The Cincinnati Post

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Cincinnati Post.png Kentucky Post.png
The Cincinnati Post, Farewell Edition.jpg
"Farewell Edition" (last issue) of the Post
Type Defunct
Format Broadsheet
Owner(s) E. W. Scripps Company
(Scripps-Howard Newspapers)
Editor Mike Philipps
Staff writers 52[1][2]
Founded January 3, 1881
Language English
Ceased publication December 31, 2007
Headquarters 125 East Court St.
Cincinnati, Ohio 45202
United States
Circulation 27,000 (2007)[2]
OCLC number 51645668
Official website

The Cincinnati Post was an afternoon daily newspaper published by the E. W. Scripps Company in Cincinnati, Ohio, United States. It was distributed in Northern Kentucky as The Kentucky Post. For much of its history, the Post was the most widely read paper in the Cincinnati area. Its readership was concentrated on the West Side of Cincinnati and in Northern Kentucky. In keeping with Scripps tradition, it published every day excluding Sundays.[3]

The Post began publishing in 1881 and launched its Northern Kentucky edition in 1890. It acquired The Cincinnati Times-Star in 1958. The Post ceased publication at the end of 2007, after 30 years in a joint operating agreement with The Cincinnati Enquirer.

The Post was known for its local investigative journalism.[4] In its heyday, it had a liberal, working class reputation compared to the Times-Star and Enquirer.[3] However, from the 1980s, the paper usually took a conservative editorial stance.


The city copy desk in 1910

The Post began on January 3, 1881, as the Penny Paper,[5] published by Walter and Albert Wellman from a job office on Home Street. Weeks later, they took an investment from James E. Scripps and half-brother Edward Willis Scripps.[6] In October, Walter Wellman was framed for blackmail in retaliation for exposés of policy racketeers and the police.[7] Wellman fled to Kentucky, leaving the Scripps brothers in charge of the paper's operations.[6] The Cincinnati Enquirer called the Penny Paper "a fair success" in its first year, estimating the upstart's circulation at about 6,000, fifth in a market served by seven papers in English and five in German.[8][9]

In 1883, the paper was renamed the The Penny Post and the Scripps family assumed full ownership of the company, with E. W. having a controlling interest.[6][4] In 1890, it was once again renamed to The Cincinnati Post. A companion paper, The Kentucky Post, debuted with increased coverage of Cincinnati's suburbs across the Ohio River.[1]


The October 23, 1905, issue of the Post reprinted a speech by War Secretary William Howard Taft attacking Boss Cox.

In the late 19th century and early 20th century, the Post led the charge against bossism. It uncovered graft associated with political boss Tom Campbell of Covington in 1883 and with George B. Cox of Cincinnati in 1904 and 1905.[1] In 1924, the Post was the only Cincinnati daily that endorsed a new municipal charter based on the council–manager system, nonpartisan elections, and proportional representation. The enactment of this charter the following year propelled the Charter Committee to power and led to the demise of political machines in Cincinnati.[3]

In 1956, parent company Scripps-Howard Newspapers purchased a controlling interest in The Cincinnati Enquirer, Cincinnati's remaining morning daily. Then, on August 3, 1958, Scripps also acquired The Cincinnati Times-Star, folding the afternoon paper into the Post, and moved the Post into the Cincinnati Times-Star Building.[10] The combined paper would be published under the name The Cincinnati Post and Times-Star until December 31, 1974, when it reverted to The Cincinnati Post.[11]

Post circulation peaked at 275,000 in 1961.[2] In 1968, the Post had 50,000 more daily subscriptions than the Enquirer.[12]

With the Times-Star and Enquirer acquisitions, the Scripps family owned all of Cincinnati's dailies, along with WCPO-TV,[13] which consistently led local television ratings with Al Schottelkotte's news reports.[14] The E. W. Scripps Company kept the Enquirer separate from its other properties, even omitting the Scripps lighthouse logo from the Enquirer's masthead. Nevertheless, the United States Department of Justice filed an antitrust suit against the company in 1964.[15] In 1968, Scripps entered into a consent decree to sell the Enquirer. It was sold to Carl Lindner, Jr.'s American Financial Corporation on February 20, 1971.[16]

Joint operating agreement[edit]

