On "Journalistic Excellence"

These stories are interesting, seeing that they more or less state outright that Knight Ridder’s corporate charter could significantly disadvantage bidders that don’t meet its standards of “journalistic excellence.” (Said stories are both written by the San Jose Mercury News’ Pete Carey, a reporter at Knight Ridder’s flagship who’s consistently broken news on sale developments.)

The term “journalistic excellence” is, of course, incredibly elastic and arguably meaningless. Today Knight Ridder’s corporate management is better known for cost-cutting than Pulitzers, and you don’t have to look hard to find lengthy screeds decrying how Knight Ridder papers are getting worse and worse. Disclaimer: It is very rare that journalists, particularly those at journalism reviews or at alternative urban weeklies, write stores about how good their local newspaper is.

Should that provision be enforceable, though, it it puts a finger on the scales in favor of a bid like, oh, this.

If such a bid were to actually happen, that is.

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