February 13, 2015

I’m devoting today’s newsletter to David Carr, The New York Times media critic who died on Thursday night. Unlike a lot of people writing about Carr today, I didn’t know him. But like a lot of people reading about Carr today, I was profoundly influenced anyway.

  1. On Thursday, he moderated a discussion between Laura Poitras, Glenn Greenwald and Edward Snowden

    Thursday night, Carr collapsed in the newsroom. Carr “was the finest media reporter of his generation, a remarkable and funny man who was one of the leaders of our newsroom,” the Times’ Executive Editor Dean Baquet said in a statement. (The New York Times) | “He was the best and most important media reporter of our time, and he was explaining this revolution that’s happening to the world around us,” CNN’s Brian Stelter said of Carr. Stelter read this line from Carr’s book: “I now inhabit a life I don’t deserve. But we all walk this earth feeling like we are frauds. The trick is to be grateful and hope the caper doesn’t end soon.” (SnappyTV)

  2. His work

    Many of us will probably reread Carr’s piece on Sam Zell and the Tribune Company today. (The New York Times) | But read this, too. It’s an adaptation of Carr’s book, “The Night of the Gun,” on his life with addiction and his life after addiction. (The New York Times) | And here’s Carr’s archives for the Times. (The New York Times)

  3. The Vice interview

    From “Page One,” this clip of Carr taking no shit from Vice’s Shane Smith has been viewed more than 100,000 times on YouTube. (YouTube) | My colleague Ben Mullin included this from that video in a piece last night. “As Smith talks about the disparity between the kind of everyman reporting Vice offers and the trivial accounts he reads in The New York Times, Carr cuts him off: ‘Just a sec, time out. Before you ever went there, we’ve had reporters there reporting on genocide after genocide. Just because you put on a fucking safari helmet and looked at some poop doesn’t give you a right to insult what we do. So continue, continue.'” (Poynter) | “This scene, then, isn’t just about a grouchy columnist scolding some young upstarts. It’s about the clash between old and new media, between disruptor and disrupted, and Carr sticking up for the value and values of old-school journalism in the face of an industry that sometimes seemed to reject both.” (Vox) | Carr later wrote about that conversation for the Times. “When I was bumping bellies with Mr. Smith over whose coverage was worthier, I failed to recognize that in a world that is hostile to journalism in all its forms, where dangerous conflicts seem to jump off every other day, you can’t be uppity about where your news comes from. I’m just glad that someone’s willing to do the important work of bearing witness, the kind that can get you killed if something goes wrong.” (The New York Times)

  4. Remembering

    There are already a lot of tributes to Carr. Keith Kelly wrote about him Friday for the New York Post. “He was larger than life, a fierce rival and a friend.” (The New York Post) | From Fusion’s Alexis Madrigal “David Carr was a bad motherfucker. Tough, tough. Feared nobody, pulled no punches. Called billionaires on their shit. In a field of cowardice, he was a statue of honor, even heroism.” (Fusion) | From Circa’s Anthony De Rosa, “The voice, the sly smile, his corny jokes. David was incredibly kind and generous.” (Medium) | “We all looked to @carr2n to make sense of the media revolution & to contemplate the future. A future without him is terrible to contemplate.” (@brianstelter) | “When David Carr took over the Washington City Paper in the mid 1990s he hired me and @tanehisicoates, as interns. His first year. @carr2n” (@jelani9) | “No one was a better critic of and believer in the fundamental goodness of the business of journalism. No one.” (@lpolgreen) | “The only person who could adequately express how we all feel is David Carr.” (@ravisomaiya)

  5. The best advice young journalists will find

    Carr gave the commencement address at the University of California, Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism. “Being a journalist, I never feel bad talking to journalism students because it’s a grand, grand caper. You get to leave, go talk to strangers, ask them anything, come back, type up their stories, edit the tape. That’s not gonna retire your loans as quickly as it should, and it’s not going to turn you into a person who’s worried about what kind of car they should buy, but that’s kind of as it should be. I mean, it beats working.” (Poynter) | Here’s Carr’s bio from his journalism class for Boston University. “Your professor is a terrible singer and a decent dancer. He is a movie crier but stone-faced in real life. He never laughs even when he is actually amused. He hates suck-ups, people who treat waitresses and cab drivers poorly, and anybody who think diversity is just an academic conceit. He is a big sucker for the hard worker and is rarely dazzled by brilliance. He has little patience for people who pretend to ask questions when all they really want to do is make a speech.” (Poynter)

  6. The best advice any journalist will find

    Carr’s reddit AMA from two years ago is packed with great advice, including this: “Your favorite writers block cure?” “Typing” (reddit) | Vox has pulled together more of that advice, including “Keep typing until it turns into writing.” (Vox)

  7. Front page of the day

    Carr’s obituary is on the front page of The New York Times today. (Courtesy the Newseum)


    Corrections? Tips? Please email me: khare@poynter.org. Would you like to get this roundup emailed to you every morning? Sign up here.

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Kristen Hare teaches local journalists the critical skills they need to serve and cover their communities as Poynter's local news faculty member. Before joining faculty…
Kristen Hare

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