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Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Cincinnati Post Editor's Closing Memo: No Booze In The Newsroom, Take Up To Six Papers

CINCINNATI (TDB) -- The Cincinnati Post finishes its 126-year run forever on Dec. 31, when the afternoon daily publishes its final edition. Editor Mike Philipps sent the following memo to the E.W. Scripps Co. newspaper's staff outlining what happens during the hours of the concluding press run. When they leave, each staffer can take six free copies of the last Post -- at 50 cents each, it's a $3 going away present.

To: Colleagues
From: Mike
Subject: Last day

Here's what I know about how things are going to work on December 31, our last day:

  • There will be a normal production schedule and normal deadlines for the Metro and Kentucky editions on December 31. Final button-push on Kentucky will be at 9:25 a.m.
  • Since we will not publish a January 1 edition, there will be no night shift on December 31. Department heads will schedule night staffers for a dayside shift, allowing, of course, nine hours between shifts.
  • The newsroom will be closed to all except current members of The Post staff until at least 9:30 a,m. on Monday December 31. We don't need a lot of tourists hanging around will we are trying to finish the last editions.
  • I have declined all requests by other media for access to the newsroom in the days leading up to December 31. I have not decided whether we should permit media in the newsroom as we push the button on the last edition. I would welcome your thoughts on that.
  • John Vissman will arrange for food, beverages and treats for all as we get the last editions out, clean out our desks and say good-bye. But . . . tempting as it may be . . . please do not bring any alcoholic beverages into the newsroom. Let's go out like the professionals we have been these last, difficult weeks.
  • We have arranged for plenty of extra papers to be delivered to the newsroom that day. There should be enough for a total of six copies per person.
  • Once we have closed the Kentucky edition, Dave Hites and John Vissman will begin processing your paperwork: We will collect keys and door cards. We will collect any company-owned equipment, cell phones, camera equipment, lap tops etc. and provide a receipt for the equipment. You will need to turn in your final expense reports. Those who still have credit cards will need to turn them in and reconcile the statements we will download for USBank. We will accept your signed separation agreements.
  • There will be no access to the newsroom after December 31. You will need to take all personal effects with you when you leave on that day. Anything left after you leave will go into the dumpster on January 2.
  • Your Post e-mail account will not be available after December 31.
  • I am trying to arrange for you to have access to The Post story archive for at least six months in 2008 to help you prepare resumes and provide writing samples to potential employers. Please stay tuned for details on that.
  • If you are not normally scheduled for work on Monday, December 31, or will not be in the newsroom for some other reason, please contact your department head about your keys, expense account, credit card, company property, etc.
  • Dave Hites, Bob White and I will remain on the premises in January and will be available to answer questions or deal with problems at least through the end of the month. Use these numbers to contact us during normal working hours [Ed. Note: I deleted the phone numbers.]
  • This final reminder. If you intend to sign your "Separation Agreement and General Release," do not sign it before December 31. If you are not normally scheduled to work on Monday, December 31, you may sign it on or after that date and send it or deliver it to Dave Hites. Please do that as soon as you can so we can make certain that your medical and other benefits are in order. Although we intend to be in this office every working day until at least January 11, if you can deliver it in person, please call Dave or me in advance to make certain we are here.

So that is the script for the day a newspaper dies. No booze. Turn in the cell phones. Your e-mail accounts at the office are turned off. And you can take six copies of the paper with you before the doors are locked forever.

24 comments:

  1. No booze in a newsroom? No wonder why the media is as maligned as it is today. You guys are more interested in being politically correct and socially (self-) conscious than just being human. Politics was better when back rooms were smoke and Bourbon filled and journalism was better when local watering holes were full of journalists. Just like every other aspect of American society, journalism has become sissified.

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  2. Too sad to see it go. Not even a glass of champagne. Despite the fact this won't be a celebration there will be people who have worked devotedly for years and years ... and not even a toast "for the future endeavors"? Folks, you really need to loosen up. Don't act like robots... relax... take some ex-lax or something and let it go.

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  3. No booze in the Post newsroom? Mike, I do believe you've chosen an odd time to crack down. Sorry, guys. 30.

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  4. It's not a matter of journalism becoming sissified, it's Scripps/ It used to stand for journalism, but now it stands for beancounters, which have nothing to do with journalism.

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  5. The bean counters and lawyers are the ones that cause it to be sissified.

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  6. Hi All --

    In the old days (yes, I'm old) newspapers could not be put out unless there was some beer or booze around. I've shared a shot with managing editors, city editors, reporters, photogs, copy desk folks -- it mixed well with the ink in our veins. I guess the era of The Front Page has finally dried up and blown away. Quite saddening, really, to see it go.

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  7. Holy cow! All the moaning and complaining about the lack of booze and not one word about all the misspelled words. No wonder they're shutting down. I’m an engineer, and if I can see the errors, where are the rest of you.

    If you live in Cincinnati as I do, you already know that this whole thing is no surprise – this is a funeral, not a celebration. Go to the nearest bar to hold the wake.

    Cincinnati Bill

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  8. "I’m an engineer, and if I can see the errors, where are the rest of you."

    I'm assuming the errors were fixed; otherwise, I can't find any, and I'm a former copy editor.

    For what it's worth, Microsoft Word isn't finding any, either.

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  9. Well, as a former “copy editor” you should know that if a misspelled word is itself another word, spell checkers will never find it. On the other hand, you evidently were a copy editor for the Cincinnati Post.

    Why don’t you go back and read it again. There are at least two occasions where there is either a misspelled word or the grammar is so bad that the sentence has lost its meaning.

    Cincinnati Bill

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  10. --------------------------
    Anonymous (Cincinnati Bill) wrote:

    Holy cow! All the moaning and complaining about the lack of booze and not one word about all the misspelled words. No wonder they're shutting down. I’m an engineer, and if I can see the errors, where are the rest of you.


    ------------------

    Reread your paragraph moron. It ends with a question mark, not a period. And you're the guy pointing out errors? What a loser...

    Chris

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  11. One would have to have a heart of stone etc.…

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  12. Your Post e-mail account will not be available after December 31.
    ...
    I am trying to arrange for you to have access to The Post story archive for at least six months in 2008 to help you prepare resumes and provide writing samples to potential employers. Please stay tuned for details on that.


    Uh.. How is one meant to "stay tuned" when your email account has been terminated?

    Witness the telepathic prowess of The Editor.

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  13. The newsroom ...We don't need a lot of tourists hanging around will we are trying to finish the last editions.

    "Will" is spelled correctly, but shouldn't it be while?

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  14. Stop the pissing and moaning about spelling errors! I think all of you should dry up, stand up, and start looking for new jobs instead of the nearest bar. Unless, of course, your next career is that of a bartender.

    A good place to help you sober up is www.aa.org

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  15. Editor Mike Philipps send the item that you have to take encuante that day but it is impossible but a day without alcohol

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  16. I’m hoping that we’ll end up with a slew of prototyped ideas and a bunch of happy people. I’m sure there’ll be a lot more hard work until we can turn those embryonic proofs of concept into living

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