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Paxton Media Group traces it roots to 1896, when a group of investors headed by William F. Paxton launched The Evening Sun by buying the assets of the failing Paducah Standard at 214 Broadway. The cost was $8,900, and the men started with $10,000 capital. The newspaper did not make a profit until 1918. In 1929, Paxton's son, Edwin J. Paxton, who had taken over as editor, bought out the rival News-Democrat. After the merger, the newspaper became The Sun-Democrat, and operations were moved to the current location at 408 Kentucky Avenue in 1934. The name changed to The Paducah Sun in 1978 at the request of Jack Paxton, editor at the time and grandson of Edwin J. Paxton.
At 4:20 p.m. May 28, 1957, WPSD television, (the PSD stands for Paducah Sun-Democrat) went on the air as the company-owned television station based in Paducah. It is an NBC affiliate.
The company operated only The Paducah Sun and WPSD-TV until 1989, when it began acquiring other newspapers.
In 1998, the company purchased Nixon Newspapers Inc which included the Wabash Plain Dealer, located in Wabash, Indiana.
Paxton Media Group was criticized when it fired nearly 25 percent of the employees of The Herald-Sun, many of them longtime staples of the newsroom, the day it assumed ownership. Paxton defended the move by claiming that the newsroom was overstaffed and the salaries were causing the Durham, North Carolina paper to post annual losses. According to the Durham-based Independent Weekly, sources familiar with the Herald-Sun, Co.'s accounting ledgers, the company was operating profitably at least 6 months prior to Paxton's $124 million purchase.
In September 2007, Paxton purchased the Herald-Argus of La Porte, Indiana amidst rumors that the paper would either be moved, merged, or have its staff severely cut, due to the recent acquisition of a number of rural newspapers in northern Indiana. In order to allay those rumors, then-publisher John A. Newby wrote a column that firmly stated that the Herald-Argus was profitable and "lean" and therefore would not see any dramatic changes. Despite published claims to the contrary, in October, shortly after taking over operation of the paper, Paxton Media laid-off about half its staff at the Herald-Argus and moved its production location to that of the Paxton-owned Herald-Palladium in St. Joseph, Michigan, which by Paxton's own admission, has negatively impacted the paper's ability to publish timely local news. Reminiscent of the abrupt manner in which the Herald-Sun firings were conducted, at least one longtime Herald-Argus staffer was notified of her termination via certified mail while she recovered from surgery at home. The remaining Herald-Argus staffers and the staffers at other nearby Paxton-owned papers were specifically instructed not to publish information regarding the Herald-Argus staff cuts and production changes. The Herald-Argus' website has also removed the 17 September 2007 column which promised that there would be no staff cuts or relocation of the paper's offices under Paxton's watch.
In July 2008, Paxton consolidated operations even more, making the publisher, managing editor, and other editorial management the same for both papers.
High Point Enterprise
On 15 November 2007, reports indicate that Paxton dramatically cut the staff of the High Point Enterprise in High Point, North Carolina, which Paxton took control of in 2004. This is the third round of layoffs since 1999, when Paxton first purchased a stake in the paper. Senior Enterprise staff frequently criticized Paxton's management of the paper, arguing that there was a quantifiable reduction in local coverage.