“Don’t live in a small world,” advised David Carr, noted New York Times media columnist, reporter, and blogger, speaking to students at Montclair State University on November 2 as part of the Center for Advising and Student Transitions’ Sophomore Success Series. “Broaden your horizons,” he said, encouraging the students to branch out and engage in the wider world. “You don’t want to be that guy at the party who’s always talking about the Giants.”
Carr sprinkled this and other advice throughout his candid and revealing talk. Using his own life story—with all its ups and downs—to illustrate his points, Carr encouraged students to pursue their passion and “Take pride in whatever you do.”
While readily admitting that he had made many mistakes in his life, Carr described how he had learned from them and moved on to be where he is now: doing what he loves. “My work doesn’t feel like work,” said the Montclair resident, adding, “People who are doing what they love will be rich all their lives.”
A 25-year veteran writer and reporter, Carr wrote for The Atlantic Monthly and New York Magazine before joining The New York Times in 2002. He is perhaps best known for his blog, “The Carpetbagger,” in which he covered the Oscar Awards season for The Times for a number of years, and for being featured in the film, Page One: Inside The New York Times. He now writes a column for the Monday Business section, reports on popular culture in the Culture section, and is the author of a critically acclaimed memoire, The Night of the Gun.
Carr encouraged the students not to worry too much about everyone else’s expectations for them. “Everyone will tell you that you are making life and death decisions right now,” he said. “I would argue that that is not true.” At this stage in their lives, the important thing for students, according to Carr, is to be fully engaged in what they are doing: “The only way to lose is by not getting into the game,” he said.
A question and answer session concluded the program and Carr fielded questions on topics such as how technology has affected his work (it allows him to do more, faster than ever before but it can be exhausting and a leash), what he thought of Page One (“It was a really difficult experience but I thought it was a good movie.”), and who had made a difference in his life (“The people who hired me or fired me.”).
See more photos from the event.