For 52 years, The Oklahoma Observer has served as the state’s only journal of free voices, providing news, analysis, and commentary that can’t be found in Oklahoma’s uniformly conservative mainstream media. Our motto: To comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.
Focusing primarily on political and social issues within our government and society, we aim to shine a light on rank hypocrisy and public corruption. Our hard hitting pieces on public education reform, health and welfare, civil liberties and separation of church and state have lead to some referring to us as “the conscience of Oklahoma.”
We speak truth to power, no matter who’s in charge: During Governor Henry Bellmon’s era, we were considered too Republican. During Governor Mary Fallin’s recently-completed term, we were attacked as too Democratic. At times, they’ve thrown darts at us at both political headquarters.
When Father John Joyce launched The Oklahoma Observer more than a half century ago, it was financed primarily through a subsidy from the Catholic Archdiocesan Council. But, church leaders yanked their support because of Father Joyce’s vigorous opposition to the Vietnam War.
Rather than accept The Observer’s demise, Father Joyce offered to sell it to the Frosty Troy, the Tulsa Tribune’s state Capitol correspondent. Frosty and his wife, Helen, agreed to the acquisition, beginning the paper’s transformation into Oklahoma’s premier independent journal of commentary.
For 36 years, Helen served as publisher and Frosty as editor, an unbeatable combination that produced an impressive list of state and national awards. In September 2006, Frosty and Helen partnered with Arnold and Beverly Hamilton to transition The Observer into the state’s second century. Helen retired in January 2007, and died later that year; Frosty retired in early 2013 and died Jan. 19, 2017.
The Hamiltons have deep Oklahoma roots: Both are third-generation Okies, raised in Midwest City. They returned to the state for good three decades ago, after living in California and Texas. Before becoming Observer publisher, Beverly spent nearly six years as a financial secretary at Edmond Santa Fe High School. Arnold was the Dallas Morning News’ Oklahoma Bureau chief for nearly two decades. He also covered government and politics for the San Jose Mercury News, the Dallas Times Herald, the Tulsa Tribune and the Oklahoma Journal.
The Observer is published monthly. You can access The Oklahoma Observer online at our website: okobserver.org