The Cincinnati Enquirer

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The Cincinnati Enquirer
Cincinnati Enquirer front page.jpg
Type Daily newspaper
Format Compact
Owner(s) Gannett Company
Publisher Rick Green
Editor Peter Bhatia
Founded 1841
Headquarters 312 Elm Street
Cincinnati, Ohio 45202
Circulation 111,000 daily
214,000 Sundays[1]
OCLC number 51645694

The Cincinnati Enquirer is a morning daily newspaper published by Gannett Company in Cincinnati, Ohio, United States. First published in 1841, the Enquirer is the last remaining daily newspaper in Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky. It has the highest circulation of any print publication in the metropolitan area. A daily local edition for Northern Kentucky is published as The Kentucky Enquirer.

In addition to the Cincinnati Enquirer and Kentucky Enquirer, Gannett publishes a variety of print and electronic periodicals in the Cincinnati area, including 16 Community Press weekly newspapers, 10 Community Recorder weekly newspapers, and OurTown magazine. The Enquirer is available online at the website.


The Enquirer is regarded as a conservative, Republican-leaning newspaper, in contrast to The Cincinnati Post, a former competing daily.[2] From 1920 to 2012, the editorial board endorsed every Republican candidate for United States president. By contrast, the current editorial board claims to take a pragmatic editorial stance. According to editor Peter Bhatia, "It is made up of pragmatic, solution-driven members who, frankly, don’t have much use for extreme ideologies from the right or the left. ... The board’s mantra in our editorials has been about problem-solving and improving the quality of life for everyone in greater Cincinnati."[3] On September 24, 2016, the Enquirer endorsed Hillary Clinton for president,[4] the first endorsement of a Democrat for president since Woodrow Wilson in 1916.[3]

The Kentucky Enquirer consists of an additional section wrapped around the Cincinnati Enquirer and a remade Local section. The front page is remade from the Ohio edition, although it may contain similar elements.

Reader-submitted content is featured in six zoned editions of Your HomeTown Enquirer, a local news insert published twice-weekly on Thursdays and Saturdays in Hamilton, Butler, Warren, and Clermont counties.[5]


Early years[edit]

The first issue of the Daily Cincinnati Enquirer.

The Enquirer began on April 10, 1841, when brothers John and Charles Brough purchased the Cincinnati Advertiser and Journal, a newspaper of record that began publishing in 1838, and renamed it the Daily Cincinnati Enquirer. Its first issue consisted of "just four pages of squint-inducing text that was, at times, as ugly in tone as it was in appearance". It declared its staunch support for the Democratic Party, in contrast to the three Whig papers and two ostensibly independent papers then in circulation.[6][7] A weekly digest edition for regional farmers, the Weekly Cincinnati Enquirer, began publishing on April 14 and would continue until November 25, 1843, as The Cincinnati Weekly Enquirer.[8]

In November 1843, the Enquirer merged with the Daily Morning Message to become the Enquirer and Message (the Daily Enquirer and Message beginning in May 1844).[9][10] In January 1845, the paper dropped the Message name, becoming The Cincinnati Daily Enquirer.[11] Finally, in May 1849, the paper became The Cincinnati Enquirer.[12]

On April 20, 1848, the Enquirer became one of the first newspapers in the United States to publish a Sunday edition.

On March 22, 1866, a gas leak caused Pike's Opera House to explode, taking with it the Enquirer offices next door. A competitor, the Cincinnati Daily Times, allowed the Enquirer to print on its presses in the wake of the disaster. As a result, the Enquirer missed only one day of publication.[13] However, archives of the paper's first 25 years were lost.[6]

McLean ownership[edit]

From before the Civil War to 1881, The Enquirer was owned by Washington McLean, a Copperhead whose editorial policies led to the suppression of the paper by the United States government during the Civil War.

After the war, McLean pursued an anti-Republican stance. One of his star writers was Lafcadio Hearn, who wrote for the paper from 1872 to 1875. James W. Faulkner started was a newspaperman from the Enquirer who became the political correspondent for the paper covering the Ohio State Legislature and Statehouse from 1887 until his death. The Faulkner Letter was a well-known column often carried in regional newspapers. From 1881 to his death in 1916, it was run by his son, John Roll McLean. Having little faith in his only child, Ned, John Roll McLean put the Enquirer and another paper he owned, The Washington Post, in trust with a Washington, D.C. bank as trustee. Ned successfully broke the trust regarding The Post, an action that led to its bankruptcy and eventual sale to Eugene Meyer in 1933. The Enquirer, however, continued to be held in trust until 1952.

The Enquirer front page, June 19, 1910. A headline beginning with "Three shakes" is typical of the Enquirer's style during this period.

