RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) – Veteran journalist Eric Philips has joined the anchor team at WRIC ABC 8News. He brings more than two decades of extensive experience and a passion for fair and accurate reporting to the newsroom. His first day behind the anchor desk is Tuesday, Aug. 31.

Prior to joining the team at 8News, Philips was the National Security Correspondent and White House Correspondent for the Christian Broadcasting Network in Washington, D.C. He previously worked for CNN and broadcast stations in Atlanta, Charlotte, Norfolk and Salisbury, Maryland.

Television viewers in Central Virginia will remember Philips from his time at WWBT Channel 12 where he was an anchor and reporter.

“Eric’s deep journalism experience and familiarity with Richmond makes him a perfect fit to join the WRIC 8News team,” said Shane Moreland, News Director at WRIC ABC 8News. “We are really excited to get Eric back in RVA anchoring local news. And we know viewers will be happy to see him again as well.”

Although his career took him to Washington for a few years, Philips and his family have called Henrico County home since 2015.

“I love RVA. It’s why I still live in RVA,” he said. “From the time my family and I came here, we found this to be an extremely special place and were highly reluctant after I changed jobs going to work in Washington. So, we decided not to move, and we stayed.”

Philips, along with his wife and two children, remained in Henrico County while he worked for CBN in Washington. His daily commute is no more, but the lessons he learned while covering national news for CBN stay with him as he comes home to local news.

Eric Philips at The White House
Eric Philips at The White House

“We are focused on RVA – local happenings and local news that affects people in their neighborhoods,” explained Philips. “But those big stories that happen out of Washington and around the country will affect people in their neighborhoods. It may not be happening locally, but it will have an effect on their lives.”

During his time covering national security for CBN, civil unrest swept across the nation following the murder of George Floyd. Philips’ reporting changed at that time – the national security story was focused on the United States instead of countries abroad.

“That was something that happened in our country that had ripple effects not only domestically, but also internationally,” Philips said. “And so that became a major focus of what I covered during my time as national security correspondent.”

For Philips, those experiences covering national stories and connecting them with viewers provided good training for his role behind the 8News anchor desk. He plans to draw on his past roles as he builds a new relationship with the audiences across Central Virginia.

“As journalists, we have to be sensitive to what our viewers, and what our readers, are going through and really dial into that and make sure we are bringing them the information that’s going to make their lives better – to help them make the decisions that they have to make,” he said.

Eric Philips with his family
Eric Philips with his family at Nauticus in Norfolk, Virginia

“We can’t make those decisions for them, but we can give them the information they need.”

Philips says that getting back into the community and getting to know more people are the things that he’s looking forward to as he begins this new role.

“Coming back to Richmond and back to the local audience, re-establishing and growing the relationship with the local viewer, is number one,” said Philips. “I look forward to being active in the community. I look forward to jumping into community activities, community events, and being accessible and reachable for viewers.”

As Philips enters viewers’ homes each evening and becomes a regular part of community events, there are a few things the community should know – family, faith, journalism and laughter are what drives Philips in his life and career.

“I have a real, serious, consistent faith life and that plays a big part in who I am as well because not only do I want to be the best me I can be, but I want to be the best representative of Christ and that’s also very important to me …  And then in our community, and when I say our community I’m speaking of the community as a whole and then specifically in the African American community, it’s important to me to be a role model,” he said.

Philips is a graduate of Hampton University where he earned a BA in Mass Media Arts with an emphasis in Broadcasting.

He’s also earning a reputation at home, and at work, for his dad jokes.

“Being able to laugh with, and at, ourselves is an important aspect in our day-to-day lives, especially with so much going on,” said Philips. “At the same time, I hope that viewers will learn that I am serious about journalism and I am serious about getting the story right the first time.”

You can follow Philips on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.