Doug Dederer was a self-taught journalist who never finished high school and cut his reporting teeth in the Army during World War II as a message carrier, and later, reporter for the Stars and Stripes.
He moved to the Space Coast from a job on what is now the Jacksonville Times-Union in 1957 to be a columnist for the Cocoa Tribune. He became a reporter and columnist for Florida Today when it took over the Tribune.
Lack of academic credentials did not detract from Dederer's ability as a reporter. Jack King, who headed the Associated Press bureau at the beginning of the space program once said, "He was a hell of a newsman in his particular day. He consistently beat other journalists about launches at what is now NASA's Kennedy Space Center." Howard Benedict, who succeeded King as AP bureau chief said, "He ruffled a lot of feathers…but he was doing his job and doing it well."
In addition to his job on the Florida Today, he spent a number of years as a correspondent for the New York Times. He also started the Surfside Slant in 1968 and operated the beach community publication through 1973. The Surfside Slant lived up to its name by allowing Dederer to express his own opinions in its stories.
Dederer passed away in 1985 at the age of 58 after a lengthy illness.