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Cincinnati and Kentucky Post stop the presses

After a 126-year run, the newspapers print their final editions. Parent firm Scripps will keep a remnant on a website.

January 01, 2008|From the Associated Press

CINCINNATI — The Post newspapers printed their final editions Monday, ending a 126-year run. However, the final editions also carried some news: Their parent company will keep a remnant alive in the form of a Kentucky-oriented website.

"-30-," a symbol traditionally used by journalists, printers and telegraphers to signal the end of a dispatch, proclaimed the front-page headline in the last Cincinnati and Kentucky newspaper editions.

In a story about the closing, editor Mike Philipps said: "It's a sad day, but we're going out with heads high. This paper made a difference in the community."

The Post and its sister Kentucky Post edition have been struggling for decades, part of a national decline of afternoon newspapers and of multiple daily newspapers in U.S. cities. E.W. Scripps Co., based in Cincinnati, decided in July to close the Post newspapers when a joint operating agreement with Gannett Co. expired at the end of 2007.

In a story in Monday's editions headlined "Web site to carry on Post tradition," the Post reported that the Scripps company would keep a Kentucky presence with Beginning today the site will supersede the current Post website and will share content with the Scripps-owned Cincinnati TV station WCPO-TV and its website.

One Post staffer, Kerry Duke, will stay on as the website's managing editor. The site will also use a full-time reporter, freelance journalists and contributions from "citizen journalists" in addition to WCPO and news services. The site will focus on the three counties just across the Ohio River, the northern Kentucky area where the majority of the Post newspapers' last subscribers have been.

The site expects to be sustained by advertising, particularly ads targeted to what it calls "life in the 859," the northern Kentucky telephone area code.

"It's a low-cost approach, but if you want to maintain the presence, it's probably the only alternative," said John Morton, an independent newspaper industry analyst based in Silver Spring, Md. "It's better than going out completely, and clearly there is opportunity there."

Rich Boehne, Scripps' chief operating officer, said Scripps hoped to gradually build the site.

"It's been an incredible brand in northern Kentucky," he said.

Boehne was among dozens of newspaper executives and retirees who gathered to watch the last editions roll off the presses.

"It's sad but inevitable," said William R. Burleigh, Scripps' chairman and a former Post editor. "There's a lot of history, a lot of wonderful people."

Philipps, a 30-year veteran of the newspaper, said, "We're going to make ourselves count right to the end."

He said the final editions Monday were focusing on the newspaper itself as a keepsake. Some 9,000 extra copies were printed beyond the paper's weekday circulation of about 27,000. The editions included stories about the Post's history, remembrances from staffers and readers, archival photos such as actor Cary Grant's 1955 visit to the Post and farewell columns.

The staff then turned to the myriad tasks of shutting down, such as cleaning out drawers, turning in laptops and keys, processing paperwork and turning off phones.

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