Journalism is a noble profession, men and women seeking the truth from politics, to the economy to world affairs and human rights. A good journalist will see the inequity in any situation and call out wrong doing and criminal activity within governments and societies. Which is why this is so upsetting. On June 11, 2018 the New York Times reported that Craigslist founder Craig Newmark has donated $20 million to CUNY Graduate Journalism School while having it renamed to “Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at the City University of New York”. This is a huge contradiction compared to the backlash that Craigslist has incurred over the years regarding proven accusations of online sex trafficking ads that included a forum for sex buyers to rate and humiliation women and young girls....read more...
The tone deaf and demeaning decision to accept a $20 million dollar donation from the founder of Craigslist just goes to show how academic organizations care little about doing what’s right. If you are a graduate journalism school you should be teaching young journalists about speaking truth to power, not power to truth which in this case there are a lot of lies surround this decision. Craig Newmark was FORCED to cooperate with the FBI to shut down the personal ads, this was not him trying to be a hero. Let’s be clear about that, although he does try and come across as a champion of the Free Press.
He’s quoted in the New York Times as stating the following:
“Sometimes rich people want to do fancy stuff in terms of endowments: Ivy League schools, the opera, the ballet,” Mr. Newmark said. “Me? I want to help out people who, much like me, really needed a hand. If you’re lucky enough to do well, then I feel the right thing is to give people a hand, and the best way for me to do that is to help out journalism.”
This move by CUNY Graduate School of Journalism is a slap in the face to all female journalists who deal with sexual harassment and assault within the industry. This sends a clear message that the institution that educated them cares nothing for their well being or the fact that funding comes from an entity that has promoted sex trafficking. Journalism schools must do better to protect the truth and and always look to the facts, not acquiesce to the allure of rich men’s money. In a very insightful yet draw your own conclusion article written by Maxwell Strachan from HUFFPOST, Sarah Barlett is quoted as saying about the critical reaction surrounding this decision that the school “hadn’t necessarily interpreted all the subtleties” of it and that many of the concerns revolve around issues that are “not primary” or are “very old.” Meaning that it was a long time ago, it’s done, now move on. So I guess if she’s okay with it, we should all be.
There is no doubt that the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism will experience some if not a lot of backlash. Only time will tell. However, in this #Metoo climate I hardly think this will go away quietly. CUNY may have rationalized this to make it seem innocent and good for journalism but in fact it is a dark day when young journalists are told to look the other way when human atrocities are paying their tuition.
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