David Carr

I never met David Carr. But whenever I saw his name on a byline, I made sure to read his column. It was always insightful, incisive, and challenging. Only yesterday I read his reflections on Brian Williams and Jon Stewart. So it was with incredulity that I heard on the news this morning that he had died last night after collapsing in the Times newsroom.

David's colleague, A.O. Scott has this moving appreciation on the Times' website:

David’s public contribution to the profession — his columns and feature stories, his interviews and investigations — is part of the record, and part of the glory of this newspaper. He covered every corner of the media business (including, sometimes, his own employer) with analytical acumen, ethical rigor and gumshoe tenacity.

He managed to see the complexities of digital-age journalism from every angle, and to write about it with unparalleled clarity and wit. His prose was a marvel of wry Midwestern plainness, sprinkled with phrases his colleagues will only ever think of as Carrisms. Something essential was “baked in.” Someone was always competing to be the tallest leprechaun.

That was how David would say he felt when he was singled out for praise. Not that he was modest. He knew his gifts, and was competitive in the way that many of us are — eager for the scoop, the juicy assignment, the front page or the front of the section. But no one was more generous in praise of his colleagues, or happier in their success.

Prayers and condolences to David's family and to his brother John who was active in the founding of the Catholic Common Ground Initiative.

Robert P. Imbelli, a long-time Commonweal contributor, is a priest of the Archdiocese of New York. A book of essays in his honor, The Center Is Jesus Christ Himself, edited by Andrew Meszaros, was published this year by The Catholic University of America Press.

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