes it hurts -- a lot of times really haha -- but I'd rather just have an honest communication with people because we're all struggling with different things. It can be big or small, but we're all going through some shit that stresses us out and or makes us unpleasant. I'd rather talk about it than hold it in because I held it in for the longest time and it wasn't pretty when it exploded. By being more honest about my struggles on social media, I've made some really good friends who have my back and who I can reach out to talk in those tough times.
As far as creating a more compassionate norm of communication, there's no way to change people who don't want to change. Twitter can be a toxic place, but it can also be a great place if you learn how to block out the noise and focus on those matter to you and who make you matter. That's all I've really tried to do. Just letting people know that they aren't alone in their struggles, trying to encourage anyone who follows me, and trying to highlight people who make me happy.
Finally, are there any stories or experiences from your time working in wrestling media that you think would be of interest to our readers?
No? Haha, like, I don't find any of my stories interesting. I'll just say for anyone thinking of writing about wrestling or getting into wrestling media is just stay true to yourself. You're going to experience a lot of ups and downs, probably more downs than ups, but find your voice and create content that you're happy with. I'm always open to promoting different ideas and works while also providing feedback. My DMs stay open, whether you want wrestling media advice or need someone to talk to or vent to. A lot of people helped me along the way and it's important to pay it forward and be a good person.
Follow Jeremy on Twitter @jeremylambert88
Read his writing at: https://www.fightful.com/authors/jeremy-lambert