David Carr's sudden and untimely death last week hit hard. Not only for me, but seemingly for every journalist on Twitter or with their own blog. As I noted on Facebook, I always read Carr's "The Media Equation" column even if it was the only thing I read in the New York Times that day.
There were many reasons for this. The changing role of journalism in the 21st century--more voices, less "authority"--is fascinating. Carr chronicled these shifts inimitably, leaving behind brilliant quotes and observations. And Carr had wrestled with, and defeated, his own demons of drug addiction to become a preeminent journalist. His was a tale of redemption worth saluting.
It was only after his death, however, that I realized the main reason I gravitated to Carr's words. He was an old-style journalist--a tireless reporter, a skilled analyst who seemingly had newsprint on his fingers--who eagerly embraced the new. He tweeted voraciously and was an early adopter of Medium.
David Carr did not attempt to fortify himself against the terrors of new media. Instead he went out and embraced them, without ever sacrificing the values and rigor that led him to journalism in the first place. With an open mind and an inventive spirit, Carr proved that we can have our cake and eat it too.
This viewpoint is on full display in the syllabus for his Boson University journalism course "Press Play." The syllabus, of course, is available on Medium.