If the only thing that newspapers are trying to do is survive as profit making businesses (and who can blame them) then maybe the Hail Mary to "digital first" is the way to go, but in the end journalism and its role as the watchdog is over.
The new model is only aimed at driving people to stop by and view the website, so news is generated that will bring the eyes there. That's understandable, but when "citizen journalists" and bloggers replace good old shoe leather government reporting the game is really over as far as journalism is concerned.
I'm a dinosaur, and I recognize I'm a dinosaur, but when the day-to-day (and expensive) business of watching over government is gone I think the Republic is in peril. Too dramatic, maybe, but the future doesn't look good.