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Sunday, September 30, 2007

Cincinnati Post On Its Deathbed: Still Kicking Enquirer's Keister

CINCINNATI (TDB) -- The Society of Professional Journalists chapter based in Cincinnati just held its annual awards banquet to celebrate outstanding work by reporters and editors over the past year. And the Cincinnati Post, an E.W. Scripps afternoon daily that is scheduled to close its doors forever in December, clobbered its crosstown morning rival. The Post won 52 awards, including 16 firsts. The epitaph can read: Kicked the Enquirer's ass till the day we died.

Gannett Co. Inc.'s Cincinnati Enquirer managed to win just 31 awards. In other words, the Post is flat on its back, barely with a pulse, poised for certain doom. Yet, its death rattle is still a voice judged superior to that of the Enquirer, a larger paper with a stodgy reputation. The Enquirer's product may not be the best in the marketplace. But it does own the better time slot with AM delivery, a huge advantage. Afternoon newspapers such as the Post are nearly extinct in North America.

Here is the Post's list of winners And here is the Enquirer's list of winners. True to their rivalry, neither newspaper saw fit to mention the other's prize-winning work.

One final note: Powel Crosley Jr. and his brother, Lewis, were inducted into the Cincinnati Journalism Hall of Fame. The brothers started WLW-AM and largely invented broadcast journalism in 1922 when the station covered a fire on the Ohio riverfront and scooped the newspapers. That event instantly demonstrated both the potential and power of the new medium. The brothers were also pioneers in broadcasting baseball and did live play-by-play of the Reds. They gave the Voice of America its start during World War II.

The Crosley brothers are long gone from this world, but they might have noticed that the journalists who gathered in Cincinnati to hand out kudos paid no heed to the pioneering that is being done on the Internet via blogs, a form that is equally innovative and fresh as broadcasting in the 1920s. Rusty McClure, a descendant of the Crosley's who spoke at the banquet, said they "saw a change happening" and dived in as innovators.

"Radio journalism didn't exist back then. So they just made it up."

Few, if any, of the journalists in the room listening seem to have much interest in the new form. They don't appear willing to bring it to life, to attend and aid the birthing process, to just make it happen.

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