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Scurlock’s Sports Writing Leads to 1st Place NNPA Award
By Cora Jackson-Fossett Staff Writer
Published July 18, 2019

Amanda Scurlock credits ‘Black privilege’ to her rise from Sentinel intern to sports writer

Sentinel Sports Writer Amanda Scurlock displays her
first place award for the Best Sports Section in the 2019
competition sponsored by the NNPA. (E. Mesiyah McGinnis)

In 2015, Amanda Scurlock joined the Los Angeles Sentinel as an editorial intern. Armed with her Master’s degree in journalism, she embraced the appointment as an opportunity to report positive stories about her community.

Less than a year passed before Managing Editor Brandon I. Brooks promoted her to sports writer. That’s when Scurlock found her niche and the platform to chronicle good news about athletics in the L.A. area.

She’s done a superior job of raising the profile of the Sentinel’s Sports section, from publicizing hundreds of prep and college players through her Student Athlete of the Week column to covering two WNBA Finals series, three Rose Bowl Games, Kobe Bryant’s last NBA game, one CIF State Championship football game and the Ram’s first football game upon returning to Los Angeles.

Considering her journalism skills and enthusiasm about people and games, it’s no surprise that Scurlock was responsible for the Sentinel’s first place award for Best Sports Section in the 2019 Merit Awards sponsored by the National Newspaper Publishers Association.

“Receiving this award is really humbling for me,” said Scurlock. “It’s good to be recognized on this level, but I am just as grateful when some of the kids that I interview say, ‘thank you’ for writing about them. I hold that in high esteem, too, because that is important – the impact that my articles have on the people that I interview.”

Acknowledging her employer, Scurlock added, “I’m so grateful to the L.A. Sentinel for being what it is. I feel like they gave me a thing called Black privilege. If I were any other race or anywhere else, I probably wouldn’t get these opportunities and the access and to be able to go to various events, which has taught me so much that is quintessential to me.”

A native of Los Angeles, Scurlock always enjoyed writing as she grew up, but said, “I never considered it as a career.”  She did love math and strived to excel in her classes, which led to attending the gifted magnet programs at 74th Street Elementary, Audubon Middle and Crenshaw High schools.

Her determination to promote good news actually stemmed from the negative opinion some people had about her high school, Scurlock said. “I come from Crenshaw and people have all kinds of crazy stuff to say and they never even enrolled. So, I know how it feels when people look down upon you. But, I also know that there are a lot of great kids out here because I was one of them.”

Scurlock’s introduction to journalism occurred as during her time at UC Berkley where she worked on the Onyx Express, an on-campus magazine that focused on issues facing African Americans.  Later, she served two years as editor-in-chief and after graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in English; she realized her real passion was writing.

Amanda Scurlock started with the L.A. Sentinel Newspaper in June 2015 (E. Mesiyah McGinnis/L.A. Sentinel)

Enrolling next in a journalism program at Los Angeles City College, Scurlock joined LACC’s newspaper, The Collegian, and requested to cover their sports program, but learned it no longer existed. Instead, she wrote about the history of the college’s intercollegiate athletics program.

As a result of her reporting, she won student journalist awards from the California College Media Association and the Los Angeles Press Club.

That experience inspired Scurlock to attend USC’s graduate school for her Master’s in Journalism. She also covered women’s basketball for the Daily Trojan, the school’s newspaper. The assignment, said Scurlock, “really helped me to learn recap reporting.”

Upon accepting the Sentinel’s sports writer position, Scurlock said she initially approached it with mixed emotions. “I was really excited, but at the same time, I was nervous about learning the ropes. Still, I knew that I wanted to be able to report on my community and write positive stories,” she recalled. “Now I find myself remembering players and other information and feeling, in general, more confident. I feel like I’m really a sports writer.”

Acknowledging that many people contributed to the NNPA honor, Scurlock vowed, I will definitely be reaching out to the coaches and high schools to tell them ‘thank you.’ I got this award and probably wouldn’t have if they hadn’t giving me a chance and allowed me to speak to their students. I have so many people to thank!”

Categories: Business | Crenshaw & Around | Family | Local | National | News (Business) | News (Family) | News (Sports) | Sports
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