It was launched in January 2001 as the Winchester Observer by independent publishers Hampshire Media, the brainchild of Jez Walder and Mark O’Connor, who had previously worked on the Hampshire Chronicle but left that newspaper in 2000 when it was taken over by Newsquest. It expanded within six months to become the Winchester & Bishop’s Waltham Observer, and took on its present title with a further expansion in May 2002.
In 2003 a companion title was launched, the West Hampshire Observer; and a third title for the whole county, the Hampshire Independent, joined them in August 2012. All three newspapers share the same editorial offices in Winchester and a single website.
It comes out on Thursdays. A free e-edition is also available via email, as is a smartphone app for iOS devices.