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Dublin: -1 °C Sunday 1 February, 2015

How an Irish student scored an interview with David Carr

Timely tweet attracted attention of high-profile New York Times journalist – and he gave her some career advice to boot.

David Carr (left) on stage with Shane Smith at the Web Summit.
David Carr (left) on stage with Shane Smith at the Web Summit.
Image: Web Summit via Flickr/Creative Commmons

TWITTER AND SOCIAL media sites in general have become useful and important tools in journalism. It also opens a more direct line between the public and people they might ordinarily have difficulty in contacting in ‘real life’.

So it was last week when an Irish journalism MA student decided to write an opportune tweet to high-profile New York Times journalist David Carr. Carr was at the Web Summit in Dublin to interview Vice CEO Shane Smith. The two had previously had a blow-up which featured in the Page One documentary about the New York Times and the state of the newspaper business.

The Web Summit meeting went off without event on stage – but in the audience, student Amanda Connolly decided to take her chances and tweet at Carr, who had been discussing the future of journalism.

She tweeted:


The hashtag in the tweet refers to a Carr quote.

And guess what ? It worked.

As Connolly writes in, the DIT news outlet where she is features editor, she quickly received a call from a New York number and was invited by Carr to interview him in the private speakers’ lounge at the Summit.

She writes:

I thanked him for his time and for actually taking heed of my initiative.

“It’s a numbers game. There are about 20 requests here today that I didn’t respond to. I just picked one. It’s nice to be nice.” (said Carr)

  • You can read Connolly’s extensive interview on where he speaks about his tumultuous personal life and how that has fed his passion for journalism and truth-seeking.

And his advice to young people trying to make it in journalism? This is what Carr told Connolly:

Your time will come. What’s important is that you have those stories, you own those stories. I used to run weeklies and hire a lot of young people. If I was hiring now I wouldn’t really care that you went to DIT or that you got your Masters or that you’re an editor with a college paper, I would like to see what you made with your own hands.

The fact that you’ve got stories that landed that were real, even though they didn’t end up where you wanted, those are yours, those are yours to keep and if you get enough of them pretty soon someone will hand you a megaphone and you’ll be able to shout out from a very high perch indeed; stay at it. I mean, my advice is remain patient but be impatient with your patience.

You know what, it’s a fine time to be looking, and it’s a fine time to be putting stuff out there. Sometimes you get a story and you might not work at some place that’s that important in the national narrative but if it’s important enough people will reach down and grab it and it will end up happening for you.

There you have it.

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