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The SIUE Observer began life on December 18, 1978, as an administrative newsletter produced by the Office of the President of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. Editor Pete Simpson, an assistant to the president, wrote in a statement of purpose that the "attention of our columns will be directed to matters of general policy interest, the activities that salt the SIUE calendar, and reportage about all the people who make up our so-called 'community' on the Edwardsville campus." Simpson stated that the Observer intended not "to supercede the Alestle [the student-produced campus newspaper], only to complement it."
Observer editor 1978-1986
Under Simpson's direction, the Observer appeared weekly in an 8 1/2 inch by 11 inch format illustrated with photographs. The publication served primarily as the university administration's channel of communication to the staff, faculty, and students. Although the Observer solicited and accepted submissions from members of the university community, it existed to inform the various constituencies of decisions made by those in authority.
Pete Simpson edited the Observer from late 1978 through 1986. Unfortunately, Simpson then fell ill and began a prolonged but ultimately unsuccessful struggle with cancer. Simpson died on January 12, 1992. During Simpson's illness and subsequent retirement due to his ill health, a number of people contributed to the effort to keep the Observer publishing.
In 1988, Gregory J. Conroy of the University News Services officially succeeded Pete Simpson as the editor of the Observer. Effective March 8, 1988, Conroy and graphic designer Ed Stan gave the Observer a new look within the existing paper format. Then, beginning on January 10, 1989, the Observer switched to a four-page, four-column tab size newspaper format of 11 1/2 inches by 14 1/2 inches and began to publish every second week rather than weekly.
The Observer underwent reinvention once again on August 24, 1993, when it declared itself a "publication of record"; initiated a new sequence of issues with volume one, number one; and began printing in a 17 1/2 inch by 11 1/2 inch format. As a publication of record, the Observer would "keep SIUE employees informed of events and policies...." Editor Greg Conroy noted that the new Observer would highlight "the activities of our faculty and staff through news and information reports, features, profiles, and through publication of policy matters."
Following the issue of March 16, 1999 (volume six, number thirteen), the Observer ceased to appear as a paper publication. Since September 21, 1999, official university news has been distributed online. Researchers may access this information at The O Archives and at SIUE News Archives.
This digital collection was created by Lovejoy Library in 2010. The Project Director was Stephen Kerber, who also wrote the home page text. The original materials are preserved in the Louisa H. Bowen University Archives and Special Collections of Lovejoy Library.
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