What Google's And Craigslist's Founders Have In Common

Google's co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page did not destroy advertising. Their company's engineers simply found a way to generate more revenue and reach more consumers than advertisements in newspapers, billboards, radio and television.

Similar to Google, Craig Newmark, the founder of Craigslist, didn’t “almost single-handedly” destroy local newspapers, as Felix Salmon, financial journalist, tweeted after learning of Newmark’s $20 million donation to the City University of New York's Graduate School of Journalism. Yes, Newmark. 

The irony of it all. Over the years, Newmark has been credited for accelerating the local newspapers’ loss of classified ad revenue, yet the graduate school building now bears Newmark’s name.



Take a read of the opinion piece by Allcia Shepard at USA Today. She titled her piece “Craig Newmark and Craigslist didn’t destroy newspapers, they outsmarted them,” after several journalists tweeted on Twitter their discontent of naming the graduate school of journalism after Newmark.

Newmark and Craigslist outsmarted the local newspapers by building a better search engine to find used merchandise for sale. They outsmarted the local newspapers by creating a way to sell the goods at no cost to sellers.

What Newmark didn’t do well, and local newspapers did much better, was create a method that would weed out fraudulent listing and fraudulent activity. Fraud still runs wild across Craigslist. My husband’s most recent use of Craigslist landed his phone number in the midst of a scam, which forced him to change his old phone number to a new one.

In January 2017, Newmark agreed to give $1.5 million to help launch the News Integrity Initiative at the CUNY J-School. The school then raised $14 million for NII to support work around the world to combat fake news.

The donation opens the door to recruit additional faculty and develop innovative programs. Perhaps now the university also will spend funds to teach journalists about combating fraud.

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