RIP New York Times Columnist David Carr, 1956 – 2015

Cinema Cafe 7 - 2011 Sundance Film Festival
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New York Times journalist David Carr has passed away at the age of 58. Carr was found after collapsing in the New York Times newsroom and pronounced dead after being rushed to Roosevelt Hospital. Carr had moderated a panel on CitizenFour earlier featuring Edward Snowden, Glenn Greenwald, and director Laura Poitras. From The New York Times:

Mr. Carr wrote about cultural subjects for The Times; he initiated the feature known as The Carpetbagger, a regular report on the news and nonsense from the red carpet during awards season. He championed offbeat movies like “Juno,” with Ellen Page, and he interviewed stars both enduring and evanescent — Woody Harrelson, Neil Young, Michael Cera. More recently, however, he was best known for The Media Equation, a Monday column in The Times that analyzed news and developments in publishing, television, social media — for which he was an early evangelist — and other mass communications platforms. His plainspoken style was sometimes blunt, and searingly honest about himself. The effect was both folksy and sophisticated, a voice from a shrewd and well-informed skeptic.

“We want our anchors to be both good at reading the news and also pretending to be in the middle of it,” he wrote on Monday in the wake of revelations that the NBC anchor Brian Williams had lied about being in a helicopter under fire in Iraq in 2003.

“That’s why, when the forces of man or Mother Nature whip up chaos, both broadcast and cable news outlets are compelled to ship the whole heaving apparatus to far-flung parts of the globe, with an anchor as the flag bearer. We want our anchors to be everywhere, to be impossibly famous, globe-trotting, hilarious, down-to-earth, and above all, trustworthy. It’s a job description that no one can match.”

It’s truly hard to process a loss like this when it’s so sudden. I was just reading his reaction on the passing of Bob Simon from CBS News, another sudden death, and now I’m covering his own passing. It’s odd to read, even without a personal connection.

One thing is certain, Carr lived a heck of a life. Whether you see him in the NYT documentary Page One or you read his memoir The Night of the Gun, you realize he’s crawled through some gritty experiences to get to his position with the Times. He’s rough, gruff, to the point, but with just a glance at his obituary or any of the work he’s published, you can see the dedication. Hopefully journalism can get a reprieve from all of this tragedy and scandal. This week has not been kind. Rest in peace.

(Via The New York Times)

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