Talking Points:  Mass media, TV industry, music industry, pop culture, racial issues, media ethics, journalism, media technology.

Education: Bachelor of Arts in political science and journalism from IndianaUniversity.

Awards:

2016 – Distinguished Alumni Award in Journalism, Indiana University Media School

2015 – Legacy award, Tampa Bay Association of Black Journalists.

2013 – Diversity award, Florida Press Club; Legacy award, A&E Task Force, National Assoc. of Black Journalists.

2012 – Salute to Excellence award, Radio Commentary, National Assoc. of Black Journalists; Best A&E Commentary, Society for Features Journalism.

2010 – Finalist, Excellence in Feature Writing, American Association of Sunday and Feature Editors.

Eric Deggans is NPR’s first full-time TV critic. He came to NPR 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 20 years, 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.

He has guest hosted CNN’s media analysis show Reliable Sources many times, joining a select group of journalists and media critics filling in for departed host Howard Kurtz. In 2013, he was awarded the Florida Press Club’s first-ever Diversity award, honoring his coverage of issues involving race and media. That year, he also received the Legacy award from the National Association of Black Journalists’ A&E Task Force, an honor bestowed to “seasoned A&E journalists who are at the top of their careers.” Eric also serves on the board of educators, journalists and media experts who select the George Foster Peabody Awards for excellence in electronic media.

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.

Eric has won reporting and writing awards from the Society for Features Journalism, American Association of Sunday and Feature Editors, the Society of Professional Journalists, the National Association of Black Journalists, The Florida Press Club and the Florida Society of News Editors. In 2010, he made national headlines interviewing former USDA official Shirley Sherrod at the NABJ’s summer convention in San Diego, leading a panel discussion that was covered by all the major cable news and network TV morning shows.

Named in 2009 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 was selected to lecture at Columbia University’s prestigious Graduate School of Journalism in 2008 and 2005. He has also lectured or taught as an adjunct professor at Loyola University, California State University, Indiana University, University of Tampa, Eckerd College and many other colleges.

His writing has also appeared in the New York Times online, 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 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.

BACKGROUND: Born in Washington D.C. but raised in Gary, Ind., Eric began work full time at NPR in 2013 after 18 years at the Tampa Bay Times/St. Petersburg Times. He came to the Times in 1995 after serving as pop music critic for the Asbury Park Press newspaper in New Jersey. He began his journalism career in municipal reporting jobs at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and Pittsburgh Press newspapers in Pennsylvania.

 

FUN FACT: Eric has worked as a professional drummer, touring and performing with Motown recording artists The Voyage Band in the 1980s, playing throughout the Midwest and in Osaka, Japan. He continues to perform with area bands and recording artists as a drummer, bassist and vocalist.

Photo credit: Todd Bates
attends The 74th Annual Peabody Awards Ceremony at Cipriani Wall Street on May 31, 2015 in New York City.
Eric covers the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Photo credit: Willie J. Allen Jr.