Craigslist Founder Gives $10M for New Center of Journalism Ethics

Craigslist founder Craig Newmark
Craig Newmark (Dave JIC)

Columbia Journalism School has announced plans to establish the Craig Newmark Center for Journalism Ethics and Security, which will advance journalism-ethics education in the digital age. 

The center is made possible by a $10 million endowment gift from Craig Newmark Philanthropies, an organization led by the creator of the classified-advertisements website Craigslist. The endowment will also create a new faculty position, the Craig Newmark Professorship, whose recipient will serve as the center’s director.

The center will support research on journalistic practices and prepare students and experienced journalists to address ethical and security dilemmas faced by reporters in modern newsrooms. In particular, it will strengthen the school’s ethics curriculum and expand instruction in topics such as digital and physical security, algorithmic bias, image manipulation, and the protection of sources in a high-surveillance era.

“At a time of disinformation campaigns  and attacks on journalists online and offline, the center and faculty chair will send a powerful message and will bolster a free and ethical press that secures our democratic society,” says journalism dean Steve Coll.

The center is expected to collaborate with other institutions, including the Poynter Institute, a nonprofit journalism school based in St. Petersburg, Florida, which also received a $5 million gift from Craig Newmark Philanthropies. 

“It’s critical to modernize journalism ethics so that the industry keeps pace with the ever-changing digital landscape,” says Newmark, who is also a member of Columbia Journalism Review’s Board of Overseers. “Both Columbia Journalism School and Poynter are already helping journalists do just that, and with these gifts, I hope they’ll become the industry’s go-to resources for the challenges journalists face in a data-driven world.”