In the 1910s, the Enquirer was known for an attention-getting style of headline in which individual words or phrases cascaded vertically. According to a 1912 college textbook on newspaper making, "The Enquirer has printed some masterpieces replete with a majesty of diction that is most artistic; but there are few papers that can imitate it successfully."[14] During the 1930s and 1940s, the Enquirer was widely regarded among newspapers for its innovative and distinctive typography.

By the late 1940s, sales of the Enquirer, Cincinnati's last remaining morning daily, had increased dramatically, fueled in part by the success of its Sunday morning monopoly; meanwhile, The Cincinnati Post and especially The Cincinnati Times-Star faced a declining afternoon market.

Employee ownership[edit]

In 1952, the bank decided to sell to Charles Phelps Taft, the owner of the Cincinnati Times-Star and brother of President William Howard Taft. The employees of the paper pooled their assets and obtained loans to successfully outbid him.

Scripps ownership[edit]

The employees lacked sufficient capital and managerial expertise to run the paper. Beset by financial problems and internal strife, they sold the paper to The E. W. Scripps Company, owner of The Cincinnati Post, on April 26, 1956. Scripps purchased a 36.5% controlling interest in the Enquirer for $4,059,000, beating out The Times-Star Company's $2,380,051 and Tribune Publishing's $15 per share, or $2,238,000.[15][16] Two years later, Scripps also acquired the Times-Star, merging the afternoon paper with the Post.[17]

With the Times-Star and Enquirer acquisitions, the Scripps family owned all of Cincinnati's dailies, along with WCPO-AM, WCPO-FM, and WCPO-TV.[18] The E. W. Scripps Company operated the Enquirer at arm's length, even omitting the Scripps lighthouse logo from the Enquirer's nameplate. Nevertheless, the United States Department of Justice filed an antitrust suit against the company in 1964.[19][20]

Gannett ownership and joint operating agreement[edit]

In 1968, Scripps entered into a consent decree to sell the Enquirer. It was sold to Cincinnati millionaire Carl Lindner, Jr.'s American Financial Corporation on February 20, 1971.[21] In turn, Lindner sold the Enquirer to a Phoenix-based company of his, Combined Communications, in 1969. Combined Communications merged with Gannett Company in 1979.

On September 22, 1977, the Enquirer signed a joint operating agreement (JOA) with The Cincinnati Post.[22] For two years, the Enquirer had secretly negotiated the terms of the JOA with the Post 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.[23]

The EnquirerPost agreement was approved on November 26, 1979,[24] taking effect after negotiations and legal battles with unions.[23] As the more financially sound paper, the Enquirer received an 80% stake in the business and handled all business functions of both papers, including printing, distribution, and selling advertising.[25] Gannett opened a new printing press off Western Avenue in the West End to print both papers.[26]

On April 10, 2000, the Enquirer and Post downsized from a traditional 12 516-inch-wide (313 mm) broadsheet format to an 11 58-inch-wide (300 mm) format similar to Berliner. They also began publishing in color every day of the week. Gannett promoted the narrower format as being "easier to handle, hold, and read" but also cited reduced newsprint costs.[27][28]

In May 2003, Gannett Co. replaced Harry Whipple, who had been president and publisher for 11 years. Following Wipple, the Enquirer hired Margaret E. Buchanan, a Cincinnati native, who was previously publisher of the Idaho Statesman in Boise, Idaho. She was the newspaper's first woman publisher. Also in 2003, Tom Callinan, a veteran Gannett editor whose previous top positions included newspapers in Phoenix and Rochester, N.Y., became editor of the Enquirer.

In October 2003, The Enquirer began publishing and distributing CiN Weekly, a free lifestyle magazine aimed at younger readers.

In January 2004, the Enquirer informed the Post of its intention to let the JOA expire.[22][29] The Post published its final print edition upon the JOA's expiration on December 31, 2007,[30] leaving the Enquirer as the only daily newspaper in Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky.

In April 2006, The Enquirer was cited by The Associated Press with the news cooperative's General Excellence Award, naming The Enquirer as the best major daily newspaper in Ohio. Earlier that year, parent Gannett Co. named The Enquirer the most improved of the more than 100 newspapers in the chain.[citation needed]

In October 2012, the online version of the Enquirer went behind a metered paywall.

In March 2013, Gannett closed its West End printing facility and contracted with The Columbus Dispatch to print the Enquirer in Columbus. Shortly after, the Enquirer began publishing in a smaller compact format.[31] Former Post and Enquirer pressman Al Bamberger purchased the former Enquirer facility that June and sold it to Wegman Company, an office furniture installation comapny.[26]

In March 2015, The Enquirer hired Rick Green as the new President and Publisher.


Cincinnati Enquirer headquarters building at 312 Elm Street, Cincinnati, Ohio.

