SAN FRANCISCO — The Craig Newmark Foundation, founded by craigslist founder Craig Newmark, has made a $1 million grant to ProPublica, an independent, nonprofit newsroom that produces investigative journalism in the public interest.
“A trustworthy press is the immune system of democracy,” said Newmark. “As citizens we can only make informed decisions when we have news we can trust. Independent investigative reporting is essential to shoot down false claims and expose bad actors. ProPublica is a leader in that kind of journalism, and we need more of it.”
The unrestricted grant will allow ProPublica to deploy resources and address opportunities, including adding staff, where they are most needed over a wide range of issues in the public interest.
“At this critical moment for America, probing and fearless accountability journalism is more important than ever,” said ProPublica president Richard Tofel. “We are deeply grateful to Craig Newmark, a longtime friend. This grant will allow ProPublica to extend our ability to dig into the actions of government, business and other institutions – and hold those in power to account.”
The grant to ProPublica represents the latest step in Newmark’s ongoing effort to support nonprofit journalism organizations that can provide a trustworthy sounding board in the context of rancorous debate.
“I’ve been supporting and talking about the need for trustworthy journalism for years,” said Newmark. “But now there’s a new normal in journalism. It’s a media environment where really nasty gossip, lies and deception have the business advantage, and where a lot of traditional news organizations are on the ropes. So we need to redouble our efforts to support the good guys.”
In 2016 Newmark, either personally or through his foundation, made multi-million donations to various nonprofit media and media-related organizations, including to the Poynter Institute, which will conduct a major, multi-year initiative under the Craig Newmark Chair in Journalism Ethics. Another $1 million grant went to Wikipedia to support their endowment and editorial expansion and fact-checking on the global online reference tool. Newmark is also a founder and funder of The Trust Project, a program developed by the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University.
“As a news consumer, I won’t pay for news I can’t trust,” said Newmark. “But when it comes to news I can trust, I’m putting my money where my mouth is.”
Craigslist is celebrating its 22nd anniversary this month. Newmark founded the popular classified listing site in San Francisco in 1995. He is no longer involved in management of the site but still works in customer service.