craigconnects: Connecting the World for the Common Good

Craig's Blog

New Poynter book re: journalism ethics

Hey, I'm working with Poynter to advance their efforts related to journalism ethics in the new digital world, and they've released a new book: The New Ethics of ISBNJournalism, that's the direct result of the Digital Ethics Symposium that I sponsored last October.

The book is co-edited by Poynter Senior Faculty Kelly McBride and Tom Rosenstiel, Executive Director of the American Press Institute.

As is described in the Poynter blog:

"…[the book] provides an evolved set of guidelines and principles for journalists, students, and mass communicators, with chapters contributed by 14 of media’s top thought leaders and practitioners.

The book examines the unique problems of searching for trust and building trust in the 21st century: Vetting and verifying information in the vast arena of social media; the effects of interactive social media on storytelling and news gathering; the contextual meaning of stories and the value of images; and the evolving role of a community of citizen journalists and individual documentarians in the production of news."

I really just want news I can trust.

Couple years ago, I blurted out that "the press should be the immune system of democracy." And I still believe that.

Turns out that what we have now are a lot of ethics codes and policies, but very little accountability. This is something I often discuss when I talk about trustworthy journalism in a fact-checking-free world.

I work with Jonathan Bernstein, of Bernstein Crisis Management, and he wrote an article about "The New Ethics of Journalism." Jonathan says:

"I have long advocated use of the SPJ’s ethics code in crisis management media relations, as leverage to persuade writers and editors to amend their copy or behavior when either appears to violate it. However, that code is a little antiquated. It doesn’t take into consideration the Internet’s immense impact on media relations of all kinds, traditional and social.

McBride and Rosenstiel’s new book finally does that."

Here are the book's "Guiding Principles for Journalists," which in the book are further developed to include specific ethics practices:

  1. Seek truth, and report it as fully as possible.
  2. Be transparent.
  3. Engage community as an end, rather than as a means.

Folks, any news outlet that wants to succeed must be trustworthy, that is, accountable. I feel that's required for their survival, and for national survival. More to come…




Startups, marriage, and other things I did after 35

Hey, I'm on Quora and I noticed that someone asked:

What do people in Silicon Valley plan to do once they hit 35 and are officially over the hill?

Since life in Silicon Valley ends at 35 unless you hit it big or move up in management (and simple logic tells you that most won't), I'm curious what people younger than this think they'll be doing at that age.

Well, I started craigslist when I was 42… Folks seemed to really like my answer, or were just surprised by it. To my surprise, the response has received 82K views, 3,200 upvotes, and counting.


On that note, I decided to write something regarding the onset of my sunset years…

  • I started craigslist in the last blush of my youth. Experience counts folks. I learned a lot in my other roles in other jobs and I brought that with me to craigslist.
  • My involvement in craigslist management ended well over ten years ago. I gave up any management role, but I'm committed to customer service. I do enough real customer service to maintain my emotional investment in the CL and grassroots community.
  • Every day customer service reminds me that we help millions of people put food on the table.
  • I did some work with nonprofits before 35, but didn't formalize it until I began craigconnects in 2011.
  • Things are starting to not work, as in, my body just isn't as young as I want it to be; am I right, guys?*

*Note: when I say "guys" I almost always mean "people", but in this case I mean "male humans of a certain age."

  • I've really accepted what I am, a nerd, modified by customer service.
  • Somehow I'm still surprised, people are asking questions about what they could easily look up.
  • …well, some of us waited til after 35 to get married.


Top 10 Women in Tech Orgs


Hey folks, over the past twenty-seven years I've been quietly supporting women's groups, just proceeding on what feels like the right thing to do.

Since I know something about computers and a little about small business, my focus has been on helping girls and women in technology as much as I'm able.

I've compiled a list of some of the Top 10 Women in Tech orgs (in no particular order) for you to check out:

