Scripps Makes It Official: ‘Cincy Post’ Folding With End Of JOA

By: E&P Staff

It’s not exactly a surprise, but after 116 years, The Cincinnati Post will fold when its joint operating agreement (JOA) with Gannett Co.’s Cincinnati Enquirer ends Dec. 31, E.W. Scripps Co. said Tuesday. Scripps said it also will shutter The Kentucky Post.

The end of the Post was inevitable when Gannett announced in 2004 that it would not renew the 30-year JOA struck between the two companies on Sept. 23, 1977.

“After careful analysis and weighing several alternatives for the future of The Cincinnati Post and The Kentucky Post, it’s apparent to us that it would not be feasible to continue publishing the newspapers after the end of the joint operating agreement,” Scripps COO Rich Boehne said in a statement. “The investment that would be needed to continue publishing a daily newspaper that could successfully compete in a marketplace with so many media alternatives would be prohibitive.’

Under the JOA, the Enquirer has been responsible for all business, advertising, and circulation operations of the Post, which circulated in the afternoon.

The Post declined steadily under the JOA, falling in circulation from about 188,000 when the agreement was signed to about 27,000 weekdays and 37,000 on Saturdays.

Scripps said it will offer severance packages including outplacement services and three months of paid medical benefits to the 52 full-time employees at the papers. Scripps had reduced the number of editorial employees from 84 in 2004 through attrition and a series of early retirement offers.

“The intent was to minimize the number of employees affected if the newspaper’s closing became necessary,” Scripps said.

Scripps said it “will continue to have a significant, competitive news presence” in Cincinnati with its market-leading television station, WCPO-TV, Channel 9, and the station’s Web site, WCPO.com.

The Cincinnati Post was first published in 1881 as the Penny Paper. In October of that year it was purchased by James E. Scripps. His brother, E. W. Scripps, assumed control of the newspaper in 1883, and changed the name to the Penny Post. In 1890, the newspaper was renamed The Cincinnati Post, The Kentucky Post was launched.

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