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'It’s not just about journalism, it’s about pressing the case of diversity in media'

Sept. 26, 2013

During the National Association of Black Journalists convention in Orlando, Fla., Eric Deggans, BA’90, was presented with the organization’s Arts and Entertainment Task Force Legacy Award.

Eric Deggans

IU alumnus Eric Deggans recently received the Arts and Entertainment Task Force Legacy Award as well as a position as NPR's first TV critic

“It’s really amazing, because the point of the Legacy award is that you’re supposed to be a good example.” Deggans said during a quiet moment at the conference.

“It’s not just about journalism, it’s about pressing the case of diversity in media, and helping increase diversity in the media, and fighting prejudice and stereotypes in news reporting -- all the things that NABJ stands for.”

This honorary award came the same week the Tampa Bay Times veteran TV and media critic accepted a position as NPR’s first TV critic. A frequent contributor to NPR, he starts his new post in October.

“Television is changing, and television is changing us,” Deggans said. “So, this is one of the great stories in pop culture. I think NPR just realized that to tell that story, they really needed a TV critic who could be on the ground floor and give them the heads up on what’s going on.”

Deggans served as a TV/media critic for the Times and other various media hubs (such as NPR and Huffington Post) for 18 years, often writing opinion columns and reviews. For the past six years, he also has been a blogger for the School of Journalism’s National Sports Journalism Center in Indianapolis.

Deggans is a past president of the Tampa Bay chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists and has served on the board of directors for the National Television Critics Association. He has lectured and taught at various colleges around the country, such as the the Poynter Institute for Media Studies, the University of South Florida and Columbia University. His book, "Race Baiter," delves into how race and issues concerning race are talked about in the media.

Deggans said he’s excited about his new position.

“There’s so much good will out there for NPR, so many people depend on the reporting, and they love it,” he said.

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