WATSONVILLE — Santa Cruz’s Good Times weekly has purchased the 151-year-old Watsonville Register-Pajaronian and its companion publication Aptos Life from News Media Corp. of Rochelle, Illinois.
The sale was announced to newsroom employees on Monday by News Media’s CEO, Nickolas Monico.
Founded as The Pajaronian on Mar. 5, 1868, the newspaper has an illustrious history. It became the nation’s smallest daily paper to earn a Pulitzer Prize for public service in 1956 after its photographer caught the county’s district attorney participating in illegal gambling.
Keeping with the history of the newspaper the name will be changed from the Register-Pajaronian to its original name The Pajaronian.
Published since 1975, Good Times is Santa Cruz County’s largest circulation publication.
The two weeklies will have have a combined circulation of more than 40,000 but will have separate news staffs and editorial missions, Executive Editor Dan Pulcrano said.
In June, the Good Times newspaper was honored to be chosen among the state’s three top publications of its size for the California Newspaper Publishers Association’s “General Excellence” award.
News Media Corp. publishes more than 70 media titles in nine states, including Arizona, California, Colorado, Illinois, Nebraska, Oregon, South Dakota, West Virginia and Wyoming.
“We were pleased to find a Northern California-based publisher with adjacent properties that was a good fit for the Pajaronian. This transaction enables us to focus on the success of our core properties in the Midwest,” Monico said.
Owned by a succession of local owners for its first 72 years, the Pajaronian was sold in 1940 to the Cincinnati, Ohio-based E. W. Scripps Company, a national newspaper chain, and merged with the Watsonville Register to become the Register-Pajaronian. In 1995, News Media Corp. bought the publication.
An affiliate of Good Times that publishes weeklies in southern Santa Clara and San Benito counties will operate News Media’s four Monterey County weeklies: King City Rustler, Greenfield News, Soledad Bee, Gonzales Tribune. They will join a group that includes this year’s CNPA General Excellence winner for newspapers of its size, the Gilroy Dispatch.