Dan Walters

Dan Walters

By Dan Walters
dwalters@sacbee.com
Published: Friday, Mar. 22, 2013 – 12:00 am | Page 3A

The conviction of five former officials of the small Southern California city of Bell on corruption charges this week is a victory for governmental integrity.

However, it also affirmed the role that a free and vigorous press plays in policing that integrity, since the official investigation that resulted in the convictions stemmed directly from Los Angeles Times articles.

By the same token, the Legislature’s push to speed up processing of business paperwork by the secretary of state’s office stemmed from a Bee article that laid out unconscionable delays that discourage business investment.

And so forth.

It’s no secret that the Times, The Bee and other California newspapers have been hit hard by the worst recession since the Great Depression, as well as massive technological change. The Times’ parent company, in fact, just emerged from bankruptcy protection.

Nevertheless, they and other California newspapers continue to take their watchdog roles very seriously, committing reportorial time and other resources to probing increasingly complex political and governmental issues and telling the public what they find. And several new nonprofit news-gathering operations have emerged with the same goal.

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