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.
It might be inconvenient, but not terrible, if readers have to check in regularly with multiple Websites for what they used to be able to find in their local daily. I'm a Net geek, so going to my daily or weekly sites does not bother me. Yet, I know many who find doing that confusing or irritating enough not to bother.
Absent professional bloggers, far too many blog posts must be reactive. They generally aren't news per se, rather a comment on or modification of someone else's news. That would still be news to a reader who had not seen it on the wires or in a paper, but it does lead to the expectation that the blog would be a great primary source in general. More often, the blog's value come in analyzing the news or in combining several sources in one place.
There's nothing other than time and will preventing the few big blogs from becoming primary sources. Likewise, some of the smaller, narrow-interest ones could do there same where they focus. However, if they are unpaid writers -- students, homemakers or workers blogging as they can, largely from secondary sources -- that raises two questions. First, how complete, accurate and timely will their material be, and second, how long will they continue to do this for passion alone?
Similarly with citizen-journalist projects, we have to wonder how sustainable and how replicable these are. They look more promising, more like Johnny Appleseed efforts. Plus, right now it's largely grants or other subsidies, but it could become advertising or other regularly revenue.
At this point, it seems unreasonable to open the local daily and expect to find all the local news. Readers already have to accept that or find alternatives. This looks like it hasn't settled yet.