Big newspapers won't - or can't - charge for online content

The current state of the print newspaper industry resembles what writer Mark Twain said about the weather: "Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it."

The complaints and musings have led to many loose and sweeping statements about print journalism -- much of them incorrect. The online medium is still too young to offer even some modest predictions -- so investors and readers need to approach these forecasts with a critical eye.

With the above as a backdrop, what can one say, definitively, as of May 2009 about the state of print? Well, general-audience, print metropolitan dailies are in serious trouble.