David Carr: Journalist and authority on digital media who wrote an acclaimed memoir of his fight against drug addiction


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The Independent Online

David Carr was a much-loved and respected journalist who wrote a well-received memoir about his fight with drug addiction.

He was a columnist for the New York Times, focusing on issues of media in relation to business, culture and government.

Carr joined the paper in 2002 as a business reporter, covering magazine publishing. Before that he was a contributing writer for The Atlantic Monthly and New York magazine. He served as editor of the Washington City Paper, an alternative weekly, and was editor of a Minneapolis-based alternative weekly, Twin Cities Reader.

His 2008 memoir The Night of the Gun traced his rise from cocaine addict to single father raising twin girls to sobered-up media columnist. Carr said he wrote up a book proposal “on a dare to myself” in two days. After an agent sold the idea, Carr ended up interviewing about 60 people and working on the book for three years. He took the transcribed interviews, numerous documents and pictures to his family’s cabin in the Adirondacks, where he wrote the book.

Last year he began teaching a Boston University class that explored the creative business models to support digital journalism. It was among the first professorships dedicated to evaluating how media organisations can sustain themselves financially as readers and advertisers migrate to digital platforms, a crisis that has doomed some news organisations and threatens the viability of others.

Carr, who died of a heart attack, said, “I think a lot of journalism education that is going on is broadly not preparing kids for the world that they are stepping into.”

David Carr, journalist: born 8 September 1956; married Jill Rooney (three children); died 12 February 2015.