Craig Newmark Philanthropies Invests $15M to Strengthen Journalism Ethics for the Digital Age

Today, Craig Newmark Philanthropies announces a total of $15 million to support journalism ethics. The gifts “ $10 million to the Columbia Journalism School and $5 million to the Poynter Institute “ will boost efforts to strengthen journalism ethics for the digital age.

With disinformation flowing through social platforms and the news, its critical to modernize journalism ethics so that the industry keeps pace with the ever-changing digital landscape, said Craig Newmark, founder of craigslist and Craig Newmark Philanthropies. Both Columbia Journalism School and Poynter are already helping journalists do just that, and with these gifts, I hope they’ll become the industrys go-to resources for the challenges journalists face in a data-driven world.

The $10 million gift to Columbia Journalism School will endow the Craig Newmark Center for Journalism Ethics and Security and the Craig Newmark Professorship. Building on the Schools tradition, the Center will work as an accelerant by conducting groundbreaking research and providing students and practicing journalists with resources on safe and trustworthy reporting.

Craig Newmarks generosity will provide an enduring and deeply influential investment in journalism, said Steve Coll, Dean of the Columbia Journalism School and Henry R. Luce Professor of Journalism. At a time of disinformation campaigns and attacks on journalists online and off, the Center and faculty chair will send a powerful message and will bolster a free and ethical press that secures our democratic society.

Within the School, the Centers activities will include strengthening the mandatory ethics classes, taught by senior faculty to all Master of Science students. In addition, it will allow the school to expand its instruction in digital and physical security, algorithmic bias, image manipulation, source protection in a high-surveillance era, and more. Soon, the Center will begin a search for the inaugural Craig Newmark Professor, who will serve as its director.

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The additional $5 million to the Poynter Institute will create the Craig Newmark Center for Ethics and Leadership, providing working journalists and industry leaders with relevant training and continued education. The Center aims to be the industry ombudsman by supporting the coverage of journalism ethics as a news beat; conducting annual research projects on ethics, trust, and other topics related to journalistic integrity; organizing an annual meeting to facilitate collaboration; and providing individuals and companies that seek to grow trust with consultation services.

The need for credible, trusted information is critical to a healthy democratic society, said Neil Brown, President of the Poynter Institute. Through this profound act of Craig Newmark Philanthropies in support of journalistic integrity and excellence, Poynter will build on its long history in promoting media ethics and elevating the practice of journalism. Starting with the credentials of Poynters Kelly McBride, the Center will yield and promote something precious: independent, credible information that will help citizens successfully participate in our democracy.

The Center will be led by Kelly McBride, senior vice president at Poynter, who will be named the Craig Newmark Ethics Chair. It will immediately launch a fellowship program for professional journalists who want to deepen their knowledge of and skills around ethical decision-making and to develop solutions to some of the industrys most pernicious problems.

Newmark has long been a supporter of Poynters ethics program. He is a member of the Poynter Foundation board, and he contributed funds to support the development of the 2013 book The New Ethics of Journalism: Principles for the 21st Century, edited by Kelly McBride and Tom Rosenstiel, President of the American Press Institute. Newmark has also supported Poynters Leadership Academy for Women in Digital Media. And, in 2017, Craig Newmark Philanthropies gave a $1 million grant to the Poynter Institute to establish the Craig Newmark Journalism Ethics Chair.

Newmarks expanded investment in journalistic ethics and integrity follows a year of meaningful gifts that have helped to promote a trustworthy press. These include $20 million to the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at the City University of New York and $20 million to the tech-focused news startup The Markup, as well as generous donations to New York Public Radio, THE CITY, and others.

About the Columbia Journalism School

For more than a century, the Columbia Journalism School has been preparing journalists in programs that stress academic rigor, ethics, journalistic inquiry and professional practice. Founded with a gift from Joseph Pulitzer, the school opened in 1912 and offers Master of Science, Master of Arts, Master of Science in Data Journalism, a joint Master of Science degree in Computer Science and Journalism, The Knight-Bagehot Fellowship in Economics and Business Journalism and a Doctor of Philosophy in Communications. It houses the Columbia Journalism Review, the Brown Institute for Media Innovation, The Tow Center for Digital Journalism, The Ira A. Lipman Center for Journalism and Civil and Human Rights and the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma. The school also administers many of the leading journalism awards, including the Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia University Awards, the Maria Moors Cabot Prizes, the John Chancellor Award, the John B. Oakes Award for Distinguished Environmental Journalism, Dart Awards for Excellence in Coverage of Trauma, Paul Tobenkin Memorial Award, and the Mike Berger Awards. Journalism.columbia.edu

About the Poynter Institute

The Poynter Institute for Media Studies is a global leader in journalism education and a strategy center that stands for uncompromising excellence in journalism, media and 21st-century public discourse. Poynter faculty teach seminars and workshops at the Institute in St. Petersburg, Florida, and at conferences and organizations around the world. Its e-learning division, News University, offers the worlds largest online journalism curriculum, with hundreds of interactive courses and tens of thousands of registered international users. The Institutes website, poynter.org, produces 24-hour coverage about media, ethics, technology and the business of news. The worlds top journalists and media innovators come to Poynter to learn and teach new generations of reporters, storytellers, media inventors, designers, visual journalists, documentarians and broadcasters. Poynter is the home of PolitiFact, the International Fact-checking Network and MediaWise. This work builds public awareness about journalism, media, the First Amendment and discourse that serves democracy and the public good.

About Craig Newmark Philanthropies

Craig Newmark Philanthropies was created by craigslist founder Craig Newmark to support and connect people and drive broad 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. For more information, please visit: CraigNewmarkPhilanthropies.org.

Press Contacts
Chantal De Soto, Columbia Journalism School
[email protected],
(212) 854-3781

Tina Dyakon, the Poynter Institute
[email protected],
(727) 553-4343

Carner Round, Craig Newmark Philanthropies
[email protected],
(347) 260-1957