Craig Newmark makes some predictions for the future of the press.
Question: What has been Craigslist’s impact on newspaper classified ads?
Newmark: To people who are seriously involved in the journalism industry say that we’ve had a minor effect on classified revenues. There are factors, a lot of them, and that’s a process of creative destruction, kind of like the replacement of buggy whips by car parts. However, a vigorous press is needed for the survival of any democracy, so on a personal basis, I’m pretty concerned about that and so I try to help out people in journalism who are a lot smarter than me. They are trying to preserve the best of journalism and journalistic jobs, and then try to build that into the new media environment.
Question: What is Craigslist’s contribution to new media?
Newmark: The dots may not actually connect, [the idea]. Craigslist’s sole contribution so far to the new media environment in the sense of helping along is this work with the Berkeley Center for New Media. Personally, I’m involved in a number of desperate efforts where I feel some connection and when I can see people are doing stuff that actually gets something done. And some work with Jay Rosen, some with Jeff Jarvis or Dan Gillmor, some with Ellen Miller at Sunlight Foundation, some work with Consumers Union which does customer reports. And also with the Berkeley Journalism School, they’re doing some really good hyperlocal work and I’ve engaged with them a bit. There’s also other efforts to News Trust, maybe Spot.US. NewsTrust represents an effort, a net base to build metrics and to use people to help figure out what are the most trustworthy versions of news stories. Spot.US is much newer and I’m still [into] it, but I think the theme there is how might one commission a story, some kind of news story to get it done well in a trustworthy manner. The hard part in a lot of these is fact checking and I’m also involved in FactCheck.org in a very minor way.