Craig Newmark, the founder of Craigslist, has taken part of his online classified ads money and gotten involved in advocating for journalism, funding lectures at the Poynter Institute and backing a guide to press ethics.
But not everyone is thrilled with Newmark’s advocacy, including Frank Blethen.
Blethen, the publisher of The Seattle Times, “scoffed” at Newmark’s journalism-related ventures in a report by the New York Times, in part because of what Blethen sees as Craigslist’s role in upending classified ads, which were traditionally a major revenue generator for newspapers.
“He clearly disrupted classified advertising,” Blethen told the New York Times, “and now he’s portraying himself in this public policy realm.”
Newmark said he was still looking for “hard evidence” that Craigslist was responsible for the drop in newspaper classifieds.
The comments come amid an ever-changing media landscape. The Seattle Times late last month agreed to sell land in Seattle’s South Lake Union neighborhood, with some of the profits from the $62.5 million real estate transaction to be used to bolster the newspaper’s digital offerings. And, of course, the big news of last week was Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos’ $250 million purchase of The Washington Post.
More on the changes going on in digital media from last weekend’s GeekWire podcast: “Jeff Bezos, the Washington Post and the future of media.”
Blair Hanley Frank is a technology journalist based in the San Francisco Bay Area. He has also worked for Macworld, PCWorld, TechHive and the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin, which is owned by the Blethen family. He can be found on Twitter @belril.