By Jon Keller

BOSTON (CBS) – The news that financial pressures have forced the closure of the Boston Phoenix hits hard at a personal level.

Listen to Jon’s commentary:

In my four years as the political reporter there from 1989 to 1993, I worked alongside great writers and editors, all under the unflagging support and unparalleled freedom supplied by publisher Stephen Mindich. I loved every minute of it, and hearing of its demise is like learning your first real girlfriend has passed away.

But the end of the Boston Phoenix isn’t just a sob story of weepy baby-boomers mourning the demise of some outdated relic. Even if you never read the Phoenix, if you consider yourself a Bostonian, its loss affects you.

Diverse communities that thrive on the life of the mind need diverse voices that help create a thriving dialogue, and for better or worse, that is what the Phoenix has always delivered. Its death is one more loss of traction on the slippery slope toward a culture where 140-character tweets pass for commentary, and no one bothers to seek out unconventional wisdom or opinions contrary to their own.

In my time at the Phoenix, I wrote about law enforcement abuses, unscrupulous mortgage lenders, and a never-ending stream of duplicitous, dishonest and outright corrupt politicians. I’ve been lucky to work with great journalists before and since, but never with more pride than I took from being part of Boston’s alternative newspaper.

Hopefully, someone or something will fill the void the Phoenix leaves. All of us should shudder to consider the alternative.

You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. You can also watch Jon on WBZ-TV News.


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