It’s published by Central Independent Newspapers, the West Midlands branch of Northcliffe Media, which was itself the regional publishing arm of the Daily Mail & General Trust until late 2012 but was then incorporated into the new Local World group. It’s published from CIN’s headquarters in Tamworth.
It was founded in 1985 in the wake of the closure of the Sutton Coldfield Times. For a time in the late 1990s it had a number of local editions including the Vesey Observer, the Little Aston Observer and the Streetly Observer.
Although it’s fundamentally a freesheet, a very small proportion of the print run (about one per cent) is sold through the news trade.
There’s a sister freesheet covering North West Birmingham: the Great Barr Observer.
It prides itself on being a campaigning newspaper, and claims some of the credit for saving Sutton Coldfield Magistrates’ Court from closure in 2004.
In common with most Northcliffe newspapers, in 2011 it lost its own dedicated website, and the old URL at thisissuttoncoldfield.co.uk was redirected to a new local portal website at suttoncoldfield-people.co.uk, for which the Observer merely provided news stories. Local World partially reversed that strategy in 2013 by launching new “publisher-branded” sites for all its newspapers.
It comes out on Fridays.