Local News

Passing the Paper to a New Crew

The all volunteer-produced Fullerton Observer was started over 42 years ago by my parents, the late Ralph and Natalie Kennedy, and a group of friends including Roy and Irene Kobayashi, who are the only remaining founders still working on the paper. Over the years it has attracted many excellent writers and behind-the-scenes contributors.

Over twenty years ago I inherited the editor/publisher position at the Fullerton Observer from my father, the founding editor/publisher. He had spent the last year of his life teaching me how to run the not-for-profit organization and I have felt much joy in carrying it on along with all the wonderful contributors.

A few years ago I realized that for the paper to continue into the next generation it would need a younger crew. The paper has many moving parts and each contributor helps make it the treasure it is for our town so I needed to find the right person to head it. I invited a long-table group of the most interesting people who I hoped would be up to the mission. Everyone was interested in contributing but only one person stepped up to actually learn how to run the organization. That person is Jesse La Tour.

Though Jesse had many interests at the time, including being a busy college English professor, founder of Fullerton ArtWalk, head of Hibbleton Art Gallery, and more, he carved out time to learn the job over the past few years and I am now officially retiring and passing the Editor position on to him. I feel the paper is in good hands as it moves into the next generation and then generations to come.

Another key player in the new crew is Mehul Desai, who is responsible for bringing us into the 21st century with our new and improved web site, and handling the business side of the Observer.

The current Observer crew includes new members and longtime contributors, including our wonderful new copy editor Terry Hendricks, excellent proofreader Christine Romer, and veteran reporters Jane Rands and Matthew Leslie.

Other invaluable crew members include Jane Buck, Marjorie Kerr, Leslie Allen, Jere Greene, Mike Ritto, Jan Youngman, Vivien Moreno, Francine Vudoti, Jonathan Dobrer, Valerie Brickey, Terry Galvin, Sarah Mosko, Penny Hlavac, Joyce Mason, Angela Hatcher, and Emerson Little.

“We look forward to continuing to bring you in-depth and honest local news,” La Tour said.

14 replies »

  1. Hi David: Thank you for writing on this important issue upon which we clearly disagree. I’m not sure that I “know more than the entire Supreme Court.” In fact, I’m largely in agreement with three sitting Justices. In terms of presenting both sides: Well, I have a point of view, as do you, as does Chris. By printing Chris’ point of view, we, in fact, did present both sides. I think it’s fine to represent a generally liberal viewpoint, as it is fine that a conservative viewpoint is disseminated by other papers, web site & TV stations. I read and have been a fan of a considerable number of conservatives and do. not begrudge them expressing their reasoned and passionate positions. I don’t read just to find agreement but to stimulate my own process.

  2. Jon Dobrer, in August issue thinks he knows more than the Supreme court. He is so liberal ,as is the whole observer, the adoration issue is simply being passed to the states. I do believe if adoration had always been with the states, and now being taken back to the Supreme Court, he would be complaining. Chris Milord, your letter to Jon, is right on, why can’t Jon present both sides of what the court was faced with? Also Phil, from Fullerton, you also asked “ why can’t the Observer maintain integrity and report unbiased information. David Robbins Fullerton

  3. Thanks, Sharon. You have done a fantastic job! Enjoy retirement! Thanks, too, for preparing the next generation to accept the torch. We love the Observer! – Marcy and Rick Fry

    • Thank you for all the wonderful messages here about the Fullerton Observer, my dad Ralph Kennedy, and my own participation in the paper as I pass operations on to the new crew Jesse, Saskia, Matt and Mehul – and the ongoing dedicated core members.

  4. Heartiest of congratulations on your retirement, Sharon! Thank you for taking the torch from your parents. When I was in college in the 1990s, your dad let me work as a Fullerton Observer intern, my first non-school job in journalism. I’m still working in the industry, thankfully, in no small part because of Mr. Kennedy’s encouragement. I’m glad you have found a new editor to pass the torch to. Looking forward to many more years of reading the paper!

  5. Whenever I read Sharon’s articles in the Fullerton Observer, they were eloquently written with correct grammar and syntax. Conversely, the content of her articles repetition of mainstream newspaper articles, no personal observations or insights attached to them. My question to the soon to be retired editor of Fullerton Observer, Sharon, who “guided” the writing of your articles?

    Why don’t you submit an accurate biography of your life that qualified you to be editor of the Fullerton Observer as it would inspire those who read it.

  6. “Small enough to tell the truth.” This was not just a motto but the reality of the Observer. Sharon has more guts and journalistic integrity than any other editor I’ve ever worked with. She printed some of my op-eds with which she deeply disagreed. Smart, Honorable and Committed that’s Sharon Kennedy.

  7. Happy retirement, Sharon! Thanks for the community service of a local newspaper!

  8. Thanks Sharon for your long, sincere dedication to keeping your parents’ interest in the Fullerton community alive. Enjoy your retirement!

  9. Thanks to Sharon for giving city of Fullerton’s community a few good laughs. Sharon had the audacity to hope people were gullible and would believe what this “newspaper” shoveled to the public.

    • Hello, Hilda. I do not agree with the “Liberal” viewpoint of the Observer, but I have great admiration for Sharon Kennedy’s integrity, and feel certain that Fullerton is a better place simply because the “Powers-That-Be” knew they always had Kennedy – and her readers! – watching (OBSERVING !) and bearing witness to their actions. Slanted Left it is, but the facts diligently gathered and reported honestly (so far as I am aware) make the Observer of extreme value to Fullerton – which would be a very different place, indeed, without it. Let’s unite the Left-center and the Right-center to win back our Constitutional Rights (with NO “emergency” compromises)! P.S. Congratulations, Sharon! You are pretty darned amazing!


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  10. Thanks so much for all your work. I’m looking forward to seeing how the paper and online media presence moves in a new direction under the capable direction and compelling vision of Jesse. -Ryan

  11. Sharon Kennedy-thanks so much for publishing the Fullerton Observer. I appreciate your encouragement and acceptance of articles I have submitted in the past. Also, thanks for your “If not now, when; if not you who?” which inspired our investigation and subsequent Orange County Grand Jury Report “Oversight of Orange County Law Enforcement Agencies
    Resolving a Dichotomy!” Enjoy retirement. Enjoy painting.