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OHIO celebrates 'Scripps Day' in Cincinnati

Cincinnati -- home of E.W. Scripps Company -- proclaimed September 6 "Scripps Day" to honor 100 years of journalism instruction at Ohio University and the deep bench of alums from E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Cincinnati-area media. Scripps alum John Kiesewetter (BSJ '75), an award-winning reporter based in Cincinnati, submitted this report on "Scripps Day" focusing on the strong ties between Cincinnati and Ohio University.

When you see or hear news about Greater Cincinnati – on a local news site, TV, radio or printed publication – there's a very good chance a graduate of Ohio University's E.W. Scripps School of Journalism was involved with the report.

Scripps 100th anniversary logo

Ohio University journalists have flourished reporting news, sports and weather throughout Cincinnati media. The centennial of journalism instruction at Ohio University (1923-2023) was celebrated in Cincinnati September 6 with Mayor Aftab Pureval and the City Council proclaiming
it "Scripps Day" at a City Hall ceremony. Prior to the Cincinnati Reds game later that day, Ohio University was recognized on the field, as Ohio University alumna Sheila Gray (BSC '86) and Randi Rico (BSJ '03) threw first pitches to catchers Frank Marzullo and Evan Millward (BSJ '11). 

Bobcats work all over Greater Cincinnati. By my count, more than 130 OU grads – including 10 editors of student-run The Post -- have worked in Greater Cincinnati media since I joined the Cincinnati Enquirer in 1975 immediately after earning a journalism degree at OU.  They write for the Enquirer, Cincinnati Business Courier, Butler County's Journal-News,
The Associated Press; and they work in front of or behind the microphones at WCPO-TV, WKRC-TV, WLWT-TV, WXIX-TV and WVXU-FM; or produce and update stories for their websites.

"There's no doubt that there have been more OU grads at WCPO-TV than any other school," said John Popovich (BSC '73), retired Channel 9 sports director who joined the station in 1979, five years before a Scripps Howard Foundation gift created E.W. Scripps Hall at Ohio University. Since 2006, Ohio University's College of Communication also carries the Scripps name.

"I always got the impression that my OU background made me more attractive when I applied to WCPO-TV. Channel 9 has had OU grads in every capacity: news, sports, sales, engineering and management," said Popovich, who retired in 2019 after 40 years at the station.

The list of Ohio University grads working in Cincinnati media today is very impressive: News anchors Gray (WKRC-TV) and Millward (WCPO-TV); meteorologists Rico Marzullo (WLWT-TV), and Ethan Emery (BS '18) (WXIX-TV); reporters Dan Horn (BSJ '88), Sue Kiesewetter (BSJ '79) (Enquirer), Howard Wilkinson and me (WVXU-FM), Abby Miller (BSJ, BA '22) (Business Courier), Lauren Pack (BSJ '82) (Journal-News), Chelsea Sick (BSJ '18) (WKRC-TV), Anna Azallion (BSJ '21) and Taylor Nimmo (BSJ '19) (WCPO-TV); projects editor Nikki Kingery (BSJ ‘95) (Business Courier); and sports reporters Paul Dehner Jr. (BSJ '03) (The Athletic), Mitch Stacy (BSJ '84) (Associated Press) Shelby Dermer (BSJ '17) (Enquirer), Laurel Pfahler (BSJ '04) (Journal-News, Dayton Daily News) and Jay Morrison (BSJ '91) (

So, too, is the list of OU grads who got a major boost early in their careers in Greater Cincinnati – notably NBC NFL expert Peter King (BSJ '79), Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Clarence Page (BSJ '69), Bloomberg White House correspondent Greg Korte (BSJ, BA '94) and award-winning photographer Natalie Fobes (BSJ '78) – and those who spent most of their careers in the Queen City: TV reporters Tom McKee (BSJ '73) and Larry Davis (BSC ’11); Cincinnati AP sportswriter Joe Kay (BSJ '77); Enquirer political columnist (and former Associated Press Cincinnati correspondent) Dan Sewell (BSJ ' 78); former WLW-AM news anchors Kathy Lehr (BSC '79) and Bill Ridenour; and Ken Broo (BSC '74) the TV sports anchor-turned-WLW-AM radio talk show.

"I always thought it was interesting that four guys who were on staff together at WOUB – Tom McKee, Ken Broo, John Popovich and myself – worked in Cincinnati TV up until our retirement," said Larry Davis, who retired from CBS affiliate WKRC-TV in 2018 after 43 years in Cincinnati television and radio.

