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David Carr

CBS news correspondent Bob Simon died tragically on Wednesday night.

New York Times columnist David Carr died tragically last night.

Two tragic days for American journalism.

David Carr wasn’t from the east coast, he was from Minnesota.

David Carr didn’t go to an Ivy League school and wasn’t born with a silver spoon in his mouth.

David Carr was not a list maker or an aggregator, he was a journalist. One of the few that remained. One of the few that mattered.

He was a guy who had been through some shit. You just knew it. You saw it in his face and in the way he spoke. David Carr was a weathered guy. He was also a recovering addict who worked his way through weeklies up to the mother-ship of journalism, The New York Times.

That should give you an idea of David Carr’s incredible mettle and his enormous talent.

I was fortunate enough to see him interview Susan Orlean when she was promoting her book, Rin Tin Tin: The Life and the Legend. I thought he was a bit of a dick because he was pretty cantankerous and he kept looking at his watch. But the more I read him and watched him interview people, that was just who he was.

He was who he was. I identified with that.

I only knew Carr through his column but would email or send him a Tweet now and again when I agreed or didn’t agree with him. Occasionally, he would reply. I emailed him just five days ago because of this article. I felt he was giving Brian Williams somewhat of a pass. I still feel that way.

In part, I wrote:

…Recently your candor about not pushing Bill Cosby on certain things when you interviewed I felt to be honest…which is what ALL news people should strive for. Sure, failure is inevitable, but honesty is the single most important benchmark of journalism is it not?
This last paragraph of your recent article stuck in my craw a little “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.
I couldn’t disagree more. I just want them to be honest and trustworthy. The rest of that crap? Leave it to celebrities. News anchors are NOT celebrities. Well, they shouldn’t be. I want American news to live up to what it was set up to do, keep things in check. Report news.

For the record, I don’t believe Williams should be drawn and quartered, but he needs to be fired...”

I didn’t expect a reply and I didn’t get one. But I know he read it (technology).

I wrote that I want American news to live up to what it was set up to do, keep things in check. Report news. Without David Carr and Bob Simon, we’re short two people who actually did that.

David Carr was outspoken and honest.

Carr inadvertently ended up being one of the focal points of the film “Page One: Inside the New York Times” (a must see if you are in any form of media). He famously railed on Vice Media in the documentary. What is less known is that he ended up recanting his vitriol and apologizing, recognizing Vice for what it is, a formidable new media company.

Like Carr, I too am a Minnesotan and share a similar work ethic (not that it is ONLY found in mid-westerners but we do tend to be a hard-working bunch) so I do find some solace in knowing he died working to the very end. “Mr. Carr collapsed in the Times newsroom, where he was found shortly before 9 p.m. He was taken to St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Earlier in the evening, he moderated a panel discussion about the film “Citizenfour” with its principal subject, Edward J. Snowden; the film’s director, Laura Poitras; and Glenn Greenwald, a journalist.

David Carr is an epic loss for those of us in media, for those of us that care about journalism and for any one of us who give a shit about truth. The same can be said about the loss of Bob Simon.

My heart goes out to their families. Truly.

Their loss is America’s loss and a loss for Democracy.

These are two very tragic days for the Simon and Carr families and for America journalism.

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There are a ton of obituaries out there on both Carr and Simon, this was very good. Bob Lefsetz on David Carr.