The future of democracy depends on newspapers, and “The greatest threat to democracy is in the small towns and cities of America,” the top news executive of one of the country's largest newspaper chains said Saturday in accepting the Society of Professional Journalists’ top award.

William Ketter, CNHI’s senior vice president for news, was awarded the Wells Key for service to SPJ, of which he has been a member for 62 years, since he was a student at the University of North Dakota.

“Newspapers and democracy go hand in glove,” said Ketter, who guided the Lawrence Eagle-Tribune of Massachusetts to the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for breaking news reporting and was president of the American Society of Newspaper Editors in 1995.

Read the full article about rural newspapers by Al Cross at The Rural Blog.