I shot freelance for a newspaper in Toronto during the 80s and 90s. And although the work was a lot of fun, I think its time is long over. Consider the adage from dead tree papers: If it bleeds it leads. How many different, artistic ways can you shoot the following, that hasn't been done a zillion times in the past:
1) Large or medium-sized structure fire--this was my specialty.
2) Personal injury accident.
3) Victim(s) being transported.
4) Reminder to set clocks ahead/back.
5) Look how Hot/Cold/Snowy/Icy the weather was yesterday!
6) Perp walk or subject under arrest.
7) Politician making a speech on in a media scrum.
8) Drug/weapons seizure evidence on the table.
9) Presentation of a giant cheque to a lottery winner or charitable
10) Devastation after a large natural disaster, governor/official doing official tour
11) Sad kid/parent after a bully stole their lunch money, bicycle or all the toys for Christmas presents at the poor house.
Now. Go fetch today's paper (good doggie!). How many of the above items do you see in the hard news section? Now factor this: If it's a major disaster, fire, accident, etc, the news editor will be fielding calls from hundreds of people with photos of the event. Probably some with pro-sumer levels of kit. If that isn't available they'll buy a wireservice image and run it. Everything else mentioned is shootable with a phonecam or a shirt-pocket cam, and the level of knowledge needed to shoot it is somewhere between "f/8-and-be-there," and "push-here-stupid."
Sports is an entirely different kettle of fish, and I don't know how they're going to handle Bulls/Black Hawks/Bears/Cubs/Sox games. Again, probably just buy freelancers' materials or stuff off the wires.
Gone are the days when a newspaper NEEDS actual photographs. Unless you're living under a rock the audience already knows what the governor looks like, what a perp-walk looks like, a building fire, a traffic accident or the President making a speech. We can get that anywhere. The hard news reporting is what I care about (not that there's all that much of it these days). Pretty pictures I can find online. They made the right call.