People wanted better navigation, more indexes, more summaries, less pictures, and more content. On the whole they aren’t ignorant of the news, they simply get their news from other places. RSS, news readers, and syndication are mentioned as contributing factors.
I have to think that simple physical factors are involved here as well. Although we still receive and read the Seattle Times in hard copy, that huge form factor is an ergonomic disaster. It takes up way too much space and it is way too hard to read. As I get older I find that reading the paper without constant shuffling is a big pain.