Steve Outing has written a very interesting open letter to Craig Newmark, the founder of Craigslist, on how the classifieds site can help newspapers survive...well, technically newspaper sites, and the focus being on saving journalism, not an outdated print model.
Among his ideas:
-- Allow local newspapers to scrape Craigslist ads
-- Allow consumers to place ads on Craigslist via newspaper websites
-- Add links on Craigslist to newspaper website classified sections
-- Add a news component to Craigslist
The first one is the easiest and practical...the last one is controversial, and others have wondered about its expansion into some form of social news for years now. Outing's suggestion on the news part: "So how about letting the local newspapers in your served cities help with that?...I think that by combining the oversight of a newspaper's professional editors and reporters with the members of the Craigslist community, you'd end up with some real depth of community coverage at an acceptable (and possibly quite good) quality level."
Newmark has been doing his bit to fund and promote citizen journalism, with investment in projects such as NewAssignment, and his enthusiasm for ProPublica. He has previously said that Craigslist' contribution to newspapers woes are exaggerated, so not sure if he really cares beyond a point.
Pic courtesy David Sifry.
By Rafat Ali