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NYT columnist David Carr to join BU faculty

New York Times columnist David Carr will begin as a professor at Boston University’s College of Communication in January 2014, university officials announced Tuesday.

BU spokesman Colin Riley said Carr will work part-time at BU in a new professorship, where he will teach creative business models in journalism designed for an increasingly digital era.

“There’s a lot of changes going on in the world of journalism and media, and he is certainly someone who has followed and commented on it,” Riley said. “… To have someone of that caliber on the faculty is tremendous for our students.”

Carr will continue to work at The New York Times while teaching at BU two days per week, Riley confirmed. Although he will join the faculty in January, his class will be offered once each semester beginning in the fall 2014 semester.

For the last few decades, Carr has focused his writing on the topic of media as it relates to business, government and culture. He has also worked as a contributing writer for The Atlantic Monthly and New York Magazine.

COM Journalism Department Chairman William McKeen said COM officials are excited to have Carr on its faculty team.

“I’m thrilled because he brings a great mind, great wit and a real love of journalism and concern for the future of journalism [to COM], and that means he’s interested in students,” he said. “Having seen him work with students, I know he’s a great choice for a classroom teacher because he’s engaging and he’s funny.”

Although COM officials are unsure exactly what the focus of Carr’s courses will be, the esteemed journalist has several ideas in the works, McKeen said.

“He could teach a course in media criticism, but he’s mostly interested in the new economic model and business models for journalism,” McKeen said. “He’s interested in journalists as entrepreneurs, so he might teach a course on that. He’s got three or four things that he wants to develop, and he’s already started on that.”

McKeen said he looks forward to watching Carr transition into an academic position.

“He’s a person who has been an educator all of his career, but it’s been in a newsroom,” McKeen said. “Now, he’s going to be in the classroom. He has a lot to contribute, and he’s itching to get to work. We’re all just very happy to have him on our faculty.”

COM junior Taylor Walker, who studies journalism, said she was delighted to hear about Carr’s new career move.

“I found out this morning,” she said. “I was immediately shocked, pleased and above-and-beyond excited. A lot of that stems from the fact that I love David Carr.” Walker said Carr is admired as an innovative writer who explores new possibilities in the digital world of journalism.

“David Carr is a trailblazer for journalism,” she said. “He acknowledges that journalism is changing, and he’s not someone who’s stuck in the past of the more conservative [journalism business] models.”

Walker said her professors in COM often discuss Carr’s work. Carr will provide students who take his course with a broad skillset that will likely improve their prospects in the job market after graduation.

“Now that he’s teaching here, it’s amazing,” she said. “It proves to me that COM is striving for the best faculty that can better students within their career pursuits.”

First-year COM graduate student Megan Turchi, another journalism student, said she was was also pleased to hear the news.

“Every single journalism class that I’ve been in this year has talked about David Carr, whether it be my Principles of Journalism class or my Journalism Ethics class, where we were actually told to read his column every Monday,” she said. “I just couldn’t think of a more relevant [person] to bring to the journalism faculty.”

Turchi said she hopes she will be able to take one of Carr’s courses before she graduates, especially because his focus on new media forms is likely to broaden her horizons.

“He just seems to be right on the cutting edge of new journalism,” she said. “He can really bring a lot to faculty and a lot to students, especially for someone like me, who is a print [journalism] major but wants to get into other fields as well. He’s relevant for the changing journalism landscape.”

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