Tampa Bay area African-American news anchors talk about their jobs in the age of Obama

  • WFLA's Josh Thomas, Bay News 9's Erica Riggins & WTSP's Reginald Roundtree

"I have never seen so much decisiveness and disrespect for the office of the president of the United States in my life, and it made me angry, not only as an American, but as an African-American."

That was WTSP-Channel 10 lead anchorman Reginald Roundtree, kicking off an engaging discussion about race, politics and the media inside the headquarters of Nielsen Media Research in Oldsmar on Thursday night. The discussion took place during the Tampa Bay Association of Black Journalists Griot Drum Awards banquet.

Joining Roundtree in the discussion were two other local news anchors of color: Josh Thomas of WFLA News Channel 8 and Erica Riggins of Bay News 9. Roundtree, who barely made it in time for the discussion in between anchoring his 6 and 11 p.m. newscasts, stood out with his candor, humor and intensity.

Posing the questions to the local anchors was Tampa Bay Times media critic Eric Deggans, who adroitly navigates the issue of race and the media in our times in his dazzling new book, Race-Baiter.

The election of the country's first black president in 2008 was a seminal moment in U.S. history. But nobody said it cured all our racial ills.

Just in case you thought otherwise, some of the stories told by our local anchormen and women could quickly disabuse you of that notion.