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Oakland University Student Newspaper


From its opening in Fall 1959 Oakland University had a student newspaper.

The Oakland Observer (1959-1969)


The first student newspaper started operations in North Foundation Hall in Fall 1959.

It published its first issue on October 23.


Front page of first issue of Oakland Observer




In the first nameless issue, charter class students were asked to name the newspaper by choosing from a list of 8 names, among which were "The Oaklandler" and "The Egg Head." They selected a name that was not on the original list: "The Oakland Observer."

The newspaper was written, edited, and published by students under the guidance of OU faculty and staff. Tony Hammer was its first editor. Soon the newspaper moved to its own office in the new student center.

At first, the newspaper was funded by a university subsidy, but starting in 1961 a student publication fee was assessed on all students.

Office of the Oakland Observer


The first issues dealt mostly with student and university concerns, such as students' beards and plans for a student government.

The newspaper slowly moved to the left and became much more political and radical after 1968, when students from the Oakland chapter of the Society for a Democratic Society took control of its editorial policy. Like students on other campuses they expressed their opposition to the Vietnam War and established order, even as the paper continued to cover OU stories.

In Fall 1969, students voted not to continue to be assessed for a student newspaper, which caused the Observer to stop publication in December of that year.


Focus: Oakland (1969-1974)


Front page of last issue of Observer

At the same time, Focus: Oakland started publishing in the fall of 1969. It quickly dropped its magazine-style format to return to the cheaper newsprint.

Financed entirely by sales and advertising revenue, the newspaper had its office in St John Fisher Chapel.

Focus did not shy away from controversial topics and published articles on themes such as "Racism at OU: Myth or Reality?", women's liberation, and national politics.

Its last issue came out in October 1974.


page from Focus encouraging students to vote for student congress elections

Front page of the first issue of Focus


The Oakland Sail (1975-1987)


In the first issue of September 24, 1975, President O'Dowd explained that the Oakland Sail tried to find a model between a fully independent newspaper like Focus and one supported by student fees, like the Observer.

Published bi-weekly, the paper was more focused on issues of interest to OU students - from parking problems to student government .





Front page of first issue of Sail

The Oakland Post (1987-present)


In the fall of 1987 the newspaper changed name again and became The Oakland Post, owned and operated by the Oakland Sail, Inc., a non-profit company that is independent from OU.


Photo of parkin at OU in newspaper


Cover of Oakland Post showing athletes


Photo of basketball game






Digitized OU Student Newspapers in OUR@oakland

"11 Years After," Oakland Observer, Dec. 12, 1969
Focus:Women, Nov. 11, 1970



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Created by Name / Updated on March 12, 2019 by Name

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