Strib's days numbered?

Some more grim news-related news via a report released yesterday by Fitch Ratings.

According to the Chicago-based credit ratings firm, "More newspapers and newspaper groups will default, be shut down and be liquidated in 2009 and several cities could go without a daily print newspaper by 2010."

Which would put the Strib right on ahead of schedule, if the paper's internal "painful cuts a-comin" memo circulated last month is any indication. (As for us: we'll be fine. Right, guys? Right? [eerie silence])

While prospects are hideous for media across the board, the report predicts newspapers will be especially hard-hit, as revenue growth will wallow in the red for "the foreseeable future."

It's hard to imagine Minneapolis without a flagship daily, what with our notorious text-lust and high level of civic involvement. And we're one of the few American metros with two competing dailies. So conceivably the PiPress could pick up the slack should this doom-and-gloom conjecture come to pass. Or maybe this will all be rendered moot after the dollar collapses and we find ourselves eating one other on the street-- which would be doubly regrettable, since there would be a lot of fascinating stories to come out of such a scenario.

Frankly, we're more interested to know what would become of our favorite punching bag, the endearingly deluded conservative columnist Katherine Kersten. Any bets?