"The most immediate impact, and the one that's causing so many layoffs, is that the newspaper industry is very dependent on classified advertising," said Morton. "Since the middle of last year, the three major sources of classified advertising - automotive, real estate and job formations - have themselves been in a tail spin and, consequently, so is classified advertising."
Hempstead said his legal action was born out of "frustration with what's happening within the newspaper industry." He said he wanted to make a point, especially since he still has friends employed by newspapers.
"Someone has to bring some common sense to the industry," said Hempstead, who added that he would drop the suit if The McClatchy Co. put him on its board of directors. "[Newspapers] have to start thinking they have to do more than cut jobs and the quality of the product."
The publisher of The News & Observer, Orage Quarles, dismissed the validity of the lawsuit.
"My response is pretty simple," Quarles said in an e-mail to ABC News. "We think it's a frivolous lawsuit and believe the judge will see it that way too."
Since Hempstead is not a litigation attorney, he is currently looking for legal representation to take his case forward. He said he welcomes other unhappy newspaper subscribers to join him in his fight.