Next Lunch: December 19

Craig (He’s Got a Little List) Newmark
To Be Guest Speaker at Dec. 19 Lunch

Craig Newmark

Craig Newmark is a billionaire entrepreneur whose Craigslist has been charged with decimating the classified ad sections of almost every newspaper in America.  Over a seven-year period, according to a recent piece in The New York Times, Craigslist — an online classified section that, in almost all cases, is free to use and that now operates in 700 cities in 70 countries — has stripped newspapers of some $5 billion in ad revenues, and contributed to the demise of print media all over the country.

Craig Newmark is also a philanthropist who, just in the past year, has pumped some $50 million into media-related institutions. Although he hails from the Bay Area of California, where Craigslist is headquartered, much of what he’s been doing to help journalism has been focused on the East Coast, particularly in New York. He’s given $1 million each to ProPublica and the Poynter Institute, and another million to Mother Jones to help the magazine fight “fake news.” He gave $2.5 million in October to expand the newsroom of New York Public Radio. He gave $20 million to The Markup, a nonprofit investigative news site that, starting next year, will explore the ethics and power of the big tech companies and their effect on society. And last June, he made a $20 million gift to the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, which said thanks by changing its name to the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism.

“A trustworthy press is the immune system of democracy,” he told The Times. “Like we say in Jersey, you’ve got to put your money where your mouth is.”

So is Newmark a hero? A villain? A bit of both? The 66-year-old native of Morristown, N.J., a self-described nerd who for 17 years was a programmer for IBM, maintains that the decline of print media started long before Craigslist appeared and that if it had never been born, it would have made no difference in today’s landscape.

You’ll have the opportunity to sharpen your own impression of Newmark on Wednesday, Dec. 19, when he’ll be our luncheon guest at the National Arts Club. To make the occasion even more special, he’ll be answering questions posed by Silurian Sarah Bartlett, dean of the Newmark School, who in 2014 succeeded another Silurian, founding dean Stephen B. Shepard, our 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award winner. Before Dean Bartlett was an academician, she was a journalist. After working in London as a documentarian, she returned to the States in 1981 and was a reporter and editor at such publications as Forbes magazine, BusinessWeek, Inc. magazine, The New York Times and Oxygen Media.

The Date:        Wednesday, Dec. 19
The Time:        Noon
The Place:      The National Arts Club, 15 Gramercy Park South
The Speaker:  Craig Newmark, founder of Craigslist

To attend, reservations are necessary. We are now using Eventbrite to handle our luncheon reservations. There is no charge for this unless you choose to pay in advance for your ticket with a credit card. All you need do is click the link below – and follow the directions:

You will then receive an email confirmation.

You may also reserve by calling the Silurians’ reservation line at 212-532-0887. Please spell your name clearly and include a contact number or email address. Lunch prices are $55 for members, $65 for guests, payable at the door by credit card, check or cash (exact change, please). And if you’re bringing a guest, make sure to tell us your guest’s name.

IMPORTANT REMINDER: Because we must give the National Arts Club a final attendance tally two days before the luncheon, we cannot accept cancellations after noon on Monday, Dec. 17. If you fail to cancel your reservation by then and turn out to be a no-show, you will nevertheless be billed for the lunch because the NAC will bill us for it. So please make your reservation, assure yourself a seat, and then come sit in it while enjoying a splendid lunch and a lively conversation about journalism’s future.

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