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Remembering the 'Irreplaceable Voice' of David Carr (Video)

The New York Times CEO paid tribute to the much-admired media critic, who died last week.

Asa Mathat

New York Times CEO Mark Thompson said he recalls his last meeting with the late journalist and author David Carr, shortly after his company reported its most recent financial results two weeks ago.

Speaking on Tuesday at the Code/Media conference at The Ritz-Carlton in Laguna Niguel, Calif., Thompson said he thought initially that he might be able to gloss over the not-so-great parts, but of course, that’s not what happened.

“With David, you just spilled the beans,” Thompson said, recalling the paper’s longtime media columnist, who died last week after collapsing in the Times newsroom.

Even more singular, Thompson said, was Carr’s ability to be completely focused and brilliant “without being ugly and mean.”

“It was like the incisiveness without the edge,” Thompson said.

The Times has many great journalists, and there will no doubt be others who cover the media beat for the paper, but Carr’s was an “irreplaceable voice,” Thompson said.

Thompson, along with Re/code’s Edmund Lee and Peter Kafka, also noted how Carr was beloved not just by his newsroom colleagues, but by those throughout the industry, including competitors.

Kafka, who interviewed Thompson onstage at the conference, said that he reached out to Carr last week, asking him for a favor. That favor, Kafka said, was to provide some of the tough questions he put to Thompson as part of the interview.

Additional reporting by Jason Del Rey.

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