The Nation’s Largest African American Video Oral History Collection Mobile search icon Mobile close search icon
Advanced Biography Search
Mobile navigation icon Close mobile navigation icon

Eric Deggans

Journalist Eric Deggans was born on November 6, 1965 in Washington, D.C. He was raised in Gary, Indiana and graduated from Andrean High School. In the 1980s, while attending Indiana University, Deggans worked as a professional drummer and toured with Motown recording artist The Voyage Band. He received his B.A. degree in political science and journalism from Indiana University in 1990.

Deggans first held municipal reporting positions at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and Pittsburgh Press newspapers in Pennsylvania. He then served as the music critic for the Asbury Park Press newspaper in Neptune, New Jersey. In 1995, Deggans joined the Tampa Bay Times, then called the St. Petersburg Times, as its pop music critic. From 1997 to 2004, he worked as a TV critic for the Times, and, from 2004 to 2005, he sat on the paper’s editorial board and wrote bylined opinion columns. Deggans then returned to the Tampa Bay Times news desk, first as a media writer in 2005, then as the TV critic in 2006. In 2010, he made national headlines when he interviewed former USDA official Shirley Sherrod at the National Association of Black Journalists’ summer convention in San Diego, California. Deggans left the Tampa Bay Times in 2013 to take a job as NPR's first full-time TV critic.

Deggans published his first book, Race-Baiter: How the Media Wields Dangerous Words to Divide a Nation, in 2012. He also contributed to the Poynter Institute’s The New Ethics of Journalism, which was published in August 2013. Deggans’ writing has 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, The Seattle Times, Emmy magazine, Newsmax magazine, and Rolling Stone Online, among others. Deggans also taught at Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism, Loyola University, California State University, Indiana University, the University of Tampa, and Eckerd College, and has guest hosted CNN’s media analysis show Reliable Sources.

Deggans served as chair of the Media Monitoring Committee for the National Association of Black Journalists, and sat on the board of directors for the national Television Critics Association and the Mid-Florida Society of Professional Journalists. In addition, he served on the board of educators, journalists and media experts who select the George Foster Peabody Awards for excellence in electronic media.

Deggans was named as one of Ebony magazine's "Power 150" in 2009. In 2013, he was awarded the Florida Press Club’s first-ever Diversity Award, and the National Association of Black Journalists’ Arts & Entertainment Task Force Legacy Award. Deggans also received reporting and writing awards from the Society for Features Journalism, American Association of Sunday and Feature Editors, the Society of Professional Journalists, and the Florida Society of News Editors.

Eric Deggans was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on September 12, 2014.

Accession Number

A2014.197

Sex

Male

Interview Date

9/12/2014

Last Name

Deggans

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Charles

Occupation
Schools

Frederick Douglass Elementary School

Hebrew Academy of Northwest Indiana

Andrean High School

Indiana University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Eric

Birth City, State, Country

Washington

HM ID

DEG02

State

District of Columbia

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Florida

Birth Date

11/6/1965

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

St. Petersburg

Country

United States

Short Description

Journalist Eric Deggans (1965 - ) , NPR's first full-time TV critic, worked at the Tampa Bay Times for eighteen years as an entertainment critic and columnist. He also authored Race-Baiter: How the Media Wields Dangerous Words to Divide a Nation.

Employment

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Pittsburgh Press

Asbury Park Press

Tampa Bay Times

NPR