Although virtually every big newspaper company has suffered major layoffs, declining stock prices, and general existential malaise for the past several years, the last one to actually declare bankruptcy was Tribune Co., which was actively destroyed by a gnomish billionaire's arrogance and incompetence. Well, good news, Tribune: you have company!

Lee Enterprises, publisher of 48 papers across the country (most in small and medium-sized cities) including the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, is bankrupt. But hey, with "liabilities of $994.5 million and assets of $1.15 billion" they should come out of it just fine. Except for the long-term secular decline of their dying industry.

2012 will be a dark, dark year for newspapers, the worst since the depths of the recession. You heard it here first!

[Thomson Reuters]