Yes, it’s easy to romanticize the notion of deliberative democracy. But, then, perhaps now is a time when we need to romanticize it. “Democracy is a device that ensures we shall be governed no better than we deserve,” the Bernard Shaw line goes. The same may be said of the news.

For a list of suggestions for further reading, click here. For Justin Peters’s companion piece on the uses and purposes of the Internet, click here. To read a conversation between Garber and Peters on the topics covered in their essays, click here.

Megan Garber is an assistant editor at the Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard University. She was formerly a CJR staff writer.