The general decline in journalism everywhere (not just in the sailing pubs) is directly linked to the race for short-term profits that now dominates most corporate publishers. Publishing has always been a business, but it used to be something else. Writers, editors, and more importantly the owners, used to actually believe in something more than just the dollar. Those days are now gone.
I am a 20+ year veteran of the freelance writing business. I've watched rates slide during my entire career. But it's not the fault of the Web, nor even those who steal my work rather than pay the sticker price. It is the fault of the owners who drive down freelance rates, who keep firing staff, and who happily sell their souls to advertisers if it means making their quarterly profit level. This keeps the shareholders happy, and their own bonuses coming, but it is a death-spiral for the publication itself.
Most readers can't articulate what good writing looks like, but as the quote goes, "I know what I like." Circulations have been dropping for years, even while profits remain strong (yes, the magazine and newspaper biz, at least in Canada, remains profitable). It's little wonder readers are abandoning mainstream publications, and turning to blogs, forums and social media.
It's a death-spiral, but owners don't seem to care. As long as next quarter's profits are good, they are happy to keep cutting holes in the boat.