Once again here’s my surefire plan for saving daily papers: scare away the old folks once and for all. Those readers are killing you. Go tab, charge a lot more for home delivery, offer papers for free in boxes downtown, put “fuck” in a headline on the front page above the fold (if you haven’t gone tab), identify with the cities you’re freakin’ named for (and the not the freakin’ suburb your publisher lives in), and stop swimming with one anvil tucked under your left arm (“family newspaper”) and another tucked under your right (“objectivity”). Papers are for adults, not children, and mincing around about profanity turns off adult readers; people prefer openly biased media because letting your bias hang out there is, at least, honest; and, once again, catering to old timers and making sure there’s nothing in your paper that can’t be read to a six year-old at bedtime turns off adult readers.
And do all this now.
I’d add to that: think of your reporters as writers. And as such, allow your writers to express their personalities in their writing. Readers want to trust your reporters, but it’s much easier to develop that sort of personal relationship with a real person than it is with a faceless, disembodied byline.