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Supporting some nonprofits, and some not, here's the deal

For well over ten years, a whole bunch of nonprofit orgs (NPOs) have asked me for assistance, and I think I've gone way above and beyond to help as much as I could.

The vehicle for all that is now craigconnects.org, where I support some causes for the short term, while learning how to do it way, way better with a twenty-year horizon.

I've chosen a range of causes that feel right to me, they resonate for me at a gut level. Military families and veterans efforts feel right, so does the effort to help restore trustworthiness to journalism.

altruism2-meme

One way that I validate my gut reaction about a NPO is through good orgs like Charity Navigator, Guidestar, Center for Investigative Reporting, and GreatNonprofits. They help me find good, effective nonprofits. When they talk about America's 50 Worst Charities or rate how NPOs are doing, I pay attention.

If I believe in a cause enough, it becomes a craigconnects focus, and my team and I locate NPOs who are really good at helping, at "moving the needle," and support them.

Also, I'll support NPOs that are effective and do things that I believe in, with no specific pattern.

The danger with going with my gut is that we've learned, the hard way, that some NPOs are really good at telling a really good, heart-rending story. Turns out that they aren't really good at helping anyone who needs help. Cash sent to them winds up in some briefly attention-getting awareness raising, something normally useful, and in salaries and perks. Usually, an NPO gets attention via getting real results, but the kind I'm talking about, they get attention, and hope that no one checks if they get anything done.

NPOs want help from me in social media, both in consulting mode and in using social media to their benefit. I'm okay with both. Even a nerd can get to be good at all this, though I'll never be good as a natural.

For more, please check out craigconnects.org, check out [connect with Craig], that's a start, and I really appreciate it.

Thanks!

 

Finding accurate reporting about gov't shutdown

(this relates to efforts to find news I can trust)

These days, I rely heavily on media ethics professionals like the folks at Poynter Institute:

ISBN

Poynter's new book re: journalism ethics

"Don’t call it an impasse, stalemate, or standoff."

The deal is that the accurate reporting on the standoff is hard to find, but it reflects importantly on the "how do I find news I can trust" issue.

Specifically, this is about "false equivalence," the tendency to fake journalistic objectivity by presenting two sides as equal when the facts compel a different conclusion:

"'Specificity is the way to counter false equivalence,' Adair said.

Reporters covering the shutdown must competently describe how it happened. Using vague throwaway terms is misleading, inaccurate and undermines the core journalistic value of seeking the truth."

The good folks at Poynter point to really good reporting going in depth:

"To suggest that this current government shutdown is an example of Republicans and Democrats simply unable to reconcile their differences is to ignore the facts of how budget appropriation bills are passed.

Dan Froomkin points this out in an opinion piece for Al Jazeera. James Fallows calls it out in The Atlantic. And Greg Mitchell screams about it in the The Nation."

Okay, it's important to include an update from Jon Stewart: "If President Obama can make a deal with the most intransigent mullahs in the world but not with House Republicans, maybe he is not the problem."

 

Remember, I speak as a news consumer, I don't want to "fix the news," that's up to the professionals.

I say this all the time, I want news I can trust. I know this is not a simple problem. But it starts with journalists using their expertise and authority to accurately describe what is happening, rather than pulling their punches (or mincing their words) in order to appease a political faction.

 

Government Shutdown Resources for Vets & Milfams

Hey folks, with the government shutdown happening I felt it was real important to share resources for military families and veterans.

We'll try to keep it current.

If you have resources that you'd like to share, please note them in the comments. As we get new resources, we'll update this post.

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.

MisterEd

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.