Times critic of media dies at 58, David Carr
New York Times media columnist David Carr has died at the age of 58.
Carr, who wrote the Media Equation column for the Times, died after he collapsed in the newsroom on Thursday, according to the Times. He was then taken to St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
The news comes one day after the death of revered 60 Minutes correspondent Bob Simon in a livery car crash in Manhattan Wednesday night, and caps a week that has rocked the journalism industry. On Tuesday, NBC announced it would suspend anchor Brian Williams for six months without pay after revelations that he claimed to have been on board a Chinook helicopter that went down during the U.S. invasion of Iraq.
Journalism colleagues expressed surprise and sadness at the news of Carr’s death, some noting that it has been a troubling week in the world of media and journalism.
David Folkenflik, National Public Radio media correspondent, tweeted, “A terrible stretch for journalists and those who care about journalism.”
Mark Halperin, author and managing editor of Bloomberg Politics, tweeted, “In Latin, we’d call David Carr ‘sui generis.’ In English, we’d call him an American original. In my gut, I’d call him irreplaceable.”
Carr joined the Times in 2002 as a business reporter and wrote his weekly column for the business section of the news organization. His work focused on print, digital, film, radio and television issues.
Before joining the Times’ staff, Carr served as contributing writer for The Atlantic Monthly and New York magazine.
The columnist’s 2008 book, The Night of the Gun, was a memoir of addiction and recovery that used reporting to fact check the past. A good deal of the data and information that he compiled, including videos, documents and pictures, is available online, The New York Times said.
Members of the public took to social media to express confusion and surprise at the sudden shakeups among very visible journalism personalities.
Oddly, two of the incidents were connected on Wednesday when Carr appeared on CBS This Morning to express support for NBC’s decision to temporarily remove Brian Williams from the anchor chair and the payroll.
“The credibility of the news division had to be protected under all circumstances, and his path back to that chair is uncertain,” Carr said.
Fellow journalists and fans described Carr as smart and witty. He was known to tell young journalists that the best remedy for writer’s block was typing. In making reference to his former days as an alcohol and drug abuser, he said that he could not tell the difference between clips that he’d written sober or under the influence which proved, he said, that the creative muse visits when it wants.
One of Carr’s last acts as a journalist was moderating a “Times Talks” panel on Thursday with Edward Snowden, director Laura Poitras and journalist Glenn Greenwald. He spoke to them about the film Citizenfour, which documents Snowden’s — who spoke via live video — National Security Agency document revelations.
“Something about the way you made that movie and what it reveals — it just makes it a little harder to sleep,” he told Poitras.
Carr is survived by his wife, Jill Rooney Carr, and daughters Maddie, Erin and Meaghan.