Craigslist founder do­nates $15M

The Tribune (SLO) - - News - BY DAVID BAUDER

PASADENA

The founder of Craigslist says he will do­nate $15 mil­lion to Columbia Univer­sity and the Poyn­ter In­sti­tute for sep­a­rate ef­forts pro­mot­ing ethics in jour­nal­ism.

The an­nounce­ment on Wed­nes­day es­tab­lishes Craig New­mark in the fore­front of phi­lan­thropists fo­cused on jour­nal­ism, a cause he’s sup­ported with some $85 mil­lion in the past few years. Some in the in­dus­try see irony in that, since the on­line clas­si­fied ad­ver­tis­ing site that made him rich took away a lu­cra­tive rev­enue source for many news­pa­pers.

Columbia, with one of the lead­ing grad­u­ate jour­nal­ism pro­grams in the coun­try, will get $10 mil­lion to es­tab­lish the Craig New­mark Cen­ter for Jour­nal­ism Ethics and Se­curi-

ty. The Florida-based Poyn­ter think tank will get $5 mil­lion, its largest sin­gle dona­tion ever, to of­fer ad­di­tional jour­nal­ism ethics train­ing.

New­mark said he’s been con­cerned since the 2016 elec­tion about at­tacks on the press and the trust of cit­i­zens in the in­sti­tu­tion. Among his other gifts has been $20 mil­lion to es­tab­lish a grad­u­ate school for jour­nal­ism at the City Univer­sity of New York.

“A trust­wor­thy press is the im­mune sys­tem of democ­racy,” New­mark said.

Tech­nol­ogy has made eth­i­cal is­sues much more com­plex than they used to be, said Steve Coll, dean of the Columbia Grad­u­ate School of Jour­nal­ism. The abil­ity to ma­nip­u­late video, the need to pro­tect sources in a high-tech world and pro­vide se­cu­rity for jour­nal­ists against on­line ha­rass­ment are all is­sues that will be ripe for

study in the new cen­ter Columbia will set up, he said.

Columbia will soon be­gin search­ing for a pro­fes­sor to di­rect the ef­fort, he said.

New­mark, Coll said, “has de­cided to use his wealth very de­lib­er­ately and we’re all ap­pre­cia­tive of that.”

Kelly McBride, se­nior vice pres­i­dent at Poyn­ter who has been the go-to ex­pert for many in the jour­nal­ism com­mu­nity who have ques­tions about the eth­i­cal as­pects of do­ing their job, said there’s been an in­crease in re­quests for help from news­rooms and in­di­vid­u­als over the past two years.

“I feel like the in­dus­try is call­ing out for some sort of re­in­force­ment,” she said, “and I re­ally hope that we can be that re­source in a much larger way than we do right now.”

The nam­ing gift will cre­ate a new cen­ter for ethics and lead­er­ship at Poyn­ter, where New­mark is a mem­ber of the board of direc­tors.

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