Boston University has picked well-loved and respected New York Times media columnist David Carr to teach students and future entrepreneurs how to sustain journalism in the digital era. "Carr, who starts in January, will keep writing for the Times but will spend two days a week at BU, where he will teach one class each semester in the College of Communication and participate in public events," The Boston Globe reports.
The move is a big get for BU — Carr's media column continues to be one of the most thoughtful and critical perspectives into journalism. He's well-loved in the media world for his insight and persona, and his voice cuts against the old-time stodginess that The Times sometimes displays. He's also Twitter-famous, a movie star who has embraced the idea of that social media that journalists must master in this day and age.
What makes Carr a good fit is that he's attuned to and cares about about the issues facing new journalists. In recent weeks, he's been covering the issue of unpaid internships— a problem that the media world still hasn't figured out how to solve. And over the past few years, he's been on top of education issues at journalism schools in New York City (like Columbia's new dean); has given speaking engagements at New York University; and has observed and judged journalism projects at CUNY Graduate School of Journalism's entrepreneurial journalism program. (That actually sounds not unlike some of the stuff he'll be covering at BU.) Those three schools probably wouldn't mind if Carr was on staff there too.
It also sounds like a lot of money went into setting up this professorship. The Boston Globe reports:
The new professorship was created with a $1.66 million gift from Andy Lack, 1968 BU graduate, member of the BU board of trustees, and chairman of Bloomberg Media Group, said BU. The family of fellow trustee Alan Leventhal made a matching gift of more than $830,000.
"I kind of see myself in the mold of a guerrilla fighting from the hills," Carr told The Globe, explaining why Boston University appealed to him. "I think a lot of journalism education that is going on is broadly not preparing kids for the world that they are stepping into. It’s a great time to be involved in journalism, but people have to be warmed up in the right way," he added.
Carr will be prepping his classes next semester, and then will begin teaching at least two classes, one on media criticism and the other a hands-on journalism lab where students will produce media and learn how to distribute it through social media and other platforms.
And though we don't condone bribing, students looking to get on Carr's good side should probably be made aware that the man likes cronuts.