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CUNY to rename journalism school after Craigslist founder’s $20M donation

The donation and renaming drew the ire of some who blame Craigslist for replacing lucrative classified advertisements.

Craigslist founder Craig Newmark donated $20 million to

Craigslist founder Craig Newmark donated $20 million to CUNY's Graduate School of Journalism, and will become the program's namesake, according to the City University of New York. Photo Credit: Getty Images / Jemal Countess

The CUNY Graduate School of Journalism is being renamed for the founder of Craigslist after he donated $20 million to the institution, officials announced Monday.

Craig Newmark created the free online marketplace, which many believe largely replaced print classified advertisements — a vital funding stream for newspapers.

“The need for a trustworthy press is critical, and we need to ensure that the next generation of journalists reflects the communities it serves,” Newark said on Twitter. “Proud to support @cunyjschool, which I admire for its steadfast commitment to serving the public interest.”

CUNY officials said the donation will help them pay for additional faculty and develop innovative programs.

“Craig Newmark’s extraordinary generosity ensures that our still-young school will have the resources and flexibility it needs to remain at the forefront of journalism education,” Sarah Bartlett, dean of the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, said in a statement.

While Newmark received praise from many of the school’s supporters, others grumbled on a private CUNY J School alumni page that Craigslist helped hasten cutbacks at newspapers.

A 2013 study by Robert Seamans, of the NYU Stern School of Business, and Feng Zhu, of the Harvard Business School, showed classified-ad buyers saved $5 billion between 2000 and 2007 while local newspapers lost billions in potential revenue.

Newmark has previously made donations to ProPublica, a nonprofit news organization, and the Poynter Institute.

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