  1.  Anita Borg Institute – Anita Borg Institute seeks to increase the impact of women on all aspects of technology, and increase the positive impact of technology on the world’s women.anita borg
  2.  Black Girls Code - Black Girls Code provides young and pre-teen girls of color opportunities to learn in-demand skills in technology and computer programming at a time when they are naturally thinking about what they want to be when they grow up.blackgirlscode
  3.  DC Web Women - DC Web Women promotes women in Web-related careers. DCWW is one of the premier technology organizations located in the Washington metropolitan area. In addition to their many tech seminars, panels, and networking events, DCWW also provides career development classes and workshops.
  4. Girls In Tech - ‘Girls in Tech’ (GIT) is a global organization focused on the engagement, education and empowerment of influential women in technology. As women with the capacity to inspire and lead, it’s GIT's desire to sustain an organization that focuses on the promotion, growth and success of entrepreneurial and innovative women in the technology space.girlsintech
  5.  Girls Who Code - Girls Who Code works to educate, inspire, and equip young women with the skills and resources to pursue academic and career opportunities in computing fields. Girls Who Code’s vision is to reach gender parity in computing fields. GWC believe this is paramount to ensure the economic prosperity of women, families, and communities across the globe, and to equip citizens with the 21st century tools for innovation and social change. They believe that more girls exposed to computer science at a young age will lead to more women working in the technology and engineering fields.
  6.  Girl Develop It - Girl Develop It is an international organization, certified by the Board of Education, that exists to provide affordable and accessible programs to women who want to learn software development through mentorship and hands-on instruction. By teaching women around the world from diverse backgrounds to learn software development, Girl Develop It can help women improve their careers and confidence in their everyday lives.girldevit
  7.  National Center for Women & Information Technology – NCWIT works to correct the imbalance of gender diversity in technology and computing because gender diversity positively correlates with a larger workforce, better innovation, and increased business performance. Increasing the number of women in technology and computing also has the potential to improve the design of products and services to better serve a more diverse population, and increase economic and social well-being by providing more women with stable and lucrative careers.
  8.  Women In Technology International - WITI's mission is to empower women worldwide to achieve unimagined possibilities and transformations through technology, leadership and economic prosperity.
  9.  Women Who Tech - Women Who Tech is a telesummit that brings together talented and renowned women breaking new ground in technology who use their tech savvy skills to transform the world and inspire change. Women Who Tech provides a supportive network for the vibrant and thriving community of women in technology professions by giving women an open platform to share their talents, experiences, and insights.womenwhotech
  10. Women 2.0 – Women 2.0 is a media company at the intersection of women, entrepreneurship and technology. Women 2.0 offers content, community and conferences for aspiring and current innovators in technology. Women 2.0 is not your typical media company, they're constantly driven by the needs of the incredible community. Women 2.0's mission is to increase the number of female founders of technology startups with inspiration, information and mentorship. All our programs are open to men and women.

I'm always on the look out for more women in tech orgs, so feel free to recommend others that you know of in the comments.

The nerd-in-residence

The Department of Veterans Affairs has named me a "nerd-in-residence." You can find more under VA team bios > Craig Newmark.

I really am a nerd, old-school, wore a plastic pocket protector, and glasses taped together, in the early sixties. I can now simulate social behavior for an hour, two hours tops, but then I start getting cranky. nerd-4

Far as my team's concerned, this makes me the biggest nerd in the USA…

maybe the world.

(As you see, I'm comfortable being a nerd, and also, I might have a sense of humor. I don't seem to be too concerned with dignity.)

On the other hand, I'm a customer service rep for craigslist, have been for more than eighteen years, and that changes humans. The stuff I do, I can see we help people put food on the table, and that matters.

The job also reminds me that crap rolls downhill, aimed at people with jobs that can be grinding and thankless. For example, I've first-hand seen that thousands of frontline VA people are doing everything in their power to do right by Vets, but government employees are being demonized or neglected.

(Dilbert is an excellent reference work regarding this. I've always resisted despair, that's Wally; I'm Dilbert.)

Ever since connecting with the Iraq & Afghanistan Veterans of America I've been getting more and more involved with military family and veterans' efforts.

The Department of Veterans Affairs is doing some really good stuff for vets that no one hears about, catching up since 2009. I've helped, in a very minor way for several years, now I gotta do more, for VA, military families, and vets.

Anyway, a nerd's gotta do what a nerd's gotta do.

Military Spouse Unemployment Backgrounder: Defining the Problem

Hey, I was talking with Blue Star Families (BSF) last month, and one of our big topics of conversation was the crises of military spouse unemployment. This is a really big deal, and something that Blue Star Families' identified through their annual survey.

Like lots of American families, lots of military families need two earners for financial stability and to achieve their families goals.  The crises of spouse unemployment really undermines our population, especially when they're most vulnerable – during transition, if a service member wants to go back to school, in case of injury or PTSD, etc.  BSF really has their feet on the ground working hard to craft solutions, and they've outlined some of the main concerns below.


