Sadly, I think most newspaper's are going to end up like the dodo bird and the passenger pigeon. The Syracuse Post-Standard, which is a pretty decent paper, is cutting back production to 3 or 4 days a week, but online versions will be available every day. It makes business sense, but just another way technology is changing society. Newspapers did that to town criers before this. I don't like reading the news online. I like to actually hold the paper in my hands and read it.
As for the brutal front page news, it is what sells papers. Sex and violence.
The paper in my town is horrendous, they continue to ignore problems that would make the town seem "less desirable." ie. drugs and violence. Too many people ignoring it now and it will become a much bigger problem. I think the tourism board must edit the paper, because everything seems so rosy, when it is not.
A drink a day keeps the shrink away - Ed Abbey