The Register-Pajaronian is a newspaper based in Watsonville, California in Santa Cruz County on California's Central Coast, published by the News Media Corporation. The Register-Pajaronian is published three days per week, but was for many years a daily paper. The newspaper has a circulation of 6,000 and covers the Watsonville City Council, the Pajaro Valley Unified School District and the Santa Cruz County Farm Bureau. The newspaper's coverage area includes the cities of Aptos, Corralitos, Watsonville, Pajaro, Aromas and most of North Monterey County. David Carkhuff is the managing editor of the Register-Pajaronian, which is owned by Illinois-based News Media Corporation.
The newspaper's roots trace back to 1868 when the Pajaronian was first published by J.A. Cottle. In 1894, a competing weekly newspaper owned by George W. Peckham began publishing daily and changed its name to the Register. In 1919, the Register was purchased by future Watsonville mayor Fred W. Atkinson, who then purchased the Pajaronian in 1930. After his death the two papers were purchased by the Scripps syndicate and consolidated into the Register-Pajaronian in 1940.
In 1956 the Register-Pajaronian won the Pulitzer Prize for an investigative series by photographer Sam Vestal, working under the leadership of its longtime editor Frank Orr and with assistance of Watsonville Police Chief Frank Osmer. These revelations led to the resignation of Santa Cruz County District Attorney Charles Moore, and the arrest and conviction of one of his associates.
Scripps sold the Register-Pajaronian to News Media in 1995.
In 2003, articles by reporter Dave M. Brooks led to the ousting of Watsonville Mayor Richard de La Paz for his involvement in a bar room brawl. Months later, Brooks helped unravel the local chapter of the Latino Chamber of Commerce after his reporting revealed that chamber president Luis de la Cruz had been embezzling money from the group. De la Cruz was later sentenced to six months in jail.