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Kevin Merida, the former Washington Post managing editor who now leads ESPN’s “The Undefeated,” will give the keynote convocation speech to the fall 2017 graduates of Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.
The ceremony will be held Monday, Dec. 11, at 7 p.m. at ASU Gammage. More than 250 students are expected to graduate.
Merida serves as senior vice president and editor-in-chief of “The Undefeated,” ESPN’s media platform that explores the intersections of race, sports and culture. The website provides in-depth reporting, commentary and insight on race and culture through the lens of sports.
Prior to joining ESPN in 2015, Merida served as The Washington Post’s managing editor for news, features and the Universal News Desk, where he led the newspaper’s digital transformation that resulted in one of the largest increases in audience growth of any media outlet. He was the first African-American to hold a managing editor position at the Post, which won three Pulitzer Prizes during his tenure.
“Kevin Merida is world-class journalist, a digital media pioneer and one of our profession’s leading voices on race and culture,” said Cronkite School Dean Christopher Callahan. “We are excited to have him as our keynote speaker and look forward to celebrating the achievements of our outstanding graduates.”
Merida joined the Post in 1993 as a congressional correspondent and national political writer, where he covered the 1996 presidential campaign. At the Post, he also was a section feature writer (1997-2001), magazine columnist (2001-2004), associate editor (2001-2008) and national editor (2009-2013).
Under his leadership as national editor, he supervised coverage of Congress, the presidency, national politics, national security and health and science. He also oversaw news coverage of key national events such as the killing of Osama bin Laden, the BP oil spill and the battle over health care.
Merida started his career as a general assignment reporter for The Milwaukee Journal in 1979. From 1983-1993, he worked for The Dallas Morning News, where he served as a White House correspondent during George H.W. Bush’s presidency.
Merida is a graduate of Boston University and is the author of “Supreme Discomfort: The Divided Soul of Clarence Thomas” with Michael Fletcher and “Obama: The Historic Campaign in Photographs” with Deborah Willis.