New York Times columnist David Carr passes away

by Shaun Manning on February 13, 2015

The media world mourns the passing of David Carr, the forward-thinking media columnist at the New York Times. Carr, 58, died Thursday evening after collapsing in the Times newsroom.

Shortly before his unexpected death, Carr moderated a panel at the New School on Citizenfour with director Laura Poitras, journalist Glenn Greenwald, and whistleblower Edward Snowden. Video of the discussion is available at the Times’ TimesTalks site.

Carr established himself as a respected and thoughtful culture writer and media analyst, and was “an early evangelist” for social media, according to his Times obituary. His weekly Media Equation column was an especially valuable resource for those working in or merely fascinated by the evolving media landscape, including publishing.

As the Times began its  experimentation with multimedia journalism, Carr was one of the columnists leading the digital charge. At a time when many reporters were trying to figure out how to work Twitter into their workflow, Carr was granted permission to set up video recording equipment in his basement to create segments for the Times. “I wanted to be blogging and doing these almost daily,” he told Nikki Usher, author of Making News at the New York Times, in 2010. “They don’t want that yet—but the fact that I just [asked to film] videos in my basement, and they said, ‘Okay, Sparky, give it a whirl’ [shows that] they are a lot more prone toward beta and experimentation on the web.”

New York Times publisher and chairman Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr., in a statement, described Carr as “one of the most gifted journalists who has ever worked at The New York Times.” “He combined formidable talent as a reporter with acute judgment to become an indispensable guide to modern media. But his friends at The Times and beyond will remember him as a unique human being — full of life and energy, funny, loyal and lovable. An irreplaceable talent, he will be missed by everyone who works for The Times and everyone who reads it.”

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