Damon Weaver, at Age 11, Interviewed President Obama and High-Profile Celebrities

From a New York Times story by Allyson Waller headlined “Damon Weaver, Child Reporter Who Interviewed Obama, Dies at 23”:

Damon Weaver, who at age 11 became one of the youngest people to interview a sitting president and later gained attention for scoring other high-profile interviews with celebrities such as Dwyane Wade and Oprah Winfrey, died on May 1.

The death was confirmed by Candace Hardy, Mr. Weaver’s sister.

Ms. Hardy told WPTV-TV in West Palm Beach, Fla., that her brother had texted her while she was at work that he was in the hospital. By the time she went to see him, he had already died, she said.

In 2009, Mr. Weaver, then 11, conducted a sit-down interview with President Barack Obama in the Diplomatic Room of the White House, questioning him on topics like the Obama administration’s efforts to improve education in lower-income areas such as Mr. Weaver’s hometown, Pahokee, Fla., and Mr. Obama’s basketball skills.

“You did a great job at this interview, so someone must be doing something right at that school,” Mr. Obama told Mr. Weaver after the 11-year-old extended an invitation to come visit him at Kathryn E. Cunningham/Canal Point Elementary School in South Florida.

Before his meeting with Mr. Obama, Mr. Weaver gained sizable attention from an interview in 2008 with Joseph R. Biden Jr., then Mr. Obama’s running mate.

Damon Lazar Weaver Jr. was born on April 1, 1998….His sister told WPTV that Mr. Weaver was “a light” and “the life of the party.” According to the station, Mr. Weaver graduated from high school with a full scholarship to Albany State University in Georgia. He graduated from the university in 2020.

“Everybody just couldn’t wait to be around him,” Ms. Hardy told WPTV. “Family gatherings, they were always fun just because of his presence.”…

Mr. Weaver also covered Mr. Obama’s inauguration as the 44th president for his school’s television news program, interviewing inauguration attendees and celebrities including Ms. Winfrey and Samuel L. Jackson….

“I liked seeing people on TV, so I thought that I could do that job one day,” Mr. Weaver said. “I like being a reporter because you get to learn a lot of things, you get to meet nice people and you get to travel a lot.”

Mr. Weaver said that his favorite subjects in school at the time were reading and math and that he had goals of becoming a journalist one day and maybe even a football player, an astronaut or president….

Allyson Waller is part of the 2020-2021 New York Times Fellowship class and is a general assignment reporter on the Express desk.

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