Maybe I am wrong here, because I obviously use and enjoy Ancestry and dont mean to critize it, but I wish ancestry.com had more historical newspapers. I feel there is an easier way to speed up the process.
The reason why I think they do not have many newspapers online, and why they are very slow to being added, is because ancestry.com is trying to scan every newspaper AND digitize the text of each newspaper so the text is searchable. While having searchable newspaper text is very helpful for some people, I feel that it is not a necessity for most genealogists.
Genealogically wise, 80% of historical newspaper research is for obituaties, funeral notices, notices of marriage and marriage license issuance, and birth notices. NONE of these call for the newspaper to be text searchable, as most genealogist looking through old newspapers probably know the birth/marriage/death date of the person being searched for.
Maybe I am outreaching here, but why doesn't ancestry.com hire or send 50 people out to all 50 states State Libraries or Historical societies, and have them take digital images of each microfilm of each historical newspaper? Then have the tech people organise each paper by State, newspaper name, and issue year/month/day, and post them online. This would allow the majority of people on this site to find Obits up the wazzoo! What a great resource that would be!
Ancestry.com could forget the text-digitalization until all of the newspapers are online, THEN start digitizing them from the images that are already scanned (which I am sure is a long and tough process). Believe me, I have spent my fair share of time pooring over microfilmed newspaper, wishing it was indexed (in one case, to find a long lost front page article about my great grandfather), but I feel the digital indexing should be secondary to getting the microfilm scanned. It took a while (3 weeks at the Virginia State Library), but I found that needle-in-a-haystack article. If every historical newspaper were online on ancestry.com, people would NOT mind spending the same amount of time searching. But they can't, if it isn't online, you see?
It would be quite an undertaking, yes, but within a year or two, ancestry.com would blow EVERY other historical newspaper site out of the water, because it would have EVERYTHING. Having the information available and catalogued is much more important that having it easily searchable. Genealogy isn't easy, no matter how hard ancestry.com trys to make it.
Anyway, im rambling, but I hope I have made my point. Maybe I am wrong. I dont mean to offend anyone who works for Ancestry.com, as this is a great site. I just feel Ancestry spends too much time digitally (and manually)indexing stuff...and the time spent doing that would be better spent churning out documents so they are online, and user searchable (even if that user has to spend alot of time finding what he or she is looking for).