The charitable foundation operated by the founder of Craigslist just donated $1 million to Poynter to support a five-year program that will focus on journalism ethics and accountability. Poynter’s Benjamin Mullin wrote today that it’s the biggest donation the organization has ever received from a single foundation.
Craig Newmark, who founded the online classifieds site in the heyday of Web 1.0, tweeted about the gift earlier today. Media types are likely to see a bit of irony in the donation. A decade ago, Craigslist was considered Public Enemy No. 1 among newspaper publishers who were being drained of the lucrative classified-ad dollars they once relied on. I still vividly remember the 2006 New York magazine profile of Newmark that referred to him as the “exploder of journalism.”
It’s an ominous image that Newmark’s unassuming persona has always belied, however, and personally, I’m gratified to see an Internet millionaire donate some of his money to the very worthy cause of news.