David Carr to Bill Keller: Why Do You Want to Become the Conscience of the Media?

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Last week we reported that David Carr and the other media reporters at the Times "had an intervention" with executive editor Bill Keller after he started writing columns about the media, claiming that it made their jobs more difficult. Today Carr talked about the moment with Baristanet:


I sent him an email. One, I said, when your boss is doing your job it’s never good for you, so I have an obvious stake in this, so take what I say with a grain of salt. But B, you pulled us across Death Valley, in business terms. Our capital structure is solid and our sales are sufficient. You have maintained journalistic footprint the whole time. You’ve prosecuted a two-front war journalistically. And you’ve landed the New York Times on the other side. Why do you want to add another leg to the stool by become the conscience of media? If you write about Fox, if you write about Huffpo or Twitter, what you say is much more important than we say. It just is, because you’re the editor.

Did Keller listen to Carr?


Per se what he does is a lot more important and there’s always the chance that his writing is going to create turbulence that me and Brian and others have to report through. But what’s important to know about that is I said to him: If that’s how it is, no big deal, we can totally manage. I just want you to know. And he responded very thoughtfully. I was listened to. And he went ahead and did exactly what he was going to do in the first place.

Well, you can't expect your boss to take orders from you. But at the very least you can hope he doesn't start doing your job.

Coffee With … David Carr [Baristanet]
Earlier: Why Bill Keller Stepped Down As Times Executive Editor — And How the Paper’s Staffers Staged an Intervention Over His Column