Beginning in 1866, The Enquirer was published from offices in the 600 block of Vine Street in downtown Cincinnati. Beginning in 1916, the newspaper constructed a new headquarters and printing plant, the Cincinnati Enquirer Building, on this property; its final details were finished in 1928.[32] The newspaper moved to its present Elm Street headquarters in 1992.[33]

The Enquirer has contracted with The Columbus Dispatch in Columbus for all printing since March 2013.[31]

Online presence[edit]

The Enquirer launched its first website,, on November 1, 1996. Due to a joint operating agreement with The Cincinnati Post, it launched concurrently with the Post's site, @The Post. A shared website, GoCincinnati!,[34] located at, displayed classified advertising and offered dial-up Internet access subscriptions. Local access numbers were available in cities throughout the country through a network of Gannett publications.[35] Both papers' home pages moved to a more memorable domain,, on November 1, 1998.[36] The new brand encompassed about 300 local commercial sites and some community organizations.[37]

From May 2002 to March 2007, also included, the website of Post sister company WCPO-TV.[38] The Post closed at the end of 2007, ending Scripps' involvement in The CiN Weekly, Community Press, and Community Recorder weekly newspapers have also been online partners with the Enquirer.

In October 2005, the Enquirer launched, a website covering news from Boone, Campbell, and Kenton counties in Northern Kentucky. was one of the first newspaper-published websites to make extensive use of user-created content, which it featured prominently on 38 community pages. In August 2006, launched 186 community pages covering towns and neighborhoods in Ohio and Indiana and began soliciting and publishing stories and articles from readers, which appear in Your Hometown Enquirer inserts.

Since October 2012, has operated behind a metered paywall that allows readers to view 10 stories a month before paying a subscription fee. As a Gannett property, is branded as "part of the USA Today Network". Its primary competitor in the market is WCPO-TV's website,[39]

Archives of Enquirer articles can be found in online subscription databases. ProQuest contains full text of articles from 1841 to 1922 and from 1999 to present, as well as "digital microfilm" of articles from 2010 to 2012.[40] As of September 2016, has scans of 4.2 million pages from 1841 to present.[41]

Notable people[edit]

Current employees and contributors:

Former employees and contributors:

Former Enquirer owners and publishers:


