The Chicago Tribune's parent company, Tribune Co., has filed for bankruptcy. It's just chapter 11, but I can't remember the last time a "reorganization" actually saved a company. This just puts off the inevitable for a while.
Smaller papers with small circulations actually seem to be a little steadier than the big guys these days. I think that the local markets need advertisers more than the bigger, national advertisers who have other ad media at their disposal. Small local stores know they can get a lot of attention in their local paper but they may not have the budget for commercials and they may not have a place to put Internet ads that will get a lot of local traffic.
The big guys are apparently fleeing newspaper advertising, but magazine advertising is way down too. So where are these guys advertising? My guess is online. Web ad sales are still increasing, according to the stats that I saw a couple of weeks ago. That's good news for freelance writers who need that revenue and need their clients to keep making revenue.
What sucks is that I keep the idea of going back to newspapers in the back of my mind, holding it there as a safety zone in case I start having trouble getting freelance work or just start to hate it. I don't think that going back to print news is really a viable safety net anymore. I'm guessing that those still in print news probably hold freelancing in mind as their safety net.