Craig Newmark on Safeguarding Independent Journalism and Democracy

By | Jun 17, 2024

On Friday afternoon, Moment magazine honored Craigslist founder and philanthropist Craig Newmark with its 2024 Inspirational Leadership Award for his unstinting support for independent journalism and democracy. The award was presented at a National Press Club luncheon.

Moment Editor-in-Chief and CEO Nadine Epstein thanked Newmark for championing the trustworthy, fact-based independent journalism necessary for a healthy democracy— and that is at the heart of Moment’s mission. “Craig is kind and thoughtful as well as generous,” she said. “He understands how hard the work of journalism is today, and why journalism is more important now than ever before.”

Judy Woodruff, PBS senior correspondent and former anchor and managing editor of the PBS NewsHour, saluted Moment for 50 years of powerful journalism, and for “holding the banner high for the best kind of writing and reporting during such a tumultuous time for our industry.” In presenting Newmark with his award, Woodruff recognized him as “one of the most consistent and generous supporters of independent journalism for more than two decades,” adding that it was no exaggeration to say that “he has literally helped to keep independent, unbiased journalism alive in America, at a time when all the economic, technological and political pressures were working against it.” 

Craig Newmark was interviewed by Moment special contributor and former host of NPR’s All Things Considered Robert Siegel. Their spirited conversation covered a range of topics, from AI and his love of birds, science fiction and the music of Taylor Swift to what more he would do to strengthen journalism if he had the resources of an Elon Musk. Newmark charmed the audience with his self-deprecating humor, but was very serious when he talked about the bravery of journalists willing to hold politicians accountable. “We need journalists with ethics to confront powerful figures who aren’t being honest with us.”

Newmark paid homage to some of the people who influenced him early in his life, including a grade school teacher who in 1970 taught him that “a trustworthy press is the immune system of democracy. That stuck with me, that set my patriotic compass,” he said. He attributed his moral compass to his Sunday school teachers, Mr. & Mrs. Levin, whose lessons included “treat people like you want to be treated, and now and then you need to be your brother’s or sister’s keeper.” 

Guests in attendance included ambassadors, journalists, government officials, nonprofit leaders, entrepreneurs and Moment board members. The luncheon was hosted by Moment board member Andrew Ammerman.

Our 2024 Benefit and Awards Gala will be held Sunday November 17. As a non-profit, this annual event is essential to supporting our important work. Learn more about our gala and how to support it here. 

Register to watch the June 14 program here.

Moment is proud to host conversations such as this one.

Photos by Bruce Guthrie

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