News: Post-Post

Scenes from a newspaper's last day

Jan 9, 2008 at 2:06 pm
Jon Hughes/

Dec. 31, 2007: The final edition of The Cincinnati Post.

Some have plans, sketchy at best. Some want to stay in town, even knowing the media possibilities are limited. Some planned to decompress.

Peggy Kreimer, a 34-year veteran of The Kentucky Post and The Cincinnati Post, put it this way: "There are times when I'm going to feel it. After a week or so it will hit home: I'm not going back to work."

Well, it's been a week. New Year's Eve was the last day for The Post. The next day the doors would close at 125 E. Court St. downtown. (Also see former Post sportswriter Bill Peterson's reflections.)

Rick Bird, who covered TV and the local music scene, loaded up boxes of files and headed for the elevator. Jim Osborn, a veteran photographer, bounced around the newsroom in a tuxedo.

Randy Cochran, who retired several years ago, came up from Rabbit Hash and told stories about the legendary Kentucky Post editor, Vance Trimble, who now lives in Oklahoma and is 94 years old.

Bob Hahn, The Post's head librarian, said plans are for the newspaper's enormous library of clips and photograph files to be curated at the Cincinnati Museum Center.

A string quartet organized by Tom Consolo, a copy editor, played in a corner of the newsroom. Kreimer collected signatures on the front page of the Farewell Edition. Dan Andriacco, spokesman for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, walked over from the Archdiocese offices around the corner to say goodbye. He started at The Post as a copyboy in the late 1960s and left in 1997 as business editor.

No one cried. Some may have wanted to.

"I've not had to look for a job in some time, so I'm kind of rusty at it," Kevin Eigelbach, a Post reporter for six years, said the weekend before the closing. "I'm just very depressed about it all. It's just too bad. On the other hand, it's been a real drag going into work the past six months, so in a way I'll feel kind of relieved."

Greg Paeth, a talented and versatile reporter who's worked a number of beats at both Posts since 1974, will turn 60 in August. What are his plans?

"My smart-ass answer is that I'm going to be devoting myself full-time to the New Yorker cartoon caption contest," he said. "The real answer is I'm going to be job hunting. I don't want to retire. I really want to do something. It's a strange thing. On Tuesday or Wednesday (after the paper closes) you're tempted to think of the stories you're going to be working on, and all of a sudden you realize you're not going to be doing that."

Mel Grier, one of the city's premier photojournalists, who had been with The Post since 1974, said among his plans are teaching and spending more time this summer in his garden.

"My plans are to continue my interest in photojournalism with a couple of personal projects that are works in progress," he said. "Video is a particular interest to me. To that end I'll be taking at least one course in editing, so I can continue with a couple of documentary projects that I have going."

Kreimer, who had been covering health and social service issues, has sent resumes to hospitals, foundations, corporations and agencies looking for something in public relations and communications.

"When The Post closes," she said a few days before it closed, "Peggy Kreimer will virtually disappear. My married name is Peggy Hodgson, so people might have a difficult time finding me. I'm sending resumes all over."

Lonnie Wheeler, who had been with The Post since 1999 and was the sports columnist, said he has no firm plans but doesn't necessarily find unemployment daunting. Before 1999, he spent 15 years working on projects and wrote several books, among them, The Cincinnati Game, (with John Baskin) a remarkable book on the history of the Cincinnati Reds.

"Having that background, it'll be a somewhat familiar feeling," Wheeler said. "We'd prefer to stay here. My wife works at (Northern Kentucky University). In terms of writing opportunities locally, it's really difficult. I'd listen to different things. I'd like to get into something like sports administration. I'd be willing to switch gears and look at other things."

Rick Bird started freelancing at The Post in 1992 and had worked full-time the past seven years.

"Personally, I plan to freelance and keep my fingers in the local music scene," he said. "There are other monthly and weekly publications in town. I want to stay in town. When you have an expertise as I do about a niche field, you would think there are some publications that are interested in stories I could generate. The bottom line is I've written about the music scene for a long time. Now I'll finally learn what it's like to work for a musician's wages."

Robert White, who edited the editorial pages at The Post, will begin teaching journalism as an adjunct at the University of Cincinnati this week.

"It was good to have two different sounding boards," he said. "We didn't have the circulation The Enquirer did, but I don't know that even mattered in terms of whatever extent a newspaper can alter a course of events. If you make a good argument, you make a good argument, regardless of how big the paper is.

"Cincinnati has been fortunate to have two voices for as long as it has."