“Building Bridges, Not Walls, Explaining the Media's Confusing Coverage of Race, Gender and Difference”
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Eric Deggans is NPR’s first full-time TV critic, crafting stories and commentaries for the network’s shows, such as Morning Edition, Here & Now and All Things Considered, along with writing material for NPR.org. He also appears on NPR podcasts such as Code Switch and the Pop Culture Happy Hour and blogs such as Code Switch, Monkey See and The Two Way.
In addition to his work for NPR, Eric serves as a contributor and media analyst for MSNBC and NBC News, dissecting media issues on NBC TV platforms and online. He also serves as chairman for the board of educators, journalists and media experts who select the George Foster Peabody Awards for excellence in electronic media at the University of Georgia.
He came to NPR in September 2013 from the Tampa Bay Times newspaper in Florida, where he served as TV/Media Critic and in other roles for nearly 20 years. A journalist for more than two decades, he is also the author of Race-Baiter: How the Media Wields Dangerous Words to Divide a Nation, a look at how prejudice, racism and sexism fuels some elements of modern media, published in October 2012 by Palgrave Macmillan.
Eric guest hosted CNN’s media analysis show Reliable Sources several times in fall 2013, joining a select group of journalists and media critics filling in for departed host Howard Kurtz. That year, he also earned the Florida Press Club’s first-ever Diversity award, honoring his coverage of issues involving race and media. He has received Legacy awards from both the Tampa Bay Association of Black Journalists and the National Association of Black Journalists’ A&E Task Force. The NABJ’s award was an honor bestowed to “seasoned A&E journalists who are at the top of their careers.”
He also has joined a prestigious group of contributors to the first ethics book created in a partnership between Craigslist founder Craig Newmark and the Poynter Institute for Media Studies. Developed as Poynter’s first ethics book for the digital age, The New Ethics of Journalism was published in August 2013 by Sage/CQ Press.
In 2017, Eric was named one of the country’s 15 Most Influential Media Reporters by the website Mediaite and in 2009, he was cited as one of Ebony magazine’s “Power 150” – a list of influential black Americans which also included Oprah Winfrey and PBS host Gwen Ifill.
He lectured at Harvard’s COOP bookstore in 2017 and was named a distinguished alumnus of Indiana University’s Media School of journalism and communications in 2016. He has also lectured or taught as an adjunct professor at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, Indiana University, University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School for Communications, DePaul University, Loyola University, George Washington University, California State University, the University of Tampa and many other colleges.
Eric has served as keynote speaker for several groups, including Progressive Insurance, the Florida Library Association, the National High School Journalism Association, the Association for University and College Counseling Center Directors and the International Communication Association. He has also moderated public discussions with notables like Empire star Taraji P. Henson, Tonight Show bandleader and The Roots drummer/producer Questlove, TV producing legend Norman Lear and stars/producers of The Walking Dead series for the Smithsonian and the National Endowment for the Arts.
His writing has also appeared in the New York Times online, Ebony magazine, POLITICO, ESPN’s The Undefeated website, the Los Angeles Review of Books, Salon magazine, CNN.com, the Washington Post, Village Voice, VIBE magazine, Chicago Tribune, Detroit Free Press, Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago Tribune, Seattle Times, Emmy magazine, Newsmax magazine, Rolling Stone Online and a host of other newspapers across the country.
From 2004 to 2005, he sat on the then-St. Petersburg Times editorial board and wrote bylined opinion columns. From 1997 to 2004, he worked as TV critic for the Times, crafting reviews, news stories and long-range trend pieces on the state of the media industry both locally and nationally. He originally joined the paper as its pop music critic in November 1995; he has also worked at the Asbury Park Press in New Jersey and both the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and Pittsburgh Press newspapers in Pennsylvania.
Now serving as co-chair of the Media Monitoring Committee for the National Association of Black Journalists, he has also served on the board of directors for the national Television Critics Association and on the board of the Mid-Florida Society of Professional Journalists.
Additionally, he worked as a professional drummer in the 1980s, touring and performing with Motown recording artists The Voyage Band throughout the Midwest and in Osaka, Japan. He continues to perform with area bands and recording artists as a drummer, bassist and vocalist.