Newspaper celebrates 140 years of service
YATES COUNTY--The Observer reaches the milestone of 140 years of publishing during 2018.
The Dundee Observer was founded in 1878 and has continuously published through two World Wars, the Great Depression, a number of international conflicts and two recessions during this time.
The award-winning weekly newspaper has grown in size and coverage since the 1990s and now serves the area with an office in both Dundee and Penn Yan.
George Lawson, president and publisher of The Observer, said, "The success of the newspaper is due to the readers, the advertisers and many terrific staffers. We have a very loyal group and so many people look forward to each edition every week."
New York State Assemblyman Phil Palmesano said, "The Observer has been an institution in Yates County for 140 years. Whether covering local politics, high school sports or other events, highlights and achievements, The Observer has been, and will continue to be, an important part of the Yates County community and surrounding region. I, for one, look forward to reading the weekly edition of The Observer for important news and information to help let me know what's happening right here. Congratulations and thank you to all those who have worked so hard over the past 140 years to make The Observer more than just a weekly newspaper, but even more, a vital part of the fabric of this incredible community so many call home."
David Bellin, a Dundee author and retired media executive, said, "The Observer has certainly earned a moment to celebrate its 140-year history and George Lawson his 20 years as publisher. As an area resident for 40-plus years, I've seen The Observer grow from a few weekly items to today's extensive and thorough coverage of--and consistent service to --the Dundee community. I especially admire the good, old-fashioned shoe-leather coverage that produces so many important Observer stories."
Lawson purchased the newspaper in 1998. He then purchased the Watkins Glen REVIEW&EXPRESS about six months later in the same year. Lawson left an executive position as publisher with a group of three daily newspapers to move with his family to the Finger Lakes. Lawson recalls, "When we moved here in 1998 my wife (Debbie) worked at Arnot Hospital in Elmira as a neonatal nurse and our son (Brandon) was 9 years old." Today, Debbie is the business manager of the two-newspaper operation and their son is 29 years old and is in charge of many parts of the newspaper business. Lawson said, "Brandon joined the business full-time after he graduated from Hobart College." The family business is also fortunate to have loyal and dedicated staffers. Lawson said, "Rikki Marcin has been a mainstay with our company since we started in 1998 and recently Donna Wilbur retired after serving with the papers for more than 20 years. Clara Pinckney has been a correspondent for the paper for 45 years, since 1973."
The Observer has been recognized nationally for photography and news coverage. The newspaper is a member of the National Newspaper Association and the New York Press Association.
Assemblyman Palmesano said the state will be presenting The Observer with a resolution from the legislature marking 140 years of community service later this year.