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Craig Newmark’s Wake Up Call Comments

Craig Newmark, founder of Craigslist, is back in the news with his comments about closing in on helping launch a citizen journalism site.

Earlier this year, he was an attendee at our Wake Up Call conference in San Antonio, where he talks on two videos both available on the Final Report page, and he joined a panel conversation led by Jay Rosen. Here are part of Newmark’s comments:

Newspapers used to be regarded as a community service.

That’s how we perceive ourselves. We’re not a nonprofit–we’re almost all free, but we are, on paper, a for-profit–and the deal is that, when it comes to newspapers, they used to be perceived primarily as providing the public with a service, even way back in the mid-1700s when pamphlets were the big dea–I guess that’s the earliest form I know of citizen journalism.

Nowadays, from what people who seem to know the news business a lot more than I do tell me, is that newspapers are increasingly perceived as profit centers. So in my optimism, I see this whole movement–that of citizen journalism, that of the destructive economic–as maybe changing the focus back for mainstream news on being community service rather than a profit center. That may not make Rupert Murdoch happy–although I have been impressed by his appearances on The Simpsons.

Others participating in the Rosen conversation include: Bill Grueskin, managing editor, Wall Street Journal Online, and Chris Nolan, stand-alone online journalist. David Gyimah, producer and journalist, University of Westminster, UK, who shot the Alamo video that includes Newmark, was also on the panel.

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