With the sale of 12 Knight Ridder papers (including the Mercury News and Contra Costa Times) taking longer than expected, maybe it’s time to start advertising for buyers. That’s the idea of Robert G. Kaiser (pictured), an associate editor of The Washington Post and co-author of “The News About the News: American Journalism in Peril.” Kaiser contends that it is important who owns a newspaper — and that readers who have lived in different cities can tell whether a newspaper owner tries to “enhance life or simply milk it.” Kaiser quotes SF Giants owner and former Safeway CEO Peter Magowan as saying: “I’ve had a chance to move around and live in lots of places; some had good papers, some bad … As a citizen I depend on that paper. If it is a good paper it makes that community a much better, nicer place to live.” Kaiser said an ad for the KR papers should remind potential owners of the rewards of being a newspaper proprietor: “A newspaper with smart reporters and editors and a public-spirited owner can improve its community, raise the quality of its public and private institutions and enhance the lives of its citizens in countless ways. A good newspaper holds powerful people accountable for the way they use their power. The paper can unify a community, helping its residents understand how different segments of the population live, work, entertain themselves and more.”

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