As promised a few months ago (7/18/07 TVBR #139), E.W. Scripps Company shut down the Cincinnati Post and its related edition called the Kentucky Post on New Year’s Eve. Monday’s final edition, which ended a 126-year run for the newspaper, carried a large “-30-” on the front page, the traditional symbol for the end of a newspaper dispatch. Scripps announced that it would end publication of the struggling daily because a joint operating agreement with Gannett’s Cincinnati Enquirer was due to expire at the end of 2007.
Similarly, Scripps recently put the Albuquerque Tribune up for sale, saying that it too would be shut down if no buyer is found. No deadline has been set and the company is reported to be in talks with one potential buyer. Any buyer, however, will have to operate without the current JOA whereby the market’s #2 daily is published in conjunction with the Albuquerque Journal.
TVBR observation: For all those inside the beltway shouting loudly to preserve the crossownership rule, please note that even a grandfathered crossownership situation was not enough to save the #2 newspaper in Cincinnati. Scripps continues to own and operate WCPO-TV (Ch. 9, ABC) and it will keep alive a low-cost web-only version of the Kentucky Post operating in conjunction with the TV station. Crossownership is not a panacea, but it might improve the journalistic landscape in some markets, particularly in markets much smaller than the top 20 where the FCC has timidly moved to discard this rule that has long since outlived its usefulness. Anyone who thinks there is any justification for keeping the crossownership rule in any market is simply out of touch with reality.