A newspaper rule of thumb used to be that 90% of wire copy was spiked. Dailies simply did not have the space, and supporting advertising, to justify running it. Also, if there was a choice of some national or international bright, filler or minor story, local news got the space first.
The vast majority of subscribers wanted and still wants to read about the people, politics and places they know. What now, when there are fewer editors and reporters? Even those dedicated to giving readers what they want are hard pressed to do so.
Those citizen-journalist projects seem to come at that problem in one way. To a lesser extent, aggregating and group blogs do some of that too. Of course, the local weeklies seem to be doing pretty well -- at least judging by their ad volume -- in backfilling for the dailies.
The rhetorical question of the moment is whether newspapers will grok blogs. That is not whether they understand the new media, but whether they can learn how to do them right themselves.
You can just imagine the publisher speaking to editor and managing editor. "These blogs are real popular, especially the political ones. Why don't we have blogs? They can't be too hard."
Not to pick on the Boston Globe, but to pick on it, it seems typical of medium to large city dailies. It has a bunch of not very good blogs by regular reporters and columnists.