Deggans on Kathy Fountain's WTVT show today to talk race, religion and media
Even before the Jeremiah Wright controversy nearly sunk Barack Obama's presidential campaign, it has been obvious that controversies over race and religion stand at the heart of some of the biggest stories in media these days.
So, when the journalism group I lead, the Tampa Bay Association of Black Journalists, was looking for a project to team with the Council on American Islamic Relations and the Hillsborough NAACP, a public forum on the way the media has covered race and religion seemed like a no-brainer.
The Tampa/Hillsborough Human Rights Council has also joined the fold, and together we four groups will present a free public forum Thursday called: Race Religion and Media: Are We Getting the Coverage We Deserve? For a preview of the discussion, you can tune into Kathy Fountain's midday show on WTVT-Ch. 13 at 12:25 p.m. today, where I'll be appearing with several other panelists to discuss the issues.
The public fourm will be held Thursday at 7 p.m. in the Student Services Auditorium at the Hillsborough Community College's Dale Mabry Campus, 4001 Tampa Bay Blvd., right across from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers football stadium in Tampa. Admission is free and all are invited to attend.
* Arthur Jones, pastor, Bible Based Fellowship Church and friend of Rev. Wright
* Ahmed Bedier, civil rights activist, president Tampa/Hillsborough HRC
* Bill Keller, evangelist, LivePrayer.com
* Michelle Bearden, religion reporter, Tampa Tribune/WFLA-Ch. 8/TBO.com
* Otis Anthony, host, Sunday Forum, WMNF-FM
* Ken Irby, Visual journalism Group Leader, Poynter Institute
I'll be moderating the panel, which I expect to touch on everything from how journalists handled reporting on Wright to the conflict between Keller and area Muslims, controversies involving the coverage of local churches such as Without Walls and coverage of the arrest and prosecution of local Muslim college students accused of transporting explosives.
The event will feature lots of feedback from the public, so we're hoping anyone in the area with an interest in these issues shows up -- the audience will be given ample time to ask questions. At a time when media ignorance of these issues seems at an all-time high, journalists are increasingly challenged to cut through the nonsense with incisive, enlightened coverage.
Here's your chance to let us know how we're doing....