David Carr, the New York Times media columnist whose coverage ranged from television and film to the decline of print and the rise of digital media, died Thursday in Manhattan at the age of 58. According to the Times, he collapsed in the newsroom before 9 p.m. and was pronounced dead shortly after at St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital in Manhattan.
The cause of his death was not immediately known. Earlier in the day, Carr had moderated a panel discussion for the film Citizenfour featuring subject Edward J. Snowden, director Laura Poitras and journalist Glenn Greenwald.
Carr joined the Times in 2002. He began as a business reporter, and originated the paper's Hollywood awards-season feature The Carpetbagger. He went on to write deeply reported pieces of massive scope—notably his 2010 piece on the ransacking of Tribune Company under mogul Sam Zell, featured in the 2011 documentary Page One—as well as celebrity profiles typically featured on the front of the arts-and-leisure section. His column, Media Equation, documented the tension between legacy and digital media as the latter ascended and the former struggled to adapt.
Prior to the Times, Carr worked at Twin Cities Reader in Minnesota, Washington City Paper and Inside.com, and wrote for The Atlantic and New York magazine. His path to the Times and his struggles as a recovering crack cocaine addict were documented in his 2008 memoir The Night of the Gun.
Of joining the Times, Carr wrote in his memoir, “I got a call from Dave, the media editor at The New York Times, who had read some of my work at Inside, and he asked if I was interested in talking about a job. I thought it was the most preposterous thing I had ever heard.”
On Twitter, the media professionals whose industries Carr covered expressed shock and sadness at his passing. Keith Olbermann wrote, “My condolences to all those who loved, all those who read, all those who were inspired by NYT's David Carr, @carr2n - 58? An injustice.”
Patton Oswalt: “I never met David Carr. Don't know what to say. I'm so sad. Sorry for all the RTs. But someone crucial & necessary is gone.
Seth Meyers: “Of all the cats, David Carr was the coolest. He will be missed.”
Carr’s former colleague Bill Carter: “Can't possibly find words. David Carr was brilliant, funny, generous. My heart breaks for his family+his legion of friends. Proud to be 1.”
Carr’s obituary was set to be featured on page one of Friday’s edition of the Times. In a statement quoted in that piece, Times publisher and chairman Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr. said, “David Carr was one of the most gifted journalists who has ever worked at The New York Times.”