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Utica Observer-Dispatch building, Utica New York.jpg
Former Observer-Dispatch building
TypeDaily newspaper
EditorSheila Rayam
Founded1817, as Utica Observer
Headquarters221 Oriskany Plaza, Utica, New York, United States
Circulation28,063 Daily
35,845 Sunday
(March 2013)[1]
Sister newspapersThe Times Telegram
OCLC number10886202

The Observer-Dispatch (The O-D) is the largest newspaper serving the Utica-Rome metropolitan area in Central New York, circulating in Oneida County, Herkimer County, and parts of Madison County. Based in Utica, New York, the publication is owned by Gannett.


Newsboys for one of the precursors of The Observer-Dispatch in 1910, photographed by Lewis Hine

Eliasaph Dorchester founded the weekly Utica Observer in 1817. The paper briefly moved to Rome, New York and published under the name of the Oneida Observer, but returned to Utica after. The paper consolidated with the Utica Democrat in 1852, bringing with it long-time editor Dewitt C. Grove, who simultaneously served as mayor of Utica from 1860 to 1862. The Observer's facilities were destroyed in 1884 by a fire.[2] Construction began in 1914 on a new office for the Observer, which was completed in 1915.[3] The two-story building was expanded to three stories in 1930, with the name "Utica Observer-Dispatch" engraved in the stone above the third story windows.[4]

In 1922 the paper was purchased by Frank E. Gannett, founder of the Gannett Company. Gannett purchased the Herald-Dispatch at the same time and combined the two, creating the Utica Observer-Dispatch.[3] Gannet also purchased the Utica Daily Press in 1935. The Utica Daily Press and the Utica Observer-Dispatch merged in 1987, and were renamed to the current Observer-Dispatch.[5] Gannett owned the newspaper until 2007, when it was purchased by GateHouse Media.[6] GateHouse Media's parent company merged with Gannett in 2019, returning the Observer-Dispatch to Gannett once more.[7]

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, the O-D had a weekly Bosnian language column serving the Bosnian American population in Utica.[8][9]

The company added digital delivery of news and information in January 2000 with the launch of It began online video publication in 2006.[citation needed]

In 2004, the Observer-Dispatch purchased the Mid York Weekly newspaper, serving Hamilton, New York, and seven weekly Pennysaver publications, which are mailed throughout Oneida and Herkimer counties.[citation needed] The Observer-Dispatch shares an editor with The Times Telegram, a sister Gannett paper in nearby Herkimer County.[10]

In March 2022, the Observer-Dispatch building was purchased by a real estate investment group.[4][11]


The Utica Daily Press and the Utica Observer-Dispatch were jointly awarded the 1959 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service:[12]

For their successful campaign against corruption, gambling and vice in their home city and the achievement of sweeping civic reforms in the face of political pressure and threats of violence.


  1. ^ "Total Circ for US Newspapers". Alliance for Audited Media. March 31, 2013. Archived from the original on March 6, 2013. Retrieved August 22, 2013.
  2. ^ Wager, Daniel E (1896). Our county and its people: a descriptive work on Oneida County, New York. Salem, Mass.: Higginson Book Company. pp. 355–356. OCLC 317926894.
  3. ^ a b Nelson., Greene (1925). History of the Mohawk Valley : gateway to the West, 1614-1925, covering the six counties of Schenectady, Schoharie, Montgomery, Fulton, Herkimer and Oneida. Vol. 3. S.J. Clarke Pub. Co. pp. 261–262. OCLC 866075217.
  4. ^ a b Harris, Edward (March 4, 2022). "O-D building in downtown Utica sold to The Mohawk Observer, LLC". Observer-Dispatch. Retrieved March 7, 2022.
  5. ^ "Utica Observer-Dispatch". The encyclopedia of New York State. Peter R. Eisenstadt, Laura-Eve Moss (1 ed.). Syracuse, N.Y.: Syracuse University Press. 2005. p. 1629. ISBN 0-8156-0808-X. OCLC 57506556.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: others (link)
  6. ^ Gamela, Renée (April 13, 2007). "Utica-based newspaper sold after 85 years with Gannett". Observer-Dispatch.
  7. ^ Tracy, Marc (November 19, 2019). "Gannett, Now Largest U.S. Newspaper Chain, Targets 'Inefficiencies'". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved March 2, 2022.
  8. ^ Percy Kraly, Ellen; VanValkenburg, Kristin (2010). "Refugee resettlement in Utica, New York: Opportunities and Issues for Community Development". In Frazier, John W. (ed.). Multicultural geographies : the changing racial/ethnic patterns of the United States. Florence M. Margai, John W. Frazier. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press. p. 145. ISBN 978-1-4384-3683-8. OCLC 793202791.
  9. ^ Race and ethnic relations, 05/06. John A. Kromkowski. Dubuque, Iowa.: McGraw-Hill/Dushkin. 2005. p. 3. ISBN 0-07-305378-3. OCLC 62235542.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: others (link)
  10. ^ Kilian, Michael (March 22, 2021). "Sheila Rayam to lead Gannett's Mohawk Valley newsrooms". Utica Observer Dispatch. Retrieved March 2, 2022.
  11. ^ "Downstate investment group new owner of former Utica OD building". WKTV NewsChannel2. March 4, 2022. Retrieved March 7, 2022.
  12. ^ "1959 Pulitzer Prize Winners & Finalists". Retrieved March 7, 2022.

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