Extra! Extra! Seattle loses a daily newspaper as of Wednesday!

With so many people freeloading their news online (ahem!), of course it had to happen in Seattle, a hive of American computing. On Tuesday, the final issue of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer will be published, and the paper will go web-only. It's the city's oldest newspaper, having started in the pioneer days of 1863.

To many people, that means they'll just have to find out online who made it through on American Idol this week.

To those of us who know how news is put together, though, the newspaper plague is alarming. Papers in American cities west of the Mississippi have been particularly hard hit by the times. Colorado lost its Rocky Mountain News, publishing since 1859, last month. The Tucson Citizen, which covered the shootout at the OK Corral, will die on March 21. And last week, the San Francisco Chronicle's workers accepted tough concessions in a last-ditch effort to keep their paper alive. Meanwhile, publishers of papers in Los Angeles, Chicago, and Philadelphia have all sought bankruptcy protection. Even National Public Radio has told its workers that they now have to get their news online.