Jack Shafer, in his latest media column for Slate, says the problem with newspapers isn't that they took to the Web too late --- it's that they took to it early and failed to reinvent it.
Shafer correctly points out that papers spawned sites a decade ago and more, have poured immense resources into the Web, but make all of their sites simply a repurposed ink-on-paper content platform, with all the same values and temperment. Their failure has been in not defining a new identity, he argues.
I'd argue back that, until recently, the tools for robust innovation (the social media tools in particular) weren't readily available. Give news organizations more time and they'll adopt them and adapt their digital enterprises. While it's true that too many papers made their sites --- and can still make their sites --- brochures for the print edition, many are developing more innovative ways of creating and distributing content. It's not time to conclude anything, despite the uneven results to date.