CINCINNATI (TDB) -- E.W. Scripps Co. will shut down the Cincinnati Post on the last day of 2007, eliminating an editorial voice that has leaned Democratic in Southwest Ohio, the area of the state that has traditionally been dominated by Republican politics. The Post is an afternoon daily and has lost most of its readership over the past 30 years, and now is down to 28,549 weekday copies.
"Our time has come . . . and gone," wrote Editor Mike Phillips about death in the afternoon.
Scripps still has television stations in Ohio -- WEWS-TV, Channel 5 in Cleveland and WCPO-TV, Channel 9 in Cincinnati (the call letters are derived from Cincinnati Post). The soon to fold newspaper had a sister in Cleveland, the Press, that passed away in the 1980s, and another in Columbus, the Citizen-Journal, also deceased.
The newspaper has been in a joint operating agreement with Gannett Co. Inc., which publishes the morning Cincinnati Enquirer with approximately 200,000 papers sold Monday through Saturday. It has a reputation as a Republican newspaper.
This death in the afternoon cannot be reversed, said Rich Boehne, a former Post business writer who is now Scripp's chief operating officer. He said in a story published today that the cost of continuing a daily would be prohibitive without the joint operating agreement, which Gannett said it was cancelling. The Post was profitable and contributed about $15.4 million to its parent company's bottomline in 2005.
The Post campaigned against the regime of Boss Cox, a corrupt political organization controlled by the GOP that ran Cincinnati for years until the early 1920s. Within the past 15 years, it broke stories about corruption in the county auditor's office, which was controlled by the Republicans. Democrat Dusty Rhodes was elected as result of the scandal the Post exposed, and remains in office to this day. At the time of his election, Rhodes was the only Democrat holding countywide office other than a handful of judges.
Scripps said it would not continue the newspaper as an Internet entity.
How Democratic was the Post? In 2005, it endorsed Paul Hackett, the Iraq War veteran who called President George W. Bush an SOB. Hackett opposed Republican Jean Schmidt in the race of the OH-02 seat. Schmidt won, but the Enquirer supported her.
Soon there will be no opposition newspaper, no opinions other than the Enquirer's. There are 52 full-time newsroom employees losing jobs. They will receive severance payments. But after 126 years, there won't be a Post, the newspaper that media corporation Scripps published in the city where its headquarters in located.