It’s been a tough past couple of weeks for journalism with the deaths of two prolific and incredibly revered journalists. 60 Minutes correspondent Bob Simon and New York Times columnist David Carr died earlier this month, both close to their offices.
Bob Simon, 73, who had worked as a correspondent for 60 Minutes for nearly 20 years, died earlier this month in a car accident on his way home from the studio. Simon had just finished production on his final segment, a report on a new drug that could combat the deadly Ebola virus that continues to sweep through Northern Africa.
Simon was riding down New York’s West Side Highway shortly before 7 p.m. on February on February 11, when his for-hire Lincoln Town Car collided with another. Simon was pulled from the sunroof of the wrecked car and taken to St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital Center where he later died. The driver of Simon’s car suffered two broken legs and two broken arms, but was listed in stable condition.
“It’s a terrible loss for all of us at CBS News,” said 60 Minutes executive producer Jeff Fager, in an interview with CNN. “It’s a tragedy, made worse because we lost him in a car accident – a man who’s escaped more difficult situations than almost any one journalist in modern times…we will miss him very much.”
New York Times columnist David Carr died at the age of 58 on February 15 from complications with lung cancer after collapsing in the newsroom at the New York Times building on 42nd street in Midtown Manhattan. Carr had previously battled and survived a bout of Hodgkin’s lymphoma – a cancer of the lymphatic system.
His death drew an immediate response from journalists around the world who took to social media to express their condolences.
“Word’s fail me,” tweeted Jeff Jarvis, journalist and professor. “A genius is lost.”
And Times columnist Nicholas Kristof tweeted, “David Carr stood out because at a time when the news industry is struggling for its soul, he exemplified both soul and integrity. RIP”
60 Minutes paid tribute to the late journalist during this past week’s broadcast with a special introduced by fellow correspondent Steve Kroft. Simon was introduced as a “reporter’s reporter” who prided himself on his humble background as a Jewish kid from the Bronx, but was more humble in sharing his achievements.
Simon’s career has spanned nearly 50 years after joining CBS in 1967 as a reporter and editor based in New York. He went on to report all over the world. In 1991, he was captured by Iraqi forces at the start of the Gulf War and was held captive for 40 days with three colleagues. He’s earned four Peabody’s, 27 Emmy’s and the Overseas Press Club’s highest honor for a body or work, according to CNN.
Carr’s memoir “The Night of the Gun”, published in 2008, detailed his rise from cocaine addict to a media columnist for one of the most revered newspapers in the world. His 35-plus years as a columnist and culture reporter has earned him immense credibility as one of the most prolific journalists of this era.