I don’t think newspapers charging for online content (apart from high value, niche content) makes any sense other than as a means to try and preserve the print product as it continues to decline, but this in turn would hinder any online potential by limiting a growing audience.
Great as a short-term fix, like stripping your resources and culling staff to ride out a recession, but newspaper publishers need to start biting some bullets and set more forward-thinking objectives.
The online and mobile markets are still growing and expanding as they innovate and mature, but traditional newspaper businesses need to remember the audience has control outside of print, we need to give them what they want, where and when they want it.
We may have got away with just regurgitating print content 5 years ago, now its a blinkered and shallow approach to the using the web. Tools and online services mean creating, sharing and disseminating content is easier than ever.