Non-Governmental Imagination


In Praise of Craig Newmark
January 4, 2006, 8:45 am
Filed under: Media

SF Weekly recently published a petty, vindictive and biased article about Craigslist.org. They note that people are publishing ads on Craigslist for free rather than paying traditional newspapers (such as SF Weekly) to place a classified. As a result, newspapers are losing money and laying off staff, resulting in inferior journalism. That seems reasonable enough to me.

But then they get nasty. Sometimes they portray Craig as naive, while other times they portray him as an evil media baron. These attacks make the paper seem pretty juvenile, and they remind me of the eloquent insults I thought of only after the grade-school playground bully was long gone. It must not have struck SF Weekly as ironic that they subjectively attacked a man who they blame for attacking the objective media. But what really got me was their attempt to discredit the Craigslist Foundation:

“…the Craigslist Foundation, which trains other nonprofits in marketing, technology, and fundraising skills, but makes no grants, has no endowment, and charges for many of its training events.”

The events they are referring to are the Craigslist Nonprofit Boot Camps, one of which I recently attended. It cost Interplast $50 to send me, and I got the opportunity to attend lectures in fundraising, technology, public relations and so on by leaders in the respective fields. The founder of the Webby Awards talked for 90 minutes about what the internet is all about, and afterwards I got to pick her brain. I talked with and learned from some of the brightest minds on the net, all for $50 (not to mention getting three catered meals served on compostable plates followed by a concert). Just as useful as the lectures were the connections I made with other people who also have big ideas and small wallets.

I would have had to spend weeks digging around on the internet to learn as much, or paid hundreds of dollars to go to some fancy conference. Craigslist Foundation does an excellent job, and I can’t seem to think of the last time SF Weekly made a similar contribution to society.

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