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Photo: Alexandra Wimley/BU Daily Free Press

Photo: Alexandra Wimley/BU Daily Free Press

From the Boston Globe:

When it was announced last winter that David Carr would teach a media criticism class at BU, he received a rockstar response. A satirical news story in the April Fools’ edition of the student newspaper depicted students on their knees in front of Carr’s office, praying for a seat in his class.

The caption under the story’s photo read: “College of Communications students pay homage to the legendary, exemplary, divine, groovy, remarkable, awe-inspiring, breathtaking, electrifying and super cool New York Times columnist David Carr.”

* David Carr was the upbeat oracle who always offered his students a bright forecast (bostonglobe.com)
* Prof: He showed a parental concern for each of his students (dailyfreepress.com)
* Students had to write an essay to get into Carr’s class (jimromenesko.com)
New: David Carr, professor (medium.com/@profdaly)

– Thanks to Jasper Craven for the photo assist

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Letter to Romenesko
From DAN MITCHELL, media and public policy writer: Subject: Newspapers are managed by incompetents. First, I was forced to cancel nearly all of my newspaper subscriptions because newspapers can’t seem to get their products reliably and competently delivered.images-1 I’m down to the Sunday New York Times, and I’m on the verge of canceling that one, too. And I’m somebody who *wants* daily newspapers delivered to my door. I’d still be getting four or five daily papers if circulation departments weren’t managed as if by chimps.

But it’s not like newspapers are any better when it comes to online distribution. Horribly designed, unnavigable Web sites are common. Most sites have dysfunctional search functions. Etc.

Many sites are enjoying success with email newsletters, and lately I’ve subscribed to a whole bunch of them. I searched his morning for email newsletters from both the Oakland Tribune and the San Francisco Chronicle. The Oakland Tribune (actually, Inside Bay Area, the site for the local chain owned, ironically enough, by Digital First) returns a “forbidden” error message. The Chron’s page is blank.

I am reminded of that great series of commercials for Dollar Shave Club about how retailers lock their razors in a case, and the guy says “It almost seems like they don’t *want* you to buy their razors.”

I honestly get the feeling sometimes that newspapers are actually trying to chase their readers away. Except that with local newspapers, we generally don’t have an alternative like shavers do with the Dollar Shave Club.

It’s true that free online news, Craigslist, etc., have done much to hurt newspapers. But not nearly enough blame is assigned to the woefully incompetent management of basic operations and the customer-service function.

Update from Mike Murphy:

I’m a web producer at the Bay Area News Group, and just wanted to note, for what it’s worth, that we have functioning links for email newsletter signups on all of our sites (Oakland Tribune, San Jose Mercury News, etc.). Not sure where Dan Mitchell got that bad link, we’ve been trying to replicate a Google search but are coming up empty. Hopefully we’ll be able to find and correct that link (or at least install a redirect), so thanks for pointing it out.

[Follow-up email:] I just responded to Dan via Twitter, and he sent me the page he found it on — which was a couple of years old, before our redesign. Must’ve fallen between the cracks, but we’re fixing it now.

The working link is here.

Reaction? Post in comments or email me your thoughts for anonymous posting.

New: Read comments about this letter from my Facebook friends and subscribers

David Carr remembered:
* “David mentored and nurtured countless journalists,” writes Brian Stelter, “and I was so lucky to be one of them.carrstelter I loved him like a father and he treated me like a son.” (cnn.com) | Stelter, Carr and their wives: (@brianstelter)
* Tom Moran: I’ll always remember David Carr as the adult who took time to chat with my son at a back-yard barbecue. (nj.com)
* Gawker’s Hamilton Nolan was supposed to have breakfast with Carr, then speak to his class last week; unfortunately, the snowstorm hit. (gawker.com)
* Jack Shafer on his friend: “One part shambling hipster, one part Tom Waits, a pinch of Jimmy Breslin, and a dollop of the Mad Hatter.” (politico.com)
* Gabriel Sherman: “Carr embodied the grit the paper needs to thrive in a constantly changing media landscape.” (nymag.com)
* The time Carr told the Vice editors not to insult what the Times does: (gq.com)
* Keith J. Kelly: “He had a beautiful way with words and he had a way of sucking you into his world.” (nypost.com)post
* [RIGHT] The New York Post “literally stopped the presses” last night for Carr. (@media_ink)
* A.O. Scott: “If he told you you’d written a heck of a story, you knew he meant it.” (nytimes.com)
* What Carr wrote at Washington City Paper (and what it wrote about him): (washingtoncitypaper.com)
* Ken Doctor: “For a guy who said plainly what others only thought, he often seemed the most commonsensical guy in the room.” (capitalnewyork.com)
* “He was an enormous personality who required a significant amount of the oxygen in the room,” says the Twin Cities Reader publisher hired by Carr, “but could also use that to hold a lot of people on his shoulders and usually move them forward.” (startribune.com)
* The man who put Carr in the “Page One” documentary says one of the best ways to honor the journalist’s memory “is to try to live as fully and truthfully and daringly as David did.” (cnn.com)
* Watch Carr on Twin Cities public access TV (smoking during the show) in 1984: (tcmedianow.com via John Reinan)
* Kelly Krause: “I hope this [photo] makes you smile today.” Stelter: “It does.” (@kelljokrause)

In other news:
* New York Times goes all-in on Instagram. (digiday.com)
* Mike Daisey‘s advice for Brian Williams: Don’t apologize to save your job or career; apologize so you can sleep at night. (slate.com)observer
* San Antonio’s black newspaper uses the N-word on its cover. (mysanantonio.com)
* Praise for The New Republic’s “Whitewash” cover story. (chicagoreader.com)
* NPR memo: No change in the way we introduce the Islamic State. (npr.org)
* Today’s “On Point with Tom Ashbrook” is all about this week’s media news. (wbur.org)
* Correction: “He does not believe President Obama is the Antichrist…” (@RL_Bynum)
* Canada’s conservative Sun News Network shuts down. (thestar.com)
* “Facebook is an asshole about the name thing.” (splicetoday.com)
* Crain’s New York Business lays off 40% of its editorial staff. (talkingbiznews.com)