What You Don't Know About David Carr

Mitch JoelPosted by

**David Carr was one of my secret weapons.**
I once, jokingly, referred to myself as a *”Media Hacker”*. The title stuck. In fact, I like it more than *”President”* or any of the other formal titles that I have been fortunate to hold in my career. I think a lot about marketing, mostly because I have a passion for media. My professional career started as a journalist, I went on to become a magazine publisher. As we struggled to get enough ads to validate the next issue of our magazine, I watched the first Web Browser come online, and that’s when everything changed for me. In the best way possible. Back when dial tones and [AOL](http://www.aol.com “AOL”) CDs were still the cornerstone of the Internet, I was *”out there”* screaming that the Internet would change everything that we knew about media. Over the years, my main focus became *”Digital Marketing,”* but a lot of my thinking comes from how the media landscape evolves. It’s hard to figure out how to make a brand resonate, if you don’t fully understand the media and how messages really get across to audiences. This is – probably – why so many people see me as someone more interested in social media and content marketing than the other stuff. Oh, how wrong they are.
**Strong influences.**
That journalism bug is a hard one to beat. My [Twitter](http:www.twitter.com/mitchjoel “Twitter”) feed is full of individuals who talk about journalism, media and the future of technology. I often cite these people, publicly. With that, there are strong influences that are directly reflected in the fact that I tend to write long blog posts (sorry about that, if you’re more interested in a [Buzzfeed](http://www.buzzfeed.com “Buzzfeed”) experience). I don’t try to *”game”* the system by stuffing in keywords for SEO performance, I don’t do any dramatic types of headlines to grab your attention, I don’t review analytics and create content based on the most popular posts, and I’m not all that interested in pimping this content throughout social media channels to drive traffic (trust me, I do it more because I feel like *have to* than I *want to*). To put it in a simpler way: I try to write every piece like it’s an article. When I think about who writes articles that really makes the hair (if I had any) on the back of my neck stand up (and, the type of writing that makes me want to stop writing, because they do it so much better), I think of people like [Bob Garfield](https://twitter.com/bobosphere) and [David Carr](https://twitter.com/carr2n). Carr died last night. Suddenly. He was only 58 years old. It sucks.
**Not because he’s dead…**
I would read Carr’s column in [The New York Times](http://www.nytimes.com/ “The New York Times”) with mixed emotions. I would marvel at how he would take disparate stories and weave them into a new way to think about media. With that, his content always… always!… had an edge. He didn’t care. He would make the words push his thinking in a way that would make other media writers jealous. That was the way in which I would consume [The Media Equation](http://www.nytimes.com/column/the-media-equation “The Media Equation”). There are just a few writers who get me going like this. David Carr was one of the best. News with an edge, a perspective and written in a unique voice that gets under your skin. Anybody who dares to write (and allow it to be published) should be that good.
**Not an obituary.**
So many others are writing weighty and thoughtful pieces right now about the life of Carr. I didn’t know him. I never met him. He was on my bucketlist to be a guest on the

(http://sixpixels.com/podcast). I just loved the powerful voice that he brought to the media landscape. I’m not sure how much of a marketing nerd I would be, without his words. I’m not even sure that I would have ever thought of the term *”Media Hacker”* were it not for his thinking. If I were ever stuck for something to write about, one trip to The Media Equation would cure all. It was a library of ideas and inspiration waiting to be unpacked and dissected. [David Carr](http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/13/business/media/david-carr-media-equation-columnist-for-the-times-is-dead-at-58.html?_r=0) was much more of a Media Hacker than I will ever be. I’m going to miss his words. Deeply. We should all hope to bring such an energy and uniqueness to the work that we do.
**Watch him go…**