By Carlo Versano
Craig Newmark, the founder of the ubiquitous listing site Craigslist, has a new role as patron of investigative journalism and has donated $40 million of his personal fortune to the cause. Now, he's making a plea to news outlets.
"Make me give more," he said Friday in an interview on Cheddar.
Newmark's latest donation of $1 million to the magazine Mother Jones came from the founder's desire to "stand up and do what I can to help protect the country," he said.
The spread of misinformation and conspiracy theories and a pressing need for better cybersecurity led Newmark to embark on a philanthropic tour, giving money to schools (CUNY's School of Journalism, Harvard's Kennedy School), publications (Columbia Journalism Review, Mother Jones) and platforms (Firefox, DonorsChoose.org) that he said work to promote responsible journalism, fact-checking, and STEM education.
"We're in a long-term war against some really, really bad people," he said.
Newmark said the U.S. is under attack from enemies both foreign and domestic that are using "hybrid warfare" to sow division in the population.
Safeguarding Americans against these forces should be the job of the government, he said.
"Where the government isn't going to do the job, other people can."
Ironically, Craigslist, which Newmark founded in 1995, is widely thought to be among the reasons the news industry is facing such dire financial straits. The free listing site lifted the concept of a newspaper classified and made it seem anachronistic in the digital age. The news media, for its part, was wholly unprepared for the shift.
But his philanthropic efforts have nothing to do with that, Newmark said.
"This is a matter of defending the country."
For full interview click here.