I see the BBC has been discussing the future of the regional and local press.
They are a bit slow off the mark. Others have been examining this issue for a while. Steve Rubel wrote about this a whole year ago! Craig McGinty also examined this topic back in May 2006.
I totally agree with Rubel and McGinty that local media need to engage their readership to survive. In my county, the Chester Chronicle (a weekly appearing on Fridays) has finally got round to launching new sites. Firstly, the main news site has been revamped, offering updates on a regular basis instead just on publication day. The Chronicle has also launched a very useful What's On guide, which will surely earn its keep. The news site appears to be offering readers the opportunity to comment on stories as they are published.