Carr at the 2013 PuSh International Performing Arts Festival
|Born||David Michael Carr
September 8, 1956
Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.
|Died||February 12, 2015
New York City, New York, U.S.
|Occupation||Writer, columnist, author|
|Employer||The New York Times|
|Children||3, including Erin Lee Carr|
Carr was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, to Joan Laura Carr (née O'Neill), a local community leader, and John Lawrence Carr. He had three brothers and three sisters and grew up in the suburb of Minnetonka. He attended the University of Wisconsin–River Falls and the University of Minnesota, majoring in psychology and journalism.
In the early 1980s, Carr got his first job at the alternative weekly Twin Cities Reader where he became its editor. He also edited the Washington City Paper. He wrote extensively about the media for The Atlantic Monthly and New York.
In his 2008 memoir, The Night of the Gun, Carr detailed his experiences with cocaine addiction and included interviews with people from his past, tackling his memoir as if he were reporting on himself. The memoir was excerpted in The New York Times Magazine.
He was featured prominently in the 2011 documentary Page One: Inside the New York Times, where he was shown interviewing staff from Vice, whom Carr called out for their lack of journalistic knowledge. The article about Vice was noteworthy for its clear depiction of the conflict between new online journalism and traditional journalism.
In 2014, he was named the Lack Professor of Media Studies at Boston University, a part-time position where he taught a journalism class called Press Play: Making and distributing content in the present future.
Carr divorced his first wife, Kimberly, in 1986. In 1988, he had twin daughters, Erin and Meagan, with a former girlfriend named Anna. The couple lost custody of the children, who went into foster care until Carr went through rehab and gained custody of the girls. Erin Lee Carr is a documentary film director.
He married his second wife, Jill L. Rooney, in 1994; the couple had one child, a daughter, Maddie. He described himself as a church-going Roman Catholic. He resided in Montclair, New Jersey, with his wife and three daughters.
Carr died on February 12, 2015, after collapsing in The New York Times newsroom. He had been diagnosed with pneumonia, and died of complications from metastatic lung cancer (metastatic small cell neuroendocrine carcinoma). He was transported to St. Luke's–Roosevelt Hospital, where he later died. The autopsy showed heart disease was a contributing cause of his death.
In September 2015, The New York Times announced a fellowship in his name that would be dedicated to fostering the growth and development of journalists. The first three fellowship recipients, chosen by a panel of Times editors from among more than 600 applicants, were John Herrman, a co-editor and media reporter for The Awl; Amanda Hess, a staff writer at Slate; and Greg Howard, a reporter for Deadspin.
In 2016, a David Carr Prize for Emerging Writers at SXSW was presented to author Jaime Boust. The piece was to cover what is exciting (or unnerving) about life in the coming years in 2,000 words or less.
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