When editors and politicians are customer-service representatives

When editors and politicians are customer-service representatives

: I spent the afternoon yesterday with Craig Newmark, always a delightful trip. And during various conversations, he unfailingly makes reference to customer service. People usually react as to a punchline when the founder of the incredibly successful Craigslist says he is founder and customer service representative. But for Craig, it’s not a joke. It’s a creed.

Rory O’Connor does a great job capturing that view from Craig’s Q&A at the Personal Democracy Forum:

Whatís behind its amazing, word-of-mouth success? ìWe provide a simple and effective community service,î explains Newmark. ìWe are persistent about basic values, and establishing a culture, systems and structures of trust and goodwill.î

Sounds simple enough. So why isnít there a ìCraigslist for Politicsî yet? According to Newmark, itís because thereís a lack of trust in our political system. ìAt Craigslist, we view customer service as a high expression of moral values,î he noted. ìPeople are looking for institutions that reflect their values. Our political parties are not service organizations.î

Of late, Newmark added, he has been looking into media rather than politics. ìNews operations must also deal with issues of morals and trust,î he said. ìWe need better, more moral and trustworthy information.î

So what would a Craigslist for news be? It would be about trust. It would be about service.