Scholarship founded to honor reporter who passed away

Jim Knippenberg
Jim Knippenberg

Matt Miller - email

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX 19) - Civic leaders from across Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky will come together Monday, April 4th, at The Celestial in Mount Adams to officially launch fund-raising for the newly created Jim Knippenberg Society of Professional Journalists Scholarship Fund at the University of Cincinnati.

When fully endowed, the fund will provide a $2,500 scholarship each year to a journalism student at UC, where Knippenberg studied and taught. He earned two degrees from UC: A bachelor's degree in literature in 1968 and a master's in education in 1971. He had taught a journalism course on reviews and columns at UC since the mid-'90s.

Knippenberg , a 1964 graduate of Elder High School, passed away Nov. 13, 2009, at the age of 63. In his 37 years at The Cincinnati Enquirer, he served many roles as a copy boy (in the 1960s), general news reporter, music writer, entertainment writer, entertainment editor, assistant magazine editor, assistant features editor and gossip columnist.

Nick and Nina Clooney will host the event, which will be highlighted by a silent video of photos of Knip produced by Jim Delaney of Sentimental Productions, stories by his friends and former colleagues, as well as music by Cincinnati song stylist Cybele. The event runs from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.

The scholarship cocktail party also will feature Celestial hors d'oeuvres, a cash bar and networking among some of Cincinnati's most influential leaders and creative talents. The organizing committee includes: Mary Armor, Chair; Skip Allen, Rob Cardosi, Alex Coolidge, Nick and Nina Clooney, Jim Delaney, Jackie Demaline, Joe Fenton, Dianne Gebhardt-French, Dennis Hackett, Jon Hughes, Eileen Kelley, Patrick Korb, John Kiesewetter, Todd Margolis, Margaret McGurk, Ran Mullins, John Reiter, Chris Thomson and Howard Wilkinson.

"When we brainstormed launching the scholarship fund in honor of Knip, we all agreed it had to be a party to remember," said longtime friend Mary Armor. "After all, it wasn't a true party in Cincinnati if Knip wasn't in attendance with his notebook, taking down names that would show up in his column a few days later in bold print. He brought excitement and energy to every entertainment venue and countless cocktail parties across Cincinnati."

Knippenberg, whose Psst! gossip column for The Enquirer featured the likes of Bob Hope, Rosemary Clooney, Billy Joel, Judy Collins, Anthony Munoz, Bootsy Collins and Alice Cooper, all while giving paparazzi a good name. "I blab about everything I hear and see on the party and bar circuit," he would say. "I like to think Psst! is a lively mix of names, faces, people, events and here and there a dash of gossip." He received more than 50 phone tips a day, about 20 percent from anonymous callers. His Rolodex was so coveted in the newsroom, when he retired from The Enquirer in 2008, editors demanded that he leave it behind.

Admission to the event can be purchased online at four news-making levels: Copy Boy, $50; Reporter, $100; Editor, $200; and Publisher, $500.00. Donations are tax-deductible. To purchase a ticket or donate, go to: More information is available to the public by emailing or calling Cardosi at 513.556.6435.

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