Tactics Remembers The New York Times’ David Carr

March 2, 2015

David Carr
David Carr

Noted media critic David Carr passed away suddenly on Feb. 12 after collapsing in the newsroom of The New York Times from cancer-related complications. He was 58.

At Tactics, we’re saddened by this journalistic loss. We looked forward to seeing him at various events around New York City. We’ll miss reading his Monday “Media Equation” columns in the Times and will remember him as a fierce champion of journalism embracing new changes in technology, saying, “It’s never been a better time to be in the middle of it.”

We’ve rounded up some of the sage advice that Carr has shared with our publication as well as excerpts from some of his panels and events we’ve covered through the years: 

On Twitter’s place in 21st-century reporting:

“The mediums aren’t the messages, the messages are the medium."

On the demise of “old media”:

“Paper is not just how news is delivered; it is how it is paid for.”

On brand journalism:

“It feels like we’re in the middleman business. We’re between the consumer and the brands.”

On e-commerce and managing a brand:

“Apple’s crowning achievement is less about technology. They built a store where people like to give them money.”

On social media:

“Anyone who gets up in front of you and says they know what’s going on is wrong.”

On digital journalism:

“On the digital side, our audience is limitless. The only thing it lacks is a business model.”

On public relations:

“The fact that your clients are freaked out is not a bad thing. If your clients want to find something bad about themselves [online], they will find it. Convince clients you have got to be proactive and go look for yourselves. With the amount of clutter out there, if you can’t be seen, you won’t be heard.”

On mainstream media gatekeepers:

“The most trusted source is a trusted friend. Deep verticals may mean your most important messenger is living in her mom’s basement.”

On writing:

“People in the word business, no matter how many buildings fall or paradigms shift, are still going to matter. You are so much more powerful than you used to be, just with what is on your desktop.”

On communicating with media:

“Don’t have your junior deputy call and ask if I got your email as another way to make contact. Yes — these are all very reliable technologies — I did.”

On sending e-blasts:

“A single personalized email will be far more effective than hundreds of generic messages. We’re not lazy so much as incredibly busy. If someone gift wraps something and hands it to you — ‘This is only for you’ — chances are you’re going to take it.”

Amy Jacques

Amy Jacques is the managing editor of publications for PRSA. A native of Greenville, S.C., she holds a master’s degree in arts journalism from Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School. She also holds a bachelor’s degree in advertising from the University of Georgia’s Grady College and a certificate in magazine and website publishing from New York University.

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