MIAMI (CBS4) – Major changes in American life have slammed the newspaper industry in recent years.  And today comes news that a major U.S. city will no longer have a daily newspaper.

The hundred and seventy-five-year-old New Orleans Times-Picayune, a paper that became internationally famous for its courageous reporting of Hurricane Katrina, has announced it will now only publish three days a week.

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That makes New Orleans the biggest U.S. city without a major daily paper.

Three sister publications in Alabama also announced today they were doing the same thing.

The New York Times is struggling and the company that owns the L.A. Times and the Chicago Tribune has spent years in Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

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The Internet has contributed to declining readership and advertising, especially the classified ads that were papers’ bread and butter.

Why should we care about newspapers going out of business or cutting back?

Local newspapers and TV news stations have been the conscience of our communities and the scourges of corrupt politicians.

Totalitarian governments survive because they don’t have a free press.

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Democracies need the transparency provided by the Fourth Estate to flourish.