Thursday, March 15, 2007

Curtains Close on The Carpetbagger

This week I sat down for a quick chat with David Carr of the New York Times for We Want Media. Here's the article:

With Hollywood shifting its focus back to big-budget blockbusters, the few of us still shaking our heads at The Departed’s win for Best Picture may have to buckle down and admit defeat. Awards season is most definitely over, as David Carr recently lowered the curtain on his annual NY Times-based Oscar blog The Carpetbagger. “The Bagger could pretend that he is leaving the season with regrets, but he has none,” Carr wrote. “Happy to have played, happy to have met all the people he met and glad it’s over.”

Carr, who is a regular in the Times Monday Business and Culture sections, started The Carpetbagger in 2005 as a noble attempt to accurately cover Hollywood’s most frenzied and ferociously competitive traditions. Since then, the blog has become the go-to spot for in-depth, interesting awards coverage, with Carr’s unique, singular voice leading the way. Adding quirky videos of Carr on the red carpet in 2006 also helped make the site a splash – and sparked many debates about a major publications crossover appeal.

“People begin to see us in a different way – one that doesn’t reshape the organization, but shows that we have muscles in any platform,” Carr says. “That the Times provides high quality media in print, video, even in the blogsphere.”

Carr feels the blog really opened The Times to its audience, as well, displaying “a level of friendliness and engagement we’re not known for.” He credits the blog’s success to its active readers.

“The whole kind of network intelligence thing was really surprising to me,” he says. “Sometimes I’d just flick at a topic, something I don’t have ferocious knowledge of and I’d get a band of comments. Lots of stuff people knew would outstrip what I had said.”

Of course open communication doesn’t always mean intelligent conversation. “You always get your trolls and your idiots too,” Carr says with a laugh, “But certain people know a lot, and their willingness to take the time to add or correct something I write, it makes me wonder, what do they do for a living?”

As for whether The Bagger will be back on the red carpet again next year, Carr won’t say. But one thing is for certain - the Oscars aren't going away any time soon, and we need someone like The Carpetbagger to shine some unbiased light on the subject.

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