David Carr was in his mid-20s when he took his first big step on the path that would eventually lead him to the New York Times. It was 1982. Carr, who died Thursday at age 58, was living in his hometown of Minneapolis when he heard a story about two black men getting arrested and beaten up by the cops. When a third man, who was standing nearby, asked the officers what they were doing, they came over and beat him up too. Carr’s source on this story was his dad, who was friends with the witness who’d dared to speak out and who had ended up in the hospital for his efforts. Carr decided to look into the event, interview everybody involved, and write it as a blockbuster about police brutality.
Once he had a draft in hand, Carr, who discusses the piece in this Mediabistro video from 2012, strode into the editorial offices of the Twin Cities Reader, an alternative weekly, and gave them the hard sell: “I said, ‘Your newspaper’s been totally soft. It hasn’t had any real news in it. And I’ve g...
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