We need the established press to not just aid this effort but to lead it. The marriage of all this connectivity with an activist mission of public-service journalism could cut through the layers of banality that clog not just the mainstream media but also the rest of our sprawling information environment. Such a marriage could organize and lead the kind of critical culture that Berman and Carey sought. It could begin to establish a public agenda that reflects the struggle over how America should live—over what America means—in this new century.

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Brent Cunningham is CJR’s managing editor.