Skip To Content
Forward 50 2018

Craig Newmark

Defender Of Trustworthy News

Craig Newmark assured reporters that he did not make a donation to the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism out of guilt.

Newmark, founder of Craigslist — the online service which has claimed a major part of the billion-dollar classified ad business from newspapers — gave the school $20 million in June in support of journalism and a public school system that was committed to helping students who relied on scholarships, like he once did.

“In this time, when trustworthy news is under attack, somebody has to stand up,” Newmark, 65, told the New York Times. “And the way you stand up these days is by putting your money where your mouth is, and that’s what I’ve done.”

He started attending journalism conferences about 10 years ago, and in making friends, he gained a serious interest in the industry. He has been donating to CUNY Graduate School of Journalism since 2016, noting that it was a “university for everyone,” regardless of financial status.

In his dedication to journalism, he also donated $1 million to ProPublica, $500,000 to Columbia Journalism Review, $1 million to Data & Society (a research institute) and more than $560,000 to the International Center for Journalists.

In an interview with Recode in July, Newmark said there were three people who had a major influence on his life. The first two were Mr. and Mrs. Levin, his Hebrew School teachers at the Jewish Community Center in Morristown, New Jersey.

“They helped me understand that I should treat people like I want to be treated, and they also, I think, taught me that I should know when enough is enough,” particularly in regards to money, he said.

The next was his high school U.S. History teacher, Mr. Schulsky.

“He bridged me into U.S. history and American values because another way of saying what the Levins taught me was that, well, our country is about fairness, opportunity and respect — or should be,” he explained.

He continued: “I also learned that a trustworthy press is the immune system of democracy, as I like to put it, and I got pretty committed to the Bill of Rights, due process, the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. This guy was serious about getting that across to us, and it stuck pretty thoroughly.”

Newmark reiterated these sentiments in his New York Times interview, where he earnestly shared the reason behind his generous donations.

“My motivation in helping is because, in our country right now,” he said, “we are facing a crisis in getting trustworthy news out there to overwhelm the misinformation.”

— Alyssa Fisher

I hope you appreciated this article. Before you go, I’d like to ask you to please support the Forward’s award-winning, nonprofit journalism during this critical time.

Now more than ever, American Jews need independent news they can trust, with reporting driven by truth, not ideology. We serve you, not any ideological agenda.

At a time when other newsrooms are closing or cutting back, the Forward has removed its paywall and invested additional resources to report on the ground from Israel and around the U.S. on the impact of the war, rising antisemitism and the protests on college campuses.

Readers like you make it all possible. Support our work by becoming a Forward Member and connect with our journalism and your community.

Make a gift of any size and become a Forward member today. You’ll support our mission to tell the American Jewish story fully and fairly. 

— Rachel Fishman Feddersen, Publisher and CEO

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.