The Post published from the Times-Star Building from 1958 to 1984.[11] American Financial, the Enquirer's corporate parent, purchased the building in 1975.[12]

On September 22, 1977, the Post signed a joint operating agreement (JOA) with The Cincinnati Enquirer.[17] For two years, the Post had secretly negotiated the terms of the JOA with the Enquirer while securing concessions from labor unions. The two papers petitioned the Justice Department for an antitrust exemption under the Newspaper Preservation Act of 1970. This was the second JOA application under the Newspaper Preservation Act; the first, involving the Anchorage Daily News and Anchorage Times, was summarily approved but already seen as a failure.[12]

At Justice Department hearings, the Post claimed to be the brink of financial failure, with losses over the previous six years totaling $12 million. Scripps-Howard argued that the JOA would preserve a second editorial voice in Cincinnati, a "no-growth market". However, Post employees and suburban newspaper publishers accused the Post of producing artificial losses in an attempt to secure expected profits from a JOA. Post coverage of the proceedings was limited to a single Saturday article, in contrast to multiple reports published in the Enquirer.[12]

The EnquirerPost agreement took effect in 1979 after negotiations and legal battles with unions, including with 131 Post printers who had been guaranteed jobs for life.[12] As the more viable paper, the Enquirer received an 80% stake in the business and handled all business functions of both papers, including printing, distribution, and selling advertising.[18] The Post forwent Sunday publishing, a major advantage the Enquirer had over the Post. The Post eliminated 500 of 600 jobs as a result of the agreement.[12]

Decline and closure[edit]

In a pattern seen throughout the industry, the Post declined severely during the 30-year term of the JOA. In 1977, when the agreement was announced, the Post had a daily circulation of 195,000,[18] more than the Enquirer,[12] but by September 2003, the Post's daily circulation had fallen to 42,219, or 23% of the Enquirer's 182,176.[17]

In January 2004, the Enquirer informed the Post of its intention to let the JOA expire on December 31, 2007.[17][19] That spring, the Post ended distribution in the northern suburbs in Butler and Warren counties to concentrate on Hamilton County and its Northern Kentucky edition. Also that year, political cartoonist Jeff Stahler left the Post for The Columbus Dispatch. In June 2005, the Post closed its Kentucky newsroom and announced early retirement offers to employees in advance of its probable closure. These changes resulted in profits of $23.5 million in 2005 and $20.7 million the following year.[18] By 2007, the paper employed only 52 newsroom staff,[1] while its circulation had declined to 27,000,[20][2] an estimated four percent of local households.[21] On July 17, parent company E. W. Scripps confirmed that both The Cincinnati Post and The Kentucky Post would cease publication on the day of the JOA's expiration.[22]

The Post published its final print edition on December 31, 2007.[9] The "Farewell Edition" front page headline read "–30–", meaning "the end" in news jargon.[23] About 30 Enquirer employees assigned to Post operations lost their jobs.[24] The Post came to an end due to a number of factors, including the end of the joint operating agreement, a 75% decrease in readership, and decreasing advertising revenues.[3] However, some Post employees faulted the Enquirer for neglecting its partner, citing empty or outdated newsboxes[18] and uncooperative subscription agents.[3]


The day after the Post's closure, Scripps launched as a Northern Kentucky news website. A dedicated staff embedded in WCPO-TV's newsroom supplemented content from[25] In 2009, the website had two staff members plus interns.[26] In 2013, began redirecting visitors to

WCPO-TV replaced the Post as sponsor of the local qualification round of the Scripps National Spelling Bee.[27]

A 2009 study attempted to measure the impact of the Post's closure on the political process in Northern Kentucky, a traditional stronghold for the paper. It concluded that the closure caused an initial short-term decline in political competition and voter turnout, despite the Post having low circulation in its final years.[20]

