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The Charlotte Observer
CharlotteObserverTuesday6-16 0000.png
The June 16, 2009 front page of
The Charlotte Observer
Type Daily newspaper
Format Broadsheet
Owner The McClatchy Company
Publisher Ann Caulkins
Editor Rick Thames
Founded 1886
Headquarters 600 South Tryon Street
Charlotte, North Carolina 28202  United States
Circulation 187,633 Daily
244,494 Sunday[1]
Official website

The Charlotte Observer, serving Charlotte, North Carolina and its metro area, is the largest newspaper, in terms of circulation, in North and South Carolina. It is owned by The McClatchy Company.



The Observer primarily serves Charlotte and Mecklenburg County and the surrounding counties of Iredell, Cabarrus, Union, Lancaster, York, Gaston, Catawba, and Lincoln. It publishes local sections for each of these outlying counties and for specific neighborhoods within Mecklenburg. The newspaper's circulation covers over 40 counties in North and South Carolina.

Like most daily newspapers, circulation at The Charlotte Observer has been declining for many years. The most recent period (Spring 2008) showed a 2% decline in circulation and a 4% decline in revenue compared to the prior year.[2] Advertising revenue has been declining at rates between 15% to 20% annually in recent years.

In addition to its main bureau in Charlotte, the paper operates six regional bureaus in Hickory, Gastonia, Concord, Monroe, and Cornelius, and Fort Mill, South Carolina. It has offices in the state capitals of North and South Carolina: Raleigh and Columbia, respectively. The Observer also has an office in Washington, D.C.

The newspaper has an online presence at, and its staff also oversees a popular NASCAR news website,, and a corresponding syndicated feature, That's Racin'. The paper's television partner is WCNC-TV.

The Observer employs approximately 700 employees, down from over 1,200 at its peak, mostly in its downtown Charlotte office. The Charlotte Observer has started layoffs and buyouts to reduce costs in an effort to survive the changing business environment for newspapers. The current round of layoffs was approximately 88 employees in March 2009. This follows a prior round of 75 layoffs in September 2008.


The paper was founded in 1869 and was purchased by Knight Newspapers in 1955. Knight merged with Ridder Publications to form Knight Ridder in 1974. The Observer eventually became the fourth-largest newspaper in the Knight Ridder chain (behind The Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News, Detroit Free Press and Miami Herald).

In 1959, The Observer purchased The Charlotte News, Charlotte's afternoon newspaper. All operations were merged except editorial content, which was fused in 1983. The Observer ended circulation of the afternoon News in 1985.

The paper has won four Pulitzer Prizes, but nothing since 1988.

McClatchy purchased most of Knight Ridder's newspapers, including The Observer, in 2006. This made The Observer a sister publication of the state's second-largest paper, The News and Observer of Raleigh; and of The Herald of Rock Hill, the primary newspaper for the South Carolina side of the metro area. As of spring 2008, it is the fifth-largest newspaper in the McClatchy chain (behind The Kansas City Star, Miami Herald, Sacramento Bee and Fort Worth Star-Telegram).

Pulitzer Prizes

The Charlotte Observer headquarters

See also


External links


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