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Sunday, February 22, 2015

(TRIBUTE) Mentoring Lessons From David Carr


By Buzz Knight

Mentoring comes in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes it is completely warm and fuzzy and it follows an easy path. In other moments it can be hard to figure out. It can even misinterpreted as rude.

With the recent death of the extraordinary New York Times writer David Carr, it's important for all of us who are around a business we love to consider the importance of our role in mentoring.

I love many of the lines in the New York Times article of Monday, February 16, regarding his legacy -- some of which are in his own words. In addition to writing for the Times about the changing media landscape, David had also joined the faculty at the Boston University communications school where he passionately taught journalism. David was driven to help prepare the next generation of journalists for the real world.

David was interested in people, not their resumes, and he could be blunt, humble, and unique, among other things.

David Carr understood the ability to reach audiences and the importance of clear communication -- and isn't that critical to our future and how we prepare our next generation?

As we hope for a generation that will care about our business we must take stock of David Carr's mentoring traits. He was known at the Times as a "supreme talent scout," but someone who could be blunt in his criticism of the next generation he was grooming.

More from the article: "He hates suck-ups, people who treat waitresses and cab drivers poorly, and anybody who thinks diversity is just an academic conceit. He is a big sucker for the hard worker and is rarely dazzled by brilliance."

How we learn from David's mentoring of journalism students at Boston University is up to our own analysis and implementation. Taking interest in the next generation and embracing their questions is an excellent starting point. It certainly can and should go further vis-a-vis how we approach the mentoring process. Asking the next generation questions, and actually listening to their perspectives, speaks volumes.

We should all value the mentoring process and learn from a master of that process in David Carr.

Buzz Knight is the Vice President of Program Development for Greater Media and he can be reached at Knight was named among "Best Programmers" by Radio Ink magazine in 2007 and 2010. He has served on the programming subcommittee of the National Association of Broadcasters(NAB) and is currently a member of the Nielsen Radio Advisory Council and the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) COLRAM Committee.

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