Craig Newmark of Craigslist — page 4By BTM Institute Staff Writer | Posted 2008-07-30 Print
An interview with Craig Newmark, Founder of Craigslist
Q. One of the things that come up with journalism is truth. How do we get at the truth?
Truth is a pretty slippery content under the best of circumstances. I sometimes just prefer honesty and fairness instead of truth. When a big subject comes up, the Internet allows lots and lots of people to dig in. It provides a lot of tools for investigative reporting, whether by professionals or by citizen journalists. Over time we're getting closer and closer to what's going on. Wikipedia is a good example of that. When it comes to accountability by Congress, the Sunlight Foundation is funding the development of a lot of tools for it. I'm part of this foundation.
Q. Are you involved in NewsAssignment.net?
Marginally. I was a supporter of theirs. That's working out pretty well. These things are happening. I do believe in the importance of investigative reporting. That's a really big deal. We need to make that happen more. I decided to use some of my time and a little bit of my money to push these things.
Q. What's the next venture for Craigslist?
More of the same. We have to get better at what we do. For example, we need better tools to detect, to remove and to prevent spam.
Q. What's your view of social media?
It will play a really important role in connecting us all. Right now, I'm not a regular user of any of it.
Q. Are you going to move in the direction of social media?
We have no plan to do it. If our community starts telling us they want it, then we'll seriously consider it.
Q. Is your plan to maintain the status quo or to be acquired?
We want to make incremental improvements based on what people in our community tell us. For example, we quietly introduced multiple language support recently, starting with Spanish. We're still testing it out. We need to develop a better search engine, one that can search more than one city at a time.
Overall, we have no interest in selling.
Q. You sound like you're very content with the way things are going. Don't you want to own a 400-foot yacht?
I don't know what I'd do with a lot of money. I joke about nerd values being making enough to live comfortably and to provide for your future. Once you have achieved this, what's the point in making more?
Q. Do you do anything to give back to the community?
I'm involved in a number of side projects. You've noticed some in journalism and media. I'm also involved in a mass movement of moderates in Palestine and Israel. These do-good people are just ordinary citizens who are just tired of the fighting, and they're telling their leaders to cut a deal. I'm also involved in a number of micro-finance efforts, particularly for the West Bank, which is just beginning right now. I'm trying to accelerate this. Micro-banking began with Muhammad Yunus, founder of Grameen Bank.
Q. What do people say about you that you don't agree with?
I can't think of very much. Some people might have been unkind. I can live with that. When people write that way, they usually discredit themselves. There have been people who've tried to plant disinformation about me. Again, people realize that it's fake.
The BTM Institute (www.btminstitute.org) brings together the academic, corporate, government and thought-leadership communities as a multidisciplinary research think tank to address the need to integrate business and technology.
© 2008 BTM Institute. All rights reserved. The above material is copyrighted by the BTM Institute and may not be reproduced without written consent from the institute.
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