Decoding the media and its messages topic of Carleton convocation

May 6, 2017

National Public Radio television critic Eric Deggans will present Carleton’s weekly convocation address on Friday, May 12 from 10:50 to 11:50 a.m. in the Skinner Memorial Chapel. In his incisive talk, “Building Bridges Instead of Walls: Decoding Media’s Confusing Coverage of Race and Culture,” Deggans will explain how media outlets have fallen short in covering these issues for their audiences. He will also provide tips on how to recognize when media outlets are practicing the politics of division, offering tips on how to decode what their messages are really trying to achieve. 

Carleton convocations are free and open to the public; they are also recorded and archived for online viewing at 

From the turbulence of modern elections to protests over policing in communities of color and fears of religious-inspired terrorism, America is increasingly divided by fierce debates among citizens divided by race, class, culture and belief systems. 

Often it seems the nation’s media outlets – which audiences hope will cut through the chaos – instead contribute to it. Either they fumble to understand the issues at hand or they cynically exploit the controversies to build ratings, revenue and influence, regardless of the cost to society. 

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 and the website’s blogs such as Code Switch, Monkey See and The Two Way. 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 (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012), a look at how prejudice, racism and sexism fuels some elements of modern media.

In 2013, Deggans 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.” Deggans also serves on the board of educators, journalists and media experts who select the George Foster Peabody Awards for excellence in electronic media.

Deggans 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.

Named in 2009 as one of Ebony magazine’s “Power 150” – a list of influential black Americans including Oprah Winfrey and PBS host Gwen Ifill – Deggans 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 DePaul University, Loyola University, George Washington University, California State University, Indiana University, University of Tampa, Eckerd College and many other colleges.

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

Now serving as co-chair of the Media Monitoring Committee for the National Association of Black Journalists, Deggans 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.

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This event is sponsored by the Carleton Convocations Committee. For more information, including disability accommodations, call (507) 222-4308. The Skinner Memorial Chapel is located at First and College Streets in Northfield.