As you probably know by now, paywalls are coming to the New York Times and have already been installed for Gannett papers like the Dallas Morning News. Part of the problem newspapers are facing is they continue to produce a legacy product (print) while also producing an online product that doesn’t produce as much revenue as did print. How to solve the problem is anyone’s guess, but in this Gigom article, the suggestion is incremental changes are not the way to go. In another piece, Gigom suggests newspapers need to be “of the web, not just on the web.” You might read those pieces as you consider the evolving (destabilized) world you are entering.
Another piece you might look at is on the Atlantic site, “How to love the (shallow, divisive, unreliable) new media,” by James Fallows. It may be difficult for members of this class because because most are digital natives with little or no experience with the pre-Internet journalistic eco-system, but consider whether you agree or disagree with the notion that news is getting worse.