There's some sobering news from the media that deliver the local news - Northern Echo editor Pete Barron has spelled out how difficult things are for local and regional papers in his blog and in his printed comment piece today.
And there is precious little individual consumers can do about it - as Pete spells out, regional papers are trapped between the Scylla of falling advertising revenues and (to a lesser extent) the Charybdis of the internet. Plummeting income is placing even the most well-established titles in danger.
In these grisly times, the Echo is having to lay off 17 members of its editorial staff, and close district offices in Barnard Castle, Redcar, Richmond and Stockton.
One would hope that the Echo is better able to weather these storms - after all, it has an exemplary track record as a campaigning paper, very far from the tabloid sleaze merchants which dominate some other areas. Pete is more thanm simply a local editor, but someone who has thrown himself enthusiastically into a myriad of local causes. For all that Darlington councillors (on both sides) can mutter about some perceived instance of bias, we are very fortunate to have a paper that takes accuracy and a non-partisan approach to the news so seriously.
And although sometimes I end up gurning at the breakfast table at some of his comments, there's no doubt that columnists like Mike Amos add to the colour of the area.
Yet ultimately the fate of papers like the Echo or the D & S Times won't be decided in Darlington, but many miles away. The Northern Echo is part of the Newsquest organisation, whose parent group is based thousands of miles away in the US. Likewise, the Sunderland and Hartlepool Echos are owned by a Scottish company. Ultimately, no amount of local sentiment or decades of service will sway the distant bean counters.
Let's hope that the Government's fiscal stimulus to the economy today provides some relief for these key local enterprises.