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Alameda: What is news?

With the dying newspaper industry (here, here, and here) being the discussion of the era, and Jon Stewart’s calling out of CNBC’s Jim Cramer being the discussion of the week, The Chronicle’s Phil Bronstein had this post Friday about how Jon Stewart is NOT the news.

Bronstein’s argument runs something along the lines of if Stewart is news then suddenly all news will be required to be funny. He writes, “Will Katie Couric be replaced by someone with a big red nose and floppy shoes?” Uh, who knows. But if that person is asking hard questions about such things as, for example, why no one was safe-guarding the public good while banks and bankers spun further and further out of control or what the heck happened in Iraq, then maybe the nose doesn’t matter.

The real deal is that—no matter what form it takes, be it blog, comedy show, newspaper article, or conversation—what is important to a democratic society is the willingness to ask hard questions, to do real research, and to find out what makes sense: the pursuit of truth. And no matter what Bronstein says, by that standard Stewart is one of the best things we’ve got going for news right now.