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Rated: E · Non-fiction · Tribute · #1371000
A 126-year tradition comes to an end.
         New Year's Eve was the beginning of a new year, with all it's hopes, dreams, plans and excitement. It was also the end of an era. An era in newspaper publishing.

         The New Year's Eve edition of The Cincinnati Post was the last edition of the paper. For the first time, and the last time in its 126-year history, instead of reporting the news, the paper itself WAS the news.

         As one might expect, the end of the paper was attributed to declining sales over the years, and competition from the internet. Its closure meant not only the end of its 126-year run, but the end of an afternoon paper for the Cincinnati metro area. Ironically, the final edition sold out so fast that many that wanted a copy were never able to get one. I was among them. The headline on the final edition?


         For those that aren't familiar with the language of the newspaper world, that -30- translates to "The End". An end I hated to see arrive.

         As a youngster, maybe 12 years old or so, I remember taking a tour of the Post's office and print facility. To this day I have a single line of type that was used in the edition that was printed the day of our tour. Yes, a line of type you can hold in your hand, not just see on a screen. This was before everything was computerized. Home PCs and related business systems hadn't even been developed yet. That line of cast type is to the newspaper world what the 80-column keypunch card is to the computer world: a living example of a colorful past.

         Cincinnati's newspaper history is a long and storied one (no pun intended). I am fortunate enough to have been born at a time when I can at least have the memories of a little of its heyday. Originally, at least the oldest time I can remember, Cincinnati had three daily newspapers: The Cincinnati Enquirer, The Cincinnati Post, and The Cincinnati Times-Star. The Enquirer has always been our morning paper, with the Post and the Times-Star being published in the afternoon. I can't remember the year, but the Times-Star was the first paper to succumb to the rivalry; it was bought out by the Post. For many years thereafter the evening paper was known The Cincinnati Post and Times-Star, with that name combination listed on both the masthead and the front page. Finally, in more recent times, the Times-Star portion of the name slowly faded from sight, at least from the front page. I never had the chance to check the masthead. Now, as of December 31, 2007, The Cincinnati Post has joined its former afternoon partner in the annals of newspaper history.

         There was a unique partnership for, I believe, about the last 30 years, that had been achieved in an effort to keep the Post alive. For that recent period, the Post and the Enquirer shared a common printing facility. The Enquirer's editions would go to press in the early morning hours for delivery to homes in time for that breakfast cup of coffee. Then the Post would go to press about 9:30 or so each morning, on the same presses, for it's afternoon delivery.

         In all other aspects, we still had two separate daily papers. That meant we still had two independent editorial staffs, two groups of reporters, writers, and others. Which, to the delight of the public meant that we still had times when the two papers would definitely not agree with each other in their editorials on some important topic, such as local, state and federal election candidates. The two invariably supported different candidates, though on rare occasions we were treated to the surprise of seeing them actually agree on a certain person for a particular office. And, we still had the wonder of watching the general public's reaction when some people agreed with one paper's editorial, and some agreed with the competition. Now that competition has been silenced, and the Cincinnati metro area has only a single editorial voice. That's going to take some getting used to.

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