Saturday, March 14, 2009

Is democracy written in disappearing ink?

If journalism is failing here, in one of the United States' most engaged and educated constituencies, it is an ominous sign. For more than a century, newspapers have functioned as a civic conscience, instrumental in promoting democratic ideals, whether by checking corruption, fostering accountability or simply informing the public.

The question posed by the Chronicle's potential demise isn't merely whether the quality of journalism will erode in lockstep with the print industry, but whether the bevy of online surrogates that have sprung up can muster the resources and the reach to carry on that tradition.

And for all of that, Phil Bronstein, sipping his tea at the Blue Bottle, is willing to shoulder the blame. At least some of it.

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