The Observer-Dispatch 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 GateHouse Media.
Eliasaph Dorchester founded the weekly Utica Observer in 1817. The Observer became a daily newspaper in 1848 and, after several mergers with other newspapers, became the Observer-Dispatch in 1922. That was also the year the paper was purchased by Frank E. Gannett, who founded the Gannett Company. Gannett owned the newspaper until 2007, when it was purchased by GateHouse Media.
For a time, two daily papers were published – the Daily Press in the morning and the Observer-Dispatch in the afternoon, and those newspapers were awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service in 1959 for an investigation into local corruption. The two newspapers merged into a single, seven-day morning publication, the Observer-Dispatch, in 1987.
The company added digital delivery of news and information in January 2000 with the launch of uticaOD.com. It began online video publication in 2006.
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. In Herkimer County, the Observer-Dispatch competes with its sister newspapers, The Telegram of Herkimer, and The Times of Little Falls.