Morristown High alum Craig Newmark gives $20M to journalism school

Craigslist founder Craig Newmark. Photo: Bleacher Everard.
Craigslist founder Craig Newmark. Photo: Bleacher Everard.
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Craigslist founder Craig Newmark, Morristown High School class of ’71, has donated $20 million to the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism, which will be renamed for him.

“At a time of rapid, digital innovation, eroding public trust in news, and increased governmental oversight, it is imperative that we build a sustainable future for journalism,” Newmark said in a statement.  “The CUNY Graduate School of Journalism is committed to producing skilled, ethically minded, and diverse journalists.”

Craigslist often is blamed for hastening the decline of newspapers by decimating their classified advertising revenues–costing the industry at least $5 billion in the early 2000s, according to a 2012 study.

Newmark declined to take the rap for that in a 2015 interview with Morristown Green.

“Fake news” had not yet become a campaign issue, but Newmark, who lives in the San Francisco area, expressed concerns about a dearth of trustworthy information in the digital din.

“I’m only a news consumer, and just want news I can trust,” he told MG.  He also has made substantial donations to ProPublica, the Poynter Institute for Media Studies, and the Wikimedia Foundation, among other organizations.

Craig Newmark, then and now: Tyke on trike, courtesy of Craig Newmark; Morristown High School 1971 yearbook; portrait by Bleacher and Everard.
Craig Newmark, then and now: Tyke on trike, courtesy of Craig Newmark; Morristown High School 1971 yearbook; portrait by Bleacher and Everard.

Closer to home, Newmark donated $10,000 to Grow It Green Morristown in 2015 for a composting toilet at the Early Street Community Garden. Local regulations have stalled that project.

Here’s more about the CUNY donation.

From the City University of New York:

Transformational gift will sustain the School in perpetuity and advance its
mission to serve the public interest
School to be renamed as the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism
at the City University of New York

New York, NY – June 11, 2018 – A new $20 million gift to The City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism from craigslist founder Craig Newmark will enhance its mission of graduating skilled journalists, diversifying the voices in the media and encouraging innovation and entrepreneurship.

In honor of this truly historic gift, the CUNY Board of Trustees has approved the renaming of the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism as the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at the City University of New York.

“Craig Newmark’s extraordinary generosity ensures that our still-young school will have the resources and flexibility it needs to remain at the forefront of journalism education,” said Sarah Bartlett, dean of the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism.

This transformational gift, made through Newmark’s foundation, Craig Newmark Philanthropies, will enable the School to recruit additional faculty, continue to develop innovative programs, and pursue activities that support greater trust in journalism, among other vital functions.

“At a time of rapid, digital innovation, eroding public trust in news, and increased governmental oversight, it is imperative that we build a sustainable future for journalism,” said Craig Newmark, founder of craigslist and Craig Newmark Philanthropies.

“The CUNY Graduate School of Journalism is committed to producing skilled, ethically minded, and diverse journalists.”

As the only publicly supported graduate journalism school in the Northeast, the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism provides one of the best values in advanced journalism education in the U.S. With affordable tuition and extensive scholarship support, the School attracts talented students from a vast array of backgrounds and experiences, ensuring that the next generation of journalists is inclusive and diverse.

“We are thrilled and honored by this extraordinary gift to the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism,” said CUNY Board of Trustees Chairperson William C. Thompson Jr.

“It is an important and timely investment, not only in the university, our city and the nation, but in the future of our democracy. At a time of profound challenges to the vital role of a vigorous free press, it has never been more important to support reliable, high-quality reporting – and to ensure that the next generation of journalists has the skills and values to earn the public’s trust and reflects the communities it serves.”

In receiving this gift, the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism is joining a pantheon of other journalism organizations that have been the recipients of Craig Newmark’s philanthropy, including the Columbia Journalism Review, Data & Society Research Institute, First Draft, the Poynter Institute for Media Studies, ProPublica, Robert C. Maynard Institute for Journalism Education, and the Sunlight Foundation.

Newmark’s goal is to strengthen trust in high-quality journalism by supporting institutions and initiatives that are tackling the wide range of issues that affect the news industry, including strengthening transparency and media ethics, supporting real-time fact-checking efforts, championing a diverse and inclusive journalism pipeline, and disarming harmful technologies that spread disinformation.

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About the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism

The CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, founded in 2006, is the only public graduate journalism school in the northeastern U.S. With affordable tuition and extensive scholarship support, it prepares students from diverse economic, racial and cultural backgrounds to produce high-quality journalism. The school offers three master’s degree programs: a Master of Arts in Journalism, an M.A. in Entrepreneurial Journalism and an M.A. in Social Journalism. In Fall 2016, it launched a unique Spanish-language program to train bilingual students interested in covering Latino and Hispanic communities in the U.S. and abroad.

About the Craig Newmark Philanthropies

Craig Newmark Philanthropies was created by craigslist founder Craig Newmark to support, connect, and drive powerful civic engagement. The organization works to advance people and grassroots organizations that are getting stuff done in areas that include trustworthy journalism, voter protection, gender diversity in technology, and veterans and military families.

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