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New York Times Ramps Up Search for David Carr’s Replacement (EXCLUSIVE)

The New York Times is zeroing in on a possible replacement for David Carr, the influential media-industry columnist who died suddenly in February, according to people familiar with the situation.

The final choice is a critical one for the Gray Lady, which has seen a number of experienced media reporters leave in recent months owing to buyouts offered in the wake of tough financial conditions afflicting the newspaper business. Carr rose to national prominence by writing a weekly column tracking the tectonic shifts taking place in the media landscape, doing so with a clever turn of phrase and a gimlet-eyed view.

Jonathan Mahler, a current media desk staffer at the Times; David Folkenflik, media correspondent for National Public Radio; and Sarah Ellison, a contributing editor at Vanity Fair, are on the paper’s list of candidates, these people said.

Mahler referred an inquiry to Eileen Murphy, a spokeswoman for the New York Times Company. Folkenflik and Ellison declined to comment on whether they had been approached. Murphy did not respond to a query seeking comment.

Mahler joined the Times in 2014, having worked previously as a sports columnist for Bloomberg View. He is the author of the books  “The Challenge: Hamdan v. Rumsfeld and the Fight over Presidential Power” and “Ladies of and Gentlemen, the Bronx Is Burning.”

Folkenflik’s work has appeared on NPR programs such as Morning Edition and All Things Considered. Prior to joining NPR in 2004, he was a reporter for the Baltimore Sun.

Ellison was a reporter at the Wall Street Journal before writing for Vanity Fair. She is the author of “War at the Wall Street Journal: Inside the Struggle to Control an American Business Empire,” an insidery look at Rupert Murdoch’s takeover of Dow Jones & Co.

The Times has been rebuilding its media desk in recent months, adding reporters like Emily Steel and moving reporter John Koblin from its style desk to the TV beat. Carr’s death and the recent buyouts have left the paper without many veterans covering the sector.

In a February interview with Margaret Sullivan, the paper’s public editor, New York Times executive editor Dean Baquet acknowledged that Carr left big shoes to fill. “You don’t set about creating a star,” Baquet told Sullivan in the interview. “If you do that, you’ll pick somebody for the wrong reasons.”

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