Because they're free online. And available from better papers.
What would I be willing to pay for, then?
Local news. The kind that is generated by a local reporter at the courthouse day after day who reads the sheets, calls the attorneys and parties, and tells about the dispute. The kind from the person who actually shows up at all those civic meetings where things are discussed (no, not just the "significant" ones -- all of them). The kind generated by reporters who saw a business moving and stopped in to find out why. The kind with an out of control letters to the editor section so I can find out more about what my neighbors think about things.
If you don't know that, you haven't been reading Howard Owens lately. But you should, even if he is in Rochester.