Craig Newmark has been really into birding lately. Eventually he built up enough bird knowledge that he could identify different species from his Cole Valley, San Francisco, patio, where he and his wife, Eileen, have seen more than 50 types, as evidenced by his bird-heavy Instagram and Facebook s.
In the West Village, where Newmark recently bought an apartment, he eyed a cardinal carrying around nesting material. Newmark considered putting out food to encourage it to stay and build its nest. But he knows that interfering with a natural habitat can have consequences.
You could say that Newmark learned a thing or two about messing with ecosystems as an early internet pioneer. When the former IBM programmer first started sending out a list of tech events and opportunities to a dozen or so friends inhe was only hoping to cultivate a bit of community.
At first it was just a well-intentioned tool meant to help people find couches or jobs or the cute person they made eye contact with on the subway. But as the site grew, it also became a vehicle for scammers to scamfor killers to killfor sex traffickers to trafficand for many more depraved things people do when they think no one is looking. On top of all that, Craigslist was accused of killing newspapers.
As its free online listings became a go-to resource for most major cities, local print publications everywhere saw a cut from their own classifieds revenue. The man who was once universally billed as a newspaper killer has now positioned himself as a fierce advocate of trustworthy journalism, donating millions to mainstay journalism centers like Poynter and ProPublica, and partnering with companies like Facebook to address the issue of fake news.
Craigslist eventually shut down the section, but he says that at the time it was working with the FBI to track criminals though the site. He also blogs frequently about other efforts he finds commendable on his charity website, Craig Connectsand in an Atlantic article published earlier this month he argued that news organizations should do more to assess the risk of online threats directed at their reporters.
Even though Newmark clearly has liberal views, and has donated to both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.
In the mid- and late aughts, he donated to reputable organizations like the Berkeley Center for New Media and to a site run by CUNY professor and well-known Twitter parody foe Jeff Jarvis that attempted to help the media cope with its shattered online identity. Newmark readily admits that he is not an expert in the field of journalism, and he will not solve the fake news problem single-handedly.
I just want news I can trust. He chalks up his success to knowing his limits early on in the company and running with them.
Though Newmark has graduated from using Craigslist to search for major life purchases, the service still plays a role in his life. But lately he and his wife are trying to shed their belongings, not accumulate more.
The two recently decided to live without a car, and lately his wife has been using Craigslist to give stuff away. Mostly, Newmark says he just hopes that future technologists follow the Sunday school rule he did: to treat people like you want to be treated. I guess I would just like to be known as a counterexample.
I realized only in recent years that having lots of money impresses people in ways that can help your charitable efforts. This piece was updated after publication to correct the type of bird Craig Newmark saw in New York.
Filed under: Tech. Flipboard. Getty Images Craig Newmark has been really into birding lately.
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