Some Scripps School grads have matriculated from newsrooms into offices throughout Greater Cincinnati, such as WCPO-TV alumni Deb Silverman (BSJ '97) (GE Aerospace), Bryce Anslinger (BSJ '04) (Cincinnati Children’s Hospital), Liz Foreman (BSJ ‘98)  (Cincinnati and Hamilton County Public Library) and Mike Canan (BSJ ‘02) (Scripps Howard Fund and Scripps Howard Foundation); and former Enquirer reporter Roz Florez (BSJ '74)  (recently retired Hamilton County Domestic Relations Court magistrate and Dispute Resolution Center director) and sportswriter Neil Schmidt (BSJ '93) (Kroger).

Public relations leader Jackie Reau (BSJ '92) is co-founder and CEO of Game Day Communications in Cincinnati; she earned a Masters degree in Sports Administration in 2012.

In the 1970s and '80s, OHIO's Journalism School routinely sent undergraduates to the Cincinnati Enquirer, which hired a dozen paid summer interns as reporters, photographers and copy editors. Five editors of The Post (Dan Sewell (BSJ '78), Scott Stephens (BSJ '81), Byron White (BSJ '87), Laralyn Sasaki Dearing (BSJ '86) and myself (BSJ '75) got their start as Enquirer interns.  A WCPO-TV internship brought McKee to Cincinnati in the summer of 1973.

"OU interns were essentially considered summer relief by the station. There was no learning curve per se. We were expected to perform from day one. The first day of my internship, I was sent out with a photographer to shoot a package on a Civil War reenactment," said McKee, who was hired full-time six months later after completing his final semester in Athens. He retired in 2018.

Many Scripps grads work behind the scenes as TV news producers and newsroom managers, such as the late Bill Hager, a 25-year producer and managing editor at WLWT-TV. Gray, a WOUB alum, worked with many Scripps graduates at Fox affiliate WXIX-TV (1999-2013) before joining WKRC-TV (2014).

The City of Cincinnati officially proclaimed Sept. 6, 2023, as "Scripps Day"
The City of Cincinnati officially proclaimed Sept. 6, 2023, as "Scripps Day." Photo courtesy of Ken Klein.

"Two of the producers on Good Morning Cincinnati with me right now are Scripps grads, Will Meyer (BSJ, '21) and Amber Dossenback (BSC, '22). We also have other Bobcats in roles on the air, in our digital department, and our sales department," said Gray, who credits her career success to the "real world, hands-on experience from news writing to on-air performance" at OU. She's part of an alumni group "actively working to carry forward the tradition of providing connections, mentoring, and career guidance" to OU students and graduates.

"Because of the Scripps School of Journalism, employers know the quality of OU students," said McKee, longtime Greater Cincinnati Society of Professional Journalists officer and board member "They know the training they've had, the opportunity to come right out of school and perform well in print or broadcast. The fact that Scripps is based in Cincinnati -- and is always looking for quality candidates for its newsrooms at 60 television stations -- is a good pipeline for OU students."

Kevin Luginbill (BSC '86) started at NBC affiliate WLWT-TV right out of college working the morning news teleprompter before becoming a TV news photographer. His favorite job was operating the News 5 satellite truck for Reds spring training, other sporting events, and the NBC News channel.

"If breaking news occurred (in the Midwest), NBC would call on us first to … do live shots for a lot of NBC affiliates around the country," Luginbill says.

Reporter Anne Saker (BSC '81) was one of many "Posties" who snagged an Enquirer summer internship in the early 1980s.

"Cincinnati held an allure for those of us who worked at The Post. There was opportunity here," said Saker, who returned to the Enquirer in 2014 after writing for United Press International, the News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C., and The Oregonian in Portland. Saker and Dan Horn were part of the Enquirer team which produced the "Seven Days of Heroin" series which won the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for local reporting.

"Cincinnati sent many OU-bred journalists, including me, out into the world sharper and smarter for their time in the Queen City," Saker said. "In return, Cincinnati received the eyes and ears of OU-trained reporters who were determined to make the city a better place. And they did."

John Kiesewetter (BSJ '75), TV/Media reporter for Cincinnati Public Radio's WVXU-FM and, has been writing about Cincinnati media for 38 years. He worked 40 years at the Cincinnati Enquirer before joining WVXU-FM in 2015. He was editor of The Post in 1975.

September 7, 2023
By John Kiesewetter (BSJ '75)