Brandon Robinson aka Scoop B has lived a charmed life. While many of us were at home on Saturday afternoons watching “Inside Stuff” on television, Brandon was on “Inside Stuff” interviewing NBA greats. Brandon is a sports and entertainment writer and personality. He’s a managing editor and columnist at Respect Magazine. His career has flourished consistently throughout the years. He currently has his own podcast named Scoop B Radio, where he interviews people from the sports and entertainment industries. We spoke to Brandon about starting his career at such a young age and the importance of the Black man’s perspective in journalism.
Talk about the impact of starting your career at such a young age.
It’s all about getting reps and getting the practice. It’s actually biblical. Proverbs 22:6 says train up a child in the way he should go, and when he or she is old they will not depart from it. Starting early gave me the view of the landscape. Radio was my foundation and being young then and now I’ve been able to delve into print and television.With new media now, it all overlaps with podcasts and on demand video. Retrospectively it is very cool. I watched people on the climb up. I remember seeing Stephen A. Smith a lot when the Sixers came to town and he was a columnist at the Philadelphia Inquirer. I started in 97, which means I got to see and cover Kobe Bryant, Allen Iverson and Stephon Marbury in their second year in the league. Also means I saw Tim Duncan in his rookie year and I witnessed Jordan play live and win his last championship during the 1997-98 season.
Talk about your mentor and why it is important for you to be a mentor.
I’ve had great mentors during different stages in life. Professionally, two mentors have really been consistent in my journey. CBS Sports’ Ian Eagle and Fox Sports 1’s Chris Broussard. I’ve known them since my kid radio days with the Nets and they both have been a resource to me for advice. I’ll never forget taking a trip to Bristol, CT with Chris and visiting ESPN’s campus. I was enamored but I learned by watching. I watched him bounce from TV to radio spots and maybe doing some writing in between. With Ian, bouncing different ideas, As a kid, I even went to Ian’s annual sports broadcasting camp that he and NBC New York sports anchor Bruce Beck have. Mentorship is all about being a sponge and absorbing. You just have to latch on to the right folks that give you the right advice and are readily accessible. Chris and Ian have been that for me.
What does journalism look like in 2016?
The wild, wild West! Remember that Will Smith movie in 1999? New media on the digital landscape is still being quantified. Ironically I think we are in a phase similarly to ‘99. Remember Napster and other free music downloading programs? Folks were up in arms that content was free. In 2016, we have spotify, itunes and Netflix. People are making money. Concurrently, in 2016, it’s rough financially for journalists and young people. Content, podcasts and more are not monetizable. How do we monetize it? It’s a Brave New World as Aldous Huxley would say. So moving forward, you’re seeing more freelancers, people having multiple hustles and folks building their brand. It’s a process. I see 2017 looking better for many who were consistent and put the right irons in the fire.
Talk about the importance of the Black man’s perspective in journalism.
I think that “Black man’s perspective” comes into play for me more so when I’m interacting with ball players, singers and other notable figures by understanding their lingo and point of view. That’s learned behavior and can’t be coached. When I was in college, I took a class called Communication Across Cultures. The instructor talked a lot about a term called ‘code switching,’ which is the ability to speak and understand multiple contexts of language. It’s adaptability. I’ve done it all of my life but didn’t know there was a term associated with it. I think that in today’s day and age, black, white or green, we all code switch and it’s just on our honus to be a chameleon and adapt.
You are consistently building your brand. What are some of the challenges you have encountered during this process?
Being young, folks not fulfilling their dreams and talking you out of fulfilling yours are the biggest. There are highs and lows when you’re looking to fulfill out of the ordinary. Growing up I knew that I wasn’t normal. As a kid, I liked to eat beets, brussels sprouts and okra and tomatoes, watch “Charles in Charles,” “Growing Pains” and the 1960s “Batman” with Adam West and planning out my future. Some would be afraid to admit that, but I’m not and I actually incorporate those things into my brand structure with campaigns like #ScoopsMood and #WordswithScoop on my instagram page. I believe that when you stay true to you, the right people will be around you and place into your life so that you can succeed.
Name two journalists you admire and share why.
Well, Craig Sager died recently. I admired his ability to be true to himself and live his life on his own terms. He was brilliant but he actually did the work. Some not privy saw the suits and the pizazz and thought that was all he brought to the table. He was thorough! Ed Bradley was the other. I watched 60 Minutes religiously on Sundays after church and dinner. His ability to ask questions and to cut straight to the point was immaculate. Rest in peace to them both. If I could accomplish at least half of what they’ve done, I’d be honored.
What is next for you?
There’s interest from networks and publications. It’s simply finding the right fit that meshes my creativity and that gives me the opportunity to benefit myself, represent my family and represent my culture the right way. That is important to me.
What words do you have for the aspiring journalist?
I travel throughout the country speaking to college students about following dreams and being effective journalists and productive members of society. I remind them often of two edicts that I live by: Don’t take ‘no’ from anyone who is not qualified to tell you ‘yes.’ I also tell them: Don’t wait until you get out of college to start wanting to figure out what you want to do. It’s never too early to prepare.
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