“The Future of TV, Social Media and Objective Truth In the Modern World”
Today’s clash between political ideologies and evolving technologies has created a world where people have trouble agreeing on the most basic facts, even as the growing reach of media products connects us in ways we could not have imagined just 10 years ago. Through his work as a media analyst, TV critic and social issues thought leader, Eric Deggans has developed a presentation outlining how media technology will evolve in the future and how that will affect how we all communicate with each other. He explores whether the film industry has a future, why misinformation and argument culture may be the biggest threat to democracy and why what the consumer wants is becoming the most powerful metric in media.
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 “Life Kit,” “Code Switch,” “It’s Been a Minute,” and “Pop Culture Happy Hour.”
In addition to his NPR work, Deggans is a contributor and medEricia analyst for MSNBC and NBC News, dissecting media issues on NBC TV platforms and online. He is an adjunct instructor of journalism and public policy in the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University. And in 2020, he was given the Distinguished Alumni Service Award by Indiana University — the institution’s highest alumni honor — four years after Indiana University’s Media School of journalism and communications named him a distinguished alumnus.
In 2019, Eric became the first African American to serve 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. And in August 2019, he was honored with American Sociological Association’s Excellence in the Reporting of Social Issues Award.
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 three 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.
Deggans 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; Eric appeared on Kurtz’s last show, guest hosted the program three times and then appeared on new host Brian Stelter’s first show.
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, Deggans 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. Deggans 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. His writing has also appeared in the New York Times online, Ebony magazine, POLITICO, Columbia Journalism Review, ESPN’s The Undefeated website, the Los Angeles Review of Books, Salon magazine, CNN.com, the Washington Post, Village Voice, VIBE magazine, Emmy magazine, Newsmax magazine, Rolling Stone Online and a host of other newspapers across the country.
From 2004 to 2005, he sat on the editorial board for then-St. Petersburg Times (now known as the Tampa Bay Times) 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 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.