David Carr

David Carr belives that the craft of journalism will switch from print to digital, but will remain strong. Carr is a columnist for The New York Times and was featured in a documentary titled “Page One.”

Photo Credit: Pu Ying Huang | Daily Texan Staff

David Carr, columnist for The New York Times, said the world of professional journalism has drastic changes to make, but can survive the new digital age.

Carr, a media reporter for The New York Times who was featured in the documentary about the paper, “Page One,” spoke Wednesday at the Mary Alice Davis Distinguished Lecture Series, a series dedicated to facilitating talks about journalism and the direction it is heading.

“Mary Alice was a very feisty, independent person who really believed in journalism as a force for change in society,” Glenn Frankel, UT School of Journalism director, said. “The family feels very strongly that they want journalists who play that role today.”

In his lecture, Carr suggested the newspaper as his generation has known it is already obsolete.

“We’re built on scarcity in print,” Carr said. “You lose compression on pricing when you have no scarcity.”

Carr said the transition from the print to the digital model, where pieces of news fly in rapid succession, is going to be difficult. According to the Pew Research Center, industry-wide print ad revenue decreased by about $24 billion from 2003 to 2011, while online ad revenue increased by only about $2 billion in the same time period.

“Big news is still the killer app,” Carr said. “You’ve got to think of the journalism business as being in one hall and down here is this wonderful digital nirvana, but there’s this long dark hall in between.”

Carr said he still believes journalism will eventually find its way to remain profitable in changing times. He said his publication has already taken steps to that end, including putting up a pay wall for frequent readers.

“We say, ‘Good to see ya, how about giving us a little sugar here?’” Carr said. “Everybody said, ‘You’re drilling a hole in the bottom of your boat.’ ... Turns out we’re not drilling a hole in the bottom of our boat, we’re installing a new engine.”

Carr said he believes young people are willing to pay the convenience charge for coverage that sorts through the digital flurry of news. In a 2011 Growth From Knowledge Mediamark Research and Intelligence poll, 22 percent of people aged 18 to 24 read newspapers at least every other day compared to 40 percent of adults overall.

“A couple of years ago my colleague was doing a story about how young people consume news and one said, ‘If news is important, it will find me,’” Carr said. “If we get you thinking of us as an app and not a subscription, then we’re going to win.”

Printed on Thursday, October 25, 2012 as: Times columnist gives opinion on future of journalism, news

Every documentary has a thesis, a point which they are trying to make. But ironically for Andrew Rossi’s “Page One: A Year Inside The New York Times,” there isn’t a nut graph to sum up the story. It’s a fascinating film, filled with compelling people and situations, but it lacks anything resembling a narrative, electing instead to bounce around while celebrating the importance of The New York Times.

The most interesting reporter Rossi follows in his year at the Times is Monday business columnist David Carr — a fierce, no-nonsense journalist who’s protective of his institution and his career. The film’s best and funniest moments involve Carr confronting various new media types claiming the downfall of print media. Carr’s gruffly delivered sarcasm and unflappable honesty single-handedly make the film worth watching.

While the film lacks an over-arching narrative beyond following reporters, it manages to earn some truly compelling discussions and moments. When a reporter examines the WikiLeaks story, the news coverage is just as fascinating as the on-screen discussions about the nature of journalism. Another segment, discussing Twitter, is a fun aside that features an appearance by Austin’s own South By Southwest festival.

“Page One: A Year Inside The New York Times” may not have much on the surface to recommend beyond interesting characters and scenarios, but it’s really a film drunk in love with a newspaper, without a hint of irony or self-deprecation. Thankfully though, it pulls no punches either: it’s messy and lacks focus, but it’s also a relevant, illuminating documentary about the definitive gold standard of journalism.

HOUSTON — David Carr was sacked an NFL record 76 times in 2002, the Houston Texans’ inaugural season. Three years later, he went down behind the line 68 times, third-most in league history.

The Texans would love to put that issue to rest — and they have made significant upgrades in virtually every area since Carr was cut in 2007 — but protecting the quarterback is unfortunately back in the conversation.

Matt Schaub has been sacked 11 times in three games, tied with Philadelphia’s Michael Vick for the most this season. Only the Eagles have allowed more sacks than Houston (14), and Vick became the starter after Kevin Kolb left the first game with a concussion.

“We’ve got 11 sacks, way too damn many,” Texans coach Gary Kubiak said. “I don’t care whose fault it is — mine, Matt’s, the O-line. We’ve got to fix it. We’ve got way too many.”

The Texans (2-1) play at Oakland (1-2) this week. The Raiders rank second in total defense (260.7 yards per game) and have seven sacks in their first three games.

Kubiak doesn’t have a Vick as his No. 2 quarterback. He’s got Dan Orlovsky as the backup, but he may need to go to him if Schaub keeps getting hit like this.

He was sacked five times in the Texans 30-27 win over Washington two weeks ago, and took another hard shot after throwing a fourth-quarter touchdown pass to Andre Johnson. Schaub was sacked four more times in Sunday’s 27-13 loss to Dallas, three times by DeMarcus Ware. Keith Brooking had the other one, charging in unblocked to hammer Schaub on a third-down play from the Cowboys’ 3-yard line.

“It’s frustrating as an offensive line,” center Chris Myers said. “You take pride in not having that many sacks and when you’re close to last in the league in giving up sacks, it’s really embarrassing. We’ve got to take it upon ourselves, take pride in that and get better.”

The offensive front faced Dallas without starting left tackle Duane Brown, who was suspended four games for violating the league’s policy on banned substances. Five-year veteran Rashad Butler made his first career start in Brown’s place, and let Ware get by him on one of the sacks.

Right tackle Eric Winston isn’t making excuses. No matter who is starting, Winston said the line needs to hold up.

“It doesn’t matter if he holds it for 15 seconds back there if he wants,” Winston said. “We have to stay on them and somehow get them blocked and that’s just what we’re going to keep doing.”

Kubiak said the entire offense, not just the line, shares blame for the protection breakdowns. Schaub said he’s at fault for some of them, holding onto the ball longer than the blocking could last.

“There’s a few times where I could’ve thrown the ball away or gotten rid of it, just trying to extend plays,” Schaub said. “We’re getting it right, we’re going to be fine. It’s not a big deal. We’re going to get it right.”

Schaub was only sacked twice in Houston’s opening win against Indianapolis. But he only attempted 17 passes because the Texans ran so effectively, rushing 42 times for 257 yards.

Schaub has thrown 84 passes in two games since, and Johnson said Houston’s receivers must take pressure off Schaub by running sharper routes.
“We just have to try to work ourselves open a little but more quickly than we’ve been doing,” Johnson said. “You definitely don’t like to see him get hit. It pretty much takes a toll on the body.”

Schaub can attest to that. He missed five games in 2007 with a shoulder injury and concussion, and four more in 2008 with a knee injury. Schaub started all 16 games last season, and the Texans finished with the NFL’s top passing offense (291 yards per game).

“The thing we were able to do last year was keep him healthy,” Johnson said. “That’s something we’re going to have to continue to do. When he’s healthy, he goes out and plays great.”