Craigslist founder ponders open journalism

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Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Craig Newmark, the founder of craigslist.org, is fascinated with the idea of community journalism.

According to the Associated Press, Newmark is interested in an 'open source' approach to journalism, allowing a huge team of volunteer journalists to stand up to their mainstream counterparts. By acting as news gatherers, writers, and desk editors, Newmark envisions the rise of a regularly updated "trustworthy" outlet that can inform voters ahead of the United States midterm elections in 2006.

Although plans are currently only on the horizon, Newmark has discussed project ideas with Dan Gillmor, a former technology columnist at the San Jose Mercury News and founder of Grassroots Media Inc., and Jeff Jarvis, a former critic for TV Guide and People. Newmark explained: "People are looking for attitude and guts in reporting not full-on gonzo journalism, but hey, tell us what you think."

The collaborative approach to news reporting that Newmark describes is already, in one way, very much alive today in the form of Wikinews: volunteer writers from around the globe can contribute articles, gather news, fact check and review each other's work. A spokesperson for craigslist confirmed that Newmark is "very familiar" with Wikipedia, the sister project to Wikinews.

Confirming that his advisers had been in contact with the Wikimedia Foundation, Newmark himself told us earlier today: "I'm very aware of Wikinews, and I really like the idea."

Sources

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This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.