For nearly half a century, 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.
We primarily focus on government, politics and social issues, with special emphases on public education, health and welfare, civil liberties and separation of church and state.
We shine the spotlight on rank hypocrisy and public corruption, leading some to call us “the conscience of Oklahoma.”
We speak truth to power, no matter who’s in charge: During Gov. Henry Bellmon’s reign, we were considered too Republican. During Gov. Frank Keating’s era, 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 47 years 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 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 help transition The Observer into the state’s second century. Helen retired in January 2007, and passed away later that year; Frosty retired in early 2013.
The Hamiltons have deep Oklahoma roots: Both are third-generation Okies, raised in Midwest City. They returned to the state for good 27 years 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’ longtime Oklahoma Bureau chief. 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. A one-year subscription [12 issues] is $60.
ARNOLD HAMILTON, EDITOR
Arnold Hamilton became editor of The Oklahoma Observer in September 2006. A 32-year veteran of daily newspapers, Hamilton is a former staff writer for the Dallas Morning News, the San Jose Mercury News, the Dallas Times Herald, the Tulsa Tribune and the Oklahoma Journal.
Much of his career has focused on American politics and government: He covered full-time the state Capitols of Oklahoma, Texas and California, as well as presidential campaigns and national political conventions.
Hamilton spent 18 years as Dallas Morning News Oklahoma Bureau Chief, a regional correspondent and a member of the politics/elections team. Among his notable stories: He covered the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing and twice interviewed convicted bomber Timothy McVeigh. He helped chronicle Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign. And he reported on two major hurricanes in 2005, riding out Katrina in a French Quarter hotel and Rita in a Jasper, Texas radio station.
Born in St. Louis, Mo., Hamilton was raised in Midwest City, Okla. He earned a B.S. in organizational behavior from the University of San Francisco and an M.A. in political science from Oklahoma State University.
He is a two-time winner of a Dallas Press Club Katie Award for reporting excellence. His coverage of the Oklahoma City bombing was featured in the 1996 edition of America’s Best Newspaper Writing. And his reporting on Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh’s conviction was honored – along with the New York Times – by the American Society of Newspaper Editors.
In 1997, Hamilton received the Fran Morris Civil Liberties in Media Award from the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Oklahoma. He also was a member of the Dallas Morning News team honored by the Associated Press Sports Editors for investigative reporting on the 2003 Baylor University basketball scandal that included the murder of player Patrick Dennehy.
In 2011, Hamilton was inducted into the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame, joining The Observer’s founding editor, Frosty Troy, who was honored in 1971.