The Observer (Notre Dame)

The Observer is a student newspaper the University of Notre Dame, Saint Mary's College and Holy Cross College. The Observer is distributed in print across the three campuses and is funded by both advertising revenue and a campus fee paid by students attending Notre Dame, Saint Mary's College, and Holy Cross College.[1]

The Observer
TypeThriceweekly Newspaper
FormatBerliner[citation needed]
Editor-in-chiefAlysa Guffey
Managing editorAidan O'Malley
Founded1966; 57 years ago (1966)
Headquarters024 South Dining Hall, Notre Dame, IN 46556

It is ordinarily published in print on weekdays when the university is in session by a staff of students from Notre Dame, Saint Mary's College and Holy Cross College.[1] Since the outbreak of COVID-19 the newspaper has moved to publishing three days per week.[2] The newspaper is based in the basement of Notre Dame's South Dining Hall.[1]


The Observer, established in 1966, is the oldest student-run newspaper at Notre Dame. According to its website, The Observer is an independent student-run publication and claims to not have any editorial oversight from the University of Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s College, nor Holy Cross College.[1] It has won some awards.[3][4] On 21 August 2020, The Observer received press attention when the newspaper ran a front-page editorial entitled "Don't Make Us Write Obituaries".[5][6][7][8]


Allegations of editorial biasEdit

In 1987, when some students believed that The Observer began to show a conservative bias, a liberal newspaper, Common Sense was published; which has since folded.[9] In 2003, when other students believed that the paper had a left-leaning bias, they started The Irish Rover,[9] a twice-monthly publication that features regular columns from alumni and faculty in addition to coverage of campus matters. As of 2005, The Observer and The Irish Rover were distributed on the campus of the University of Notre Dame.[9]

On October 15, 2020, The Observer ran a front page in which a talk by former Speaker of the House Paul Ryan was placed above a story describing an on-campus event involving Angela Davis.[10] After receiving a single comment[11] on "social media criticizing the page layout for placing greater emphasis on the former speaker’s lecture rather than the legendary Black academic’s."[10] Editor-in-Chief Maria Leontaras and Managing Editor Mariah Rush responded to the criticism in a column dated on October 16, the following day, stating that "[w]hile Ryan’s former position and political stature warrant a top space in a typical newsroom, The Observer is working toward becoming a more socially aware outlet. This means highlighting stories, such as Davis’, that represent historically marginalized communities in our institutions."[10]

"Modern Savagery"Edit

In 1995, The Observer published a letter to the editor by sophomore Nikole Hannah titled "Modern Savagery". In this letter, Hannah wrote that Africans arrived in the New World during the time of the Olmec civilization, a claim which is widely rejected by mainstream anthropologists.[12][13] Tom McLaughlin of The Conway Daily Sun took issue with the letter's accusation that whites are engaged in a conspiracy to pump "drugs and guns into the black community."[14]

"The Legging Problem"Edit

On March 25, 2019, The Observer published a letter to the editor by Maryanne White titled "The Leggings Problem".[15] According to the BBC, White described that "while attending a Mass service at the Catholic university with her family, a group of women in front of her wore 'snug-fitting leggings' and 'short-waisted tops'."[16][17][18][19][20] According to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, "[s]tudents held pro-leggings protests at the University of Notre Dame after a self-described 'Catholic mother of four sons' wrote [the] letter in the student newspaper saying that 'leggings are so naked, so form-fitting, so exposing.'"[21]



  1. ^ a b c d "The Observer". Retrieved August 22, 2020.
  2. ^ Observer Editorial Board (August 12, 2020). "Observer Editorial: Changing with the times". The Observer (Notre Dame).{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  3. ^ "Observer staff wins 23 awards at annual ICPAs". The Notre Dame Observer. April 29, 2020. Retrieved August 22, 2020.
  4. ^ "ICPA Annual Awards Program" (PDF). Indiana Collegiate Press Association. April 29, 2020. Retrieved September 9, 2020.
  5. ^ "Notre Dame's student newspaper runs front-page plea: 'Don't make us write obituaries'". CNN. August 21, 2020. Retrieved August 22, 2020.
  6. ^ "Boston University, other schools deploy robots so campuses can safely reopen during pandemic". NBC News. August 21, 2020. Retrieved September 9, 2020.
  7. ^ "Student papers say administrators share blame for virus outbreaks: 'Don't make us write obituaries'". Washington Post. August 21, 2020. Retrieved September 9, 2020.
  8. ^ "'Don't Make Us Write Obituaries': Student Run Newspaper Pleads With Administrators Amid Reopening". Newsweek. August 21, 2020. Retrieved September 9, 2020.
  9. ^ a b c Cohen, Ed (2005). "The Student Media Frenzy". Notre Dame Magazine. Archived from the original on October 15, 2007. Retrieved December 17, 2007.
  10. ^ a b c Leontaras, Maria; Rush, Mariah (October 15, 2020). "To Doing Better". The Observer.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  11. ^ Zeisloft, Benjamin (October 29, 2020). "Notre Dame student newspaper apologizes for placing Paul Ryan article above social justice advocate article". Campus Reform.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  12. ^ Haslip-Viera G, de Montellano BO, Barbour W. Robbing Native American Cultures: Van Sertima's Afrocentricity and the Olmecs. Current Anthropology. 1997 Jun;38(3):419-41.
  13. ^ Taube, Karl (2004). Olmec Art at Dumbarton Oaks (PDF). Pre-Columbian Art at Dumbarton Oaks, no. 2. Washington, DC: Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection; Trustees of Harvard University. ISBN 978-0-88402-275-6. OCLC 56096117. Archived from the original (PDF online reproduction) on February 27, 2008.
  14. ^ McLaughlin, Tom (July 1, 2020). "Tom McLaughlin: Out of control?". The Conway Daily Sun.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  15. ^ White, Maryanne (March 25, 2019). "The Legging Problem". The Observer.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  16. ^ "Mum's plea for girls to ditch leggings sparks protests". BBC News. March 28, 2019.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  17. ^ Farzan, Antonia (March 28, 2019). "'Think of the mothers of sons': Notre Dame mom begs female students to stop wearing leggings, sparking protests". Washington Post.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  18. ^ Friedman, Vanessa (April 2019). "It's Possible Leggings Are the Future. Deal With It". The New York Times.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  19. ^ Joyce, Kathleen (March 28, 2019). "Mom pleads with Notre Dame female students to stop wearing leggings, sparks backlash". Fox News.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  20. ^ Hall, Ellie (March 29, 2020). "A Mom Wrote A Letter Against Notre Dame Students Wearing Leggings — So Women Wore Them In Protest". Buzzfeed News.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  21. ^ Krischer, Hayley (November 29, 2020). "Leggings, once derided, now uniform of covid". Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  22. ^ a b "More than 50 years of Observer staffer stories // The Observer". The Observer. April 23, 2018. Retrieved January 22, 2021.
  23. ^ Leontaras, Maria; Rush, Mariah (August 12, 2020). "Pulitzer Prize-winning alumna Nikole Hannah-Jones discusses her work, representation in journalism and experiences at Notre Dame". The Observer.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)

External linksEdit