Stealing classified-ad revenues from big media was far too easy. Craigslist has found a challenge that its ample pockets are up to: corrupting the minds of future journalists. It has given $1.6 million to UC-Berkeley's Center for New Media, which works with departments ranging from engineering to journalism to determine the extent of the Internet's effect on our lives, to create an endowed faculty chair.
The donation, Berkeley said, was meant to help Berkeley compete with private universities — a problem its journalism school knows far too well. The journalism school has been searching for a new dean since early 2007 and it's yet to permanently fill the position.
For Craigslist, the purpose of the donation is obvious: To counter charges that its website is destroying newspaper revenues. Not that Craig Newmark would ever admit that. To hear him talk, it's the media's failure to hew narrowly to his San Francisco liberal-geek worldview that is causing print ads to disappear. The thought of him having a hand, however indirect, in the education of journalists is a chilling one.