  1. ^ "Former Cincinnati reporter to return as newspaper publisher". Associated Press. Retrieved 19 February 2015. 
  2. ^ McCarty, Mary (March 1985). "What Makes Them Think They're So Smart?". Cincinnati. Vol. 18 no. 6. CM Media. pp. 41–48 – via Google Books. Conventional wisdom has it that The Enquirer is the ultraconservative, till-death-do-us-part Republican Party mouthpiece, while The Post is the moderate, working-class, comparatively progressive paper. 
  3. ^ a b Bhatia, Peter (2016-09-23). "Why we're endorsing for president". The Cincinnati Enquirer. 
  4. ^ "Editorial: It has to be Hillary Clinton". The Cincinnati Enquirer. 2016-09-24. 
  5. ^ "Page and Photo Reprints". Gannett Company. Retrieved September 26, 2016. 
  6. ^ a b Horn, Dan; Suess, Jeff (April 10, 2016). "First Enquirer reveals much about Cincinnati". The Cincinnati Enquirer. Gannett Company. Retrieved September 26, 2016. 
  7. ^ "About Advertiser and journal. (Cincinnati, Ohio) 1839-1841". Chronicling America. National Digital Newspaper Program. Retrieved September 26, 2016. 
  8. ^ "About Weekly Cincinnati enquirer. (Cincinnati [Ohio]) 1841-1842". Chronicling America. National Digital Newspaper Program. Retrieved September 26, 2016. 
  9. ^ "About Enquirer and message. (Cincinnati [Ohio]) 1843-1844". Chronicling America. National Digital Newspaper Program. Retrieved September 26, 2016. 
  10. ^ "About Daily enquirer and message. (Cincinnati [Ohio) 1844-1845". Chronicling America. National Digital Newspaper Program. Retrieved September 26, 2016. 
  11. ^ "About The Cincinnati daily enquirer. (Cincinnati [Ohio]) 1845-1849". Chronicling America. National Digital Newspaper Program. Retrieved September 26, 2016. 
  12. ^ "About The Cincinnati enquirer. (Cincinnati [Ohio]) 1849-1852". Chronicling America. National Digital Newspaper Program. Retrieved September 26, 2016. 
  13. ^ Suess, Jeff (July 15, 2015). "Tragedy of Pike's Opera House recounted in new book". The Cincinnati Enquirer. Gannett Company. Retrieved September 26, 2016. 
  14. ^ Harrington, Harry Franklin; Frankenberg, Theodore Thomas (1912). Essentials in journalism: a manual in newspaper making for college classes. Ginn and Company – via Internet Archive. 
  15. ^ "36% of Cincinnati Enquirer Stock Sold to Affiliate of Scripps Chain; Chicago Investment House Accepts Its Offer of $4,059,000 for Debentures—Two Other Papers Also Bid". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. Associated Press. April 27, 1956. 
  16. ^ Taft 1960, pp. 270–274.
  17. ^ "The Press: Death of the Times-Star". Time. August 4, 1958. Retrieved November 17, 2014. 
  18. ^ Murtha, Lisa (November 8, 2014). "Scripps: Once, They Bought Ink by the Barrel". Cincinnati. Emmis Communications. Retrieved November 23, 2014. 
  19. ^ "Newspapers: Separation in Cincinnati". Time. October 11, 1968. Retrieved November 23, 2014. 
  20. ^ Clark, Paul (December 28, 2007). "Post won PM market before decline". The Cincinnati Enquirer. Gannett Company. Retrieved December 29, 2014. 
  21. ^ "Scripps O.K.'s Sale of Enquirer Control". Chicago Tribune. 124 (31). United Press International. February 20, 1971. p. 2:7. 
  22. ^ a b Peale, Cliff (January 17, 2004). "Post pact will expire". The Cincinnati Enquirer. Gannett Company. Retrieved November 19, 2014. 
  23. ^ a b Dillehay, Whayne (October 1978). "How To Succeed In Newspapering Without Really Trying". Cincinnati. Greater Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce. 12 (1): 77–81, 123–127. 
  24. ^ "Joint Operation Backed For 2 Cincinnati Papers". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. Associated Press. November 27, 1979. 
  25. ^ Driehaus, Bob (February 21, 2007). "Cover Story: The Deal That Changed Everything". Cincinnati CityBeat. Retrieved November 17, 2014. 
  26. ^ a b Lambert, Lance (April 19, 2014). "Former Enquirer printing building sold again". The Cincinnati Enquirer. Gannett Company. Retrieved September 26, 2016. 
  27. ^ "News for the New Century". Gannett Company. Retrieved November 24, 2014. 
  28. ^ Bushee, Ward (April 9, 2000). "Enquirer launches new look". The Cincinnati Enquirer. Retrieved December 29, 2014. 
  29. ^ "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. 
  30. ^ 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. 
  31. ^ a b "Cincinnati Enquirer unveils new paper format". WCPO. 13 March 2013. Retrieved 19 February 2015. 
  32. ^ Owen, Lorrie K., ed. Dictionary of Ohio Historic Places. Vol. I., St. Clair Shores: Somerset, 1999, 574.
  33. ^ About Us, The Cincinnati Enquirer, 2008. Accessed 2010-12-03.
  34. ^ Brewer, Charles (October 27, 1996). "Most papers tiptoeing onto Internet". The Cincinnati Enquirer. Gannett Company. 
  35. ^ "Other U.S. Cities". GoCinci.Net Internet Access. Gannett Company. 1997. Archived from the original on June 6, 1997. 
  36. ^ Eckberg, John (November 1, 1998). "GoCincinnati gets a new name". The Cincinnati Enquirer. Gannett Company. Retrieved December 29, 2014. 
  37. ^ "Web site has a new address". The Cincinnati Post. E. W. Scripps Company. October 31, 1998. Archived from the original on November 23, 2004. 
  38. ^ "Welcome to!". E. W. Scripps Company. Archived from the original on May 5, 2012. 
  39. ^ Wang, Shan (August 27, 2015). "A Cincinnati TV station with a paywalled site is challenging the city's leading daily newspaper". Nieman Journalism Lab. Nieman Foundation for Journalism. Retrieved September 26, 2016. 
  40. ^ "Magazine & Newspaper Articles". Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County. Retrieved September 26, 2016. 
  41. ^ "The Cincinnati Enquirer". Retrieved September 26, 2016. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Nicholas Bender. "Banana Report." Columbia Journalism Review. May/June 2001.
  • Graydon Decamp. The Grand Old Lady of Vine Street. Cincinnati: The Cincinnati Enquirer, 1991. (Official history).
  • Douglas Frantz. "After Apology, Issues Raised In Chiquita Articles Remain." The New York Times. July 17, 1998. p. A1, A14
  • Douglas Frantz. "Mysteries Behind Story's Publication." The New York Times. July 17, 1998. p. A14.
  • Lew Moores. "Media, Myself & I". Cincinnati CityBeat. January 7, 2004.
  • Lew Moores. "The Day the Music Critic Died." Cincinnati CityBeat. February 11, 2004.
  • Randolph Reddick. The Old Lady of Vine Street. Ohio University Ph. D. dissertation, 1991. (A study of the four years of employee ownership).
  • Nicholas Stein. "Banana Peel." Columbia Journalism Review. September/October 1998.

External links[edit]