The Cincinnati Enquirer prepares to move to a new office location
With a 30-year lease expiring at 312 Elm Street, staffers say the newsroom is moving a block away to 312 Plum Street.
The Cincinnati Enquirer newsroom is empty. Reporters and editors moved from the 19th floor of 312 Elm Street last week to the 18th floor in preparation for a move to a new office a block away.
Planning started months ago as the 30-year lease expires in the office tower overlooking the Bengals stadium at Third and Elm streets.
Staffers say that the offices for Cincinnati.com and the Enquirer will move one block west, to one floor in a smaller building at 312 Plum St. The Enquirer originally leased five floors in 1992, when it moved from 617 Vine Street to become the signature tenant of the new office tower at 312 Elm St.
Beryl Love, executive editor/market leader, told me recently that it was premature "to go on the record with details. Once all the paperwork is in order we’ll have a story and I’ll answer any questions you have," he said.
Since the summer, Enquirer staffers have been preparing for the move into smaller quarters, as the staff has shrunk over the years and with many reporters and editors working from home.
Books published by the Enquirer 20 years ago, and other unsold merchandise, were stacked in the vacant southeast corner which once housed the long-gone Tempo section. Office furniture was offered to St. Vincent De Paul.
The paper photographs in the Enquirer library have been boxed up for delivery to the Cincinnati and Hamilton County Public Library, which will eventually digitize them.
A lot has changed since the news organization moved from Vine Street in the summer of 1992 and filled five floors in the new building. Owner Gannett has consolidated many functions regionally or nationally. Pages are laid out at regional design hubs.
The shift of home and automobile sales to the internet, followed by many other advertisers, nuked the traditional newspaper business model. As print advertising and circulation dropped, so did the number of people working in the newsroom. Eight years ago, I left the Enquirer in December 2014 with 26 other journalists — including almost all the copydesk — in a reorganization which eliminated many of the traditional news beats, including the TV/Media column.
Below is the picture I took early one morning before I left.
Since then the Enquirer has focused on delivering news and information 24/7 on a variety of platforms, including its Cincinnati.com website, mobile apps and social media channels. However, the revenue from digital subscribers — and online advertising — has not made up for the losses in print edition circulation and advertising revenues.
Gannett, the nation's largest newspaper chain with more than 200 papers, in March eliminated home-delivered Saturday newspapers for the Enquirer and many other papers, a growing trend in the newspaper industry. But subscribers can read a full digital replica of the Saturday newspaper at Cincinnati.com filled with local news, sports, advertising, comics and puzzles.
It's been a tough five months for Gannett. After announcing it had lost $54 million on revenues of $749 million during the second quarter, the company had eliminated about 1,000 positions; temporarily suspended matching contributions to employee 401(k) accounts; and ordered all employees to take one week of unpaid leave this month.