The Observer: 127 years of news coverage

By Anthony J. Machcinski 

Observer Correspondent 

For over 127 years, The Observer has been the leading resource for news in the area. From Harrison to Lyndhurst, from Kearny to Belleville. During that time, The Observer has sought to bring the latest and most in-depth news coverage.

The Observer began publication on March 14, 1887, when Philip E. Brockway and brothers Bernard and Edward Fredericks put out the first copy of “The Arlington Observer.”

As it evolved over time, The Observer transformed from a four-page, five-column sheet to the 32+ page newspaper distributed throughout the area today.

“The paper has a very good reputation throughout the area,” said Classified Supervisor Natalie Rodriguez. “Try not delivering the paper on time and you better believe that the calls come in. Readers really want that paper.”

While news has remained, well, news, nearly every other aspect of the business has changed, and The Observer changed with it. Brockway and the Fredericks brothers would not be able to fathom the ability to produce a 32-page paper in just a few short hours.

Easily the most telling change has been the integration of new technology, including the internet.

“In regards to our future, the internet has been a hard hit for newspapers all around, but we continue to strengthen our website to reach younger generations,” Rodriguez said.

Continuing to expand its online coverage while not changing the feel of the paper, The Observer recently began running its “e-edition,” which posts on Wednesdays, the same day the print edition hits newsstands.

“Our readers still pick up our print edition,” Rodriguez explained. “We believe the e-edition is just another way for us to reach our younger generations.”

While the readers have certainly reaped the benefits of being well informed about the current events in the area, those who have advertised with the paper have also benefitted from the paper’s popularity.

“We always have returning customers for classified advertisements,” Rodriguez said. “When it comes to larger print ads, there are several customers that have advertised with us for decades. Their loyalty towards us has only benefitted the paper’s reputation.”

Photo by Anthony Machcinski
Photo by Anthony Machcinski


The advertising aspect of the paper has changed throughout the years as much as the paper itself.

“Our promotions are constantly changing to meet the needs of the customers,” Rodriguez said.

The paper has featured a variety of promotions throughout the years, including seasonal promotions.

The addition of the e-edition has also benefitted these advertisers.

“If an advertiser has their website featured on their ad in the paper, online readers will be able to click on the website and be redirected to that customer’s webpage,” Rodriguez added.

While The Observer has changed throughout the years, including several changes in location throughout Kearny, one thing has remained the same – the paper’s reputation for in-depth reporting and quality service and readership throughout West Hudson, South Bergen and East Essex counties.

“We have a strong staff and a strong reputation that has allowed us to continue to service the area for generations,” Rodriguez said.

With a stable presence as the backbone of journalism in the area – and the readership to prove it – Rodriguez believes advertising in the paper is one of the best opportunities for local customers.

“It’s important to advertise with us because we can help them gain customers,” Rodriguez explained. “If people don’t know you are open, they can’t go to your shop. I believe it’s important to keep your name out there. As the saying goes, ‘Out of sight, out of mind.’ ”

The Observer is located at 39 Seeley Ave. in Kearny and is open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Observer services Harrison, East Newark, Kearny, North Arlington, Lyndhurst, Belleville and Nutley.

For more information, visit the paper’s website at or call the paper at 201-991-1600.

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