Search Engine Journal has a very good post about how local newspapers–and in fact, the newspaper business as a whole–can only benefit from harnessing SEO for their websites.
This article has some details that will help any blog owner, in whatever industry, make their site more visible to search engines and therefore visitors, while also creating a better user experience.
It makes no sense to me why a newspaper would not want to optimize search to each and every article the company owns rights to, even if only the first few paragraphs along with an opportunity to subscribe or pay too read the article.
Why not create a free trial to encourage sign-ups?
Why not flood search engines with all the thousands of archived articles to establish more of a hold on search engine audiences?