Notable former employees[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Rutledge, Mike (December 30, 2007). "A voice is stilled". The Cincinnati Enquirer (Gannett Company). 
  2. ^ a b c d Driehaus, Bob (December 31, 2007). "In Cincinnati, a 126-Year-Old Paper Goes to Press for the Last Time". The New York Times (The New York Times Company). Retrieved November 18, 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Osborne, Kevin (February 21, 2007). "The Light Dims". Cincinnati CityBeat. 
  4. ^ a b Sewell, Dan (December 31, 2007). "Post newspapers close after 126 years". USA Today (Gannett Company). Associated Press. 
  5. ^ About The penny paper. (Cincinnati Ohio) 1881–1882
  6. ^ a b c Scripps, Edward Willis (c. 1926). Gardner, Gilson, ed. History of the Scripps Concern. pp. 161–168. 
  7. ^ "Penny Paper: It Falls a Victim to the Cunning of Detectives, And Its Editors Arrested on the Charge of Black-Mail". The Cincinnati Enquirer 39 (281). October 8, 1881. p. 4. (subscription required (help)). 
  8. ^ "A Word About the Enquirer". The Cincinnati Enquirer. October 20, 1881. (subscription required (help)). 
  9. ^ a b Winternitz, Felix; Bellman, Sacha DeVroomen (November 18, 2008). Insiders' Guide to Cincinnati (7th ed.). Globe Pequot Press. p. 381. ISBN 0-7627-4180-5. ISSN 1527-1188. Retrieved August 1, 2013. 
  10. ^ "The Press: Death of the Times-Star". Time. August 4, 1958. Retrieved November 17, 2014. 
  11. ^ a b Suess, Jeff (January 13, 2013). "Did you know? Times-Star Building is news icon". The Cincinnati Enquirer (Gannett Company). Retrieved January 20, 2013. 
  12. ^ a b c d e f g Dillehay, Whayne (October 1978). "How To Succeed In Newspapering Without Really Trying". Cincinnati (Greater Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce) 12 (1): 77–81, 123–127. 
  13. ^ Murtha, Lisa (November 8, 2014). "Scripps: Once, They Bought Ink by the Barrel". City Wise. Emmis Communications. Retrieved November 23, 2014. 
  14. ^ Horstman, Barry M. (March 22, 1999). "Al Schottelkotte: He set the pace for TV news". The Cincinnati Post (E. W. Scripps Company). Archived from the original on March 11, 2007. 
  15. ^ "Newspapers: Separation in Cincinnati". Time. October 11, 1968. Retrieved November 23, 2014. 
  16. ^ "Scripps O.K.'s Sale of Enquirer Control". Chicago Tribune 124 (31). United Press International. February 20, 1971. p. 2:7. 
  17. ^ a b c Peale, Cliff (January 17, 2004). "Post pact will expire". The Cincinnati Enquirer (Gannett Company). Retrieved November 19, 2014. 
  18. ^ a b c d Driehaus, Bob (February 21, 2007). "Cover Story: The Deal That Changed Everything". Cincinnati CityBeat. Retrieved November 17, 2014. 
  19. ^ "Newspaper JOA in Cincinnati will not be renewed after 2007" (Press release). E. W. Scripps Company. January 16, 2004. Archived from the original on July 16, 2011. 
  20. ^ a b Schulhofer-Wohl, Sam; Garrido, Miguel (2009). "Do newspapers matter? Evidence from the closure of The Cincinnati Post". Discussion papers in economics (Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs) (236). hdl:10419/59031. 
  21. ^ "Cincinnati Post ceases publication; Ky. Web news site to launch". Cincinnati Business Courier (American City Business Journals). December 31, 2007. Retrieved November 23, 2014. 
  22. ^ "Local Post newspapers to fold at end of year". Cincinnati Business Courier (American City Business Journals). July 17, 2007. Retrieved November 23, 2014. 
  23. ^ Coolidge, Sharon (January 1, 2008). "For Post, one final edition". The Cincinnati Enquirer (Gannett Company). Retrieved November 18, 2014. 
  24. ^ "Enquirer workers to lose jobs in Post closing". Cincinnati Business Courier (American City Business Journals). October 23, 2007. Retrieved November 23, 2014. 
  25. ^ Malone, Michael (February 22, 2008). "Paper Now a Station Site". Broadcasting & Cable (NewBay Media). Retrieved November 17, 2014. 
  26. ^ "Blog draws in readers; boosts's hits" (Press release). E. W. Scripps Company. Retrieved November 17, 2014. 
  27. ^ "WCPO to sponsor local Scripps bee". Cincinnati Business Courier (American City Business Journals). August 16, 2007. Retrieved November 19, 2014. 

External links[edit]