A Few Choice Words from David Carr



Earlier this week, New York Times columnist David Carr participated in Reddit’s Ask Me Anything (AMA). Here are some of my favorite pieces of wisdom from the multitude of answers that Carr provided to budding journalists (the best of the discussion in my opinion) and a readership still questioning the paper’s paywall.

On Office Communication
“I tend to be, um, a somewhat idiosyncratic communicator in person. One time Neil Drumming, who has an amazing first movie coming out worked for me at the time and I brought him in for a chat. When he left my office, people asked what we had talked about, he said, ‘I either got fired or got a big raise, I couldn’t tell which.’”

On That Paywall
“Win. All of the theologists of free said that we would disappear from the informational ecosystem and that did not end up to be true. Because it is a meter, because it is leaky — which is really a feature, not a flaw — and because social media links ride free, we’ve gotten serious money from people who want the convenience and access, and still maintained visibility.”

On Writing Crutches
“I was looking at my best clips lately and you can’t really tell which were written drunk or sober. There is no correlation. The muse comes when it does and it can’t be beckoned by a six-pack or something you stick up your nose.”

On Journalism
“You have to make stuff. The tools of journalism are in your hands and no one is going to give a damn about what is on your resume, they want to see what you have made with your own little fingies. Can you use Final Cut Pro? Have you created an Instagram that is about something besides a picture of your cat every time she rolls over? Is HTML 5 a foreign language to you? Is your social media presence dominated by a picture of your beer bong, or is it an RSS of interesting stuff that you add insight to? People who are doing hires will have great visibility into what you can actually do, what you care about and how you can express on any number of platforms.”

On Girls and Lena Dunham
“People love to ankle bite her because she grew up well-situated, but nobody gave her a tv show for that. Nobody convinced Judd Apatow to co-produce because of who her parents were and HBO did not pick up Girls for a second season because she is wired. She’s not, really. She is really talented and working her way toward making a show that people are going to talk about for years to come. Some to praise it and some to trash it.”

On Reading and Writing
“I was an insomniac as a kid and we had a bunch of crappy books in the basement. I read most of them, stuffing my head with words. And at a certain point, they words started coming back out. If you want to write, you have to read.”

On His Favorite News Source
“imaliving on the Twitter when it comes to news. A human-enabled RSS feed from a group of people I respect, compete with or care about. Plus, it surfaces things I would never, ever read. That said, I still get both NYT and WSJ at home, plopping as artifact on my doorstep in the morning. I do that because I need and want somebody to create a hierarchy of what happened the day before. If my info-diet is all fire-hose and no curation, I end up being a person who knows a little about a lot of little things.”

On Work Life
“Best part of my career is that it doesn’t involve actual work. The worst part is that the non-work now never stops. You never push the button and walk away. There is always more to promote, read, and publish.”

If you enjoyed these bites you can read the rest of Carr’s answers on Reddit.

So what did you think of Carr’s responses? Anything to add?


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