NEWSPAPER DEATH SPIRAL: Ryan Chittum in the Columbia Journalism Review openly uses those words to describe the recent huge circulation declines of the top 25 major papers, and attributes the Wall Street Journal‘s 1% increase — the lone exception — to the fact that the Journal charges for access to its Web site. Chittum’s recommendation to other papers? Charge for Web access too. Brilliant idea — sure to increase readership all around! Sure, that is, to increase readership for alternative media not controlled by the billionaire media elite — and that is a good thing.