Unemployment rate for military spouses is many times higher than US average.

  • Our country should be proud of the robust programs and public-private partnerships that have successfully lowered the veteran unemployment rate in recent years; however, joblessness among the spouses of active duty service members has remained alarmingly high and largely unnoticed: 3-4 times the rate of most vets and of the general public.
  • Through over a decade of war military spouses have sacrificed and supported the service member and our country, now it’s time to help them find jobs.
    The Blue Star Families 2013 survey showed that more than half of the spouses who are not working want to be working now.

Military spouses want and need unemployment but can’t find it.

  • Addressing the military spouse unemployment problem isn’t just the right thing to do for military spouses who have also sacrificed during 12 years of war—it’s also the smart thing to do.  RAND research has found military spouse employment to be an essential source of income for most military families.
  • 91,000 or 1 in 4 military spouses who are actively looking for work are unable to find it—that translates into a 26% unemployment rate among military spouses.

Military spouses experience the same career challenges as their civilian counterparts; however, they also face additional obstacles to pursuing employment that are specific to the military lifestyle.

  • Military families move every 2-4 years and will reside in 8-12 different locations during a typical 20 year career.
  • Many military bases are located in remote locations, removed from many opportunities for traditional career employment.

When military spouses are able to find a job, they work fewer hours and for less pay than individuals with similar educations, experience, and marital status.

  • Military spouses earn 25% less than comparable individuals not married to service members.
  • Implications Include National Security and Stalled Demobilization/Reintegration Efforts.

Military spouse unemployment threatens the financial well-being and quality of life of military families, thus impacting national military retention and readiness.

  • Spouse employment is correlated with satisfaction with a military lifestyle and research suggests that spousal satisfaction is the most significant determinant in whether a service member will continue a military career.
  • The current US draw-down means over 100,000 military members will have made a transition out of the military within a few years.  Employed spouses facilitate the successful transition of service members to civilian life by providing a steady source of income while veteran is searching for a civilian job.

As in the civilian world, one (military or otherwise) salary alone does not usually sustain families and most military families want to be dual income families.

  • Causes are varied, but predominantly relate to job market alignment and poor employer understanding of the military family lifestyle.

A military family lifestyle means military spouses face additional challenges to employment.

  • Job market alignment challenges arising from frequent geographic re-locations, prolonged family separations and unpredictable work hours represent significant challenges to consistent employment and career growth for military spouses.

Many employers harbor erroneous conceptions or poor understanding of military spouses.

  • Military spouse resumes may have employment gaps or short periods of employment that suggest instability on unreliability; rather, it reflects military spouses’ resiliency, resourcefulness and commitment to supporting their active duty spouse and the needs of our country.
  • Solutions require broadly increasing awareness of the problem and connecting employers and military spouses to existing nonprofit and government initiatives.

Broader societal and employer awareness.

  • The Hiring our Heroes (HOH) program (sponsored by the US Chamber of Commerce) holds military spouse hiring fairs at major US bases throughout the country, bringing corporate employers to military spouse communities.  Blue Star Families is honored to partner with Hiring our Heroes to make spouse hiring fairs a success.  HOH features the spouse’s guide to employment, the Blue Star Spouse Employment Toolkit, which BSF developed to help spouses translate significant volunteer experience into resume-ready information.

Developing quality portable and work-from-home positions for military spouses that enable employment continuity and career advancement.

  • Blue Star Jobs is Blue Star Families solution to remote locations, frequent moves, and heightened care-giving responsibilities.  It offers employers the opportunity to search and hire military spouses for work-at-home positions through a joint initiative with an on-line contract-job platform,  Through Blue Star Jobs, military spouses can find career-quality contractor work they can do at home, in the hours they want to work, and have their jobs move with them when it is time to change duty stations.

Employment solutions must meet spouses where they are and be built into existing military family life structures rather than asking spouses to fit into or follow conventional/civilian employment advice.

Blue Star Networks enable spouses to establish professional networks in the most common military spouse professions, to find local information about the job market in an upcoming duty station, and obtain advice and tips about complying with new state licensing requirements. Blue Star Networks are run via Facebook in order to provide the dynamic and easily accessible delivery platform that makes it easy for military spouses to stay current on changing employment information and professional resources.

In addition, Blue Star Families has a number of education related programs to help get military spouses career-ready.


To get more involved, folks, you can visit the Blue Star Family website, follow them on Twitter, or chat with them on Facebook.