Some thoughts on David Carr

My students are blogging today, and because I like to model behavior, I’m taking the time to blog with them.

It’s been too long since I blogged here. I’ve blogged plenty on my personal blog, and maybe I shouldn’t maintain two blogs. But part of me feels split most of the time anyway–I have my teacher life, and my personal life, and though sometimes when writing about my personal life I venture into teacher territory, the converse is never true. But I’m always thinking about teaching, why I do it, and how I can get better.

A week ago, my favorite journalist, David Carr, collapsed in the New York Times offices. He was rushed to the hospital, but he died. An autopsy revealed he had lung cancer and heart disease. He was so young, only 58.

I’m usually unaffected by celebrity deaths, but this one really felt like a gut punch. I followed him on Twitter and looked forward to his Monday media columns. They often gave me discussion fodder for my classes. He was the best part of the documentary “Page One,” which is how I came to know his writing in the first place.

Occasionally, I glance over the fence at the grass on the corporate side of life and wonder if I should give it a try. Then I look back at my classes and my students, and realize I really like what I do. After 15 years, I still can’t imagine doing anything else.

I wonder if David Carr ever thought of doing something other than journalism as a career. With his gregarious personality, I have no doubt he could’ve parlayed his skill set into something more lucrative on cable news. But I get the feeling that journalism was in his bones, and even if he had tried a different career, he would’ve just ended right back at the New York Times.

Just like I ended right back at Bellevue West, that one time I thought I wanted to leave teaching.

My teacher life is pretty good. I need to write more often about it.

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