Everyone in the blogosphere (no, no, not the Blago-sphere) is talking about the newspaper death spiral this week, for some reason. Matthew Yglesias hosts one of the more interesting discussions, with a lot of talk about whether local newspapers could have used their clout in the 1990s to dominate the market for free classifieds before Craigslist came along. I just don't see how that could have happened -- classifieds were a giant source of revenue at that time, so it would have been like trying to convince Gary Barbera to get into the free car market. If some newspaper succeeded in becoming Craigslist before Craig had the idea...then what? The whole point of free classifieds is there's little money-making potential (some, but not much.) It still doesn't solve the problem of how to pay for a decent-sized local news gathering organization.