Craig Newmark, founder of Craiglist, says that while his online classified giant is draining ad funds from newspapers, he's ready to offer some help. "I'd be willing to fund some investigative reporting," he told us in a meeting this afternoon. Would the stories be placed on blogs, or on Craigslist, or elsewhere? Newmark says the placement doesn't matter, as long as the work is done.
The trouble is that newspapers, which traditionally do local investigative reporting, are bleeding ad revenue as advertisers move online to Craigslist, Monster.com, and various auto and real estate sites. Newmark say he plans to get involved in citizen journalism projects, but he doesn't mention specifics. "Dan [Gillmor] and Jeff [Jarvis] know a lot more than I do about these things," he says. What's keeping Newmark busy now? Organizing the users of Craigslist to fight online scammers.