It’s official! On August 31, the Paso Robles Press and Atascadero News were purchased by local media owners Nicholas and Hayley Mattson. Perhaps best known for publishing the monthly Paso Robles and Colony magazines under the banner of their Colony Media company, the Mattsons said they are thrilled to have “adopted” the two newspapers into their family.
“That is how we feel, that we adopted new members into our family,” Nic said. “These products give us a place to appreciate that sense of community, whether it’s our writers appreciating stories they are working on, or people doing work with various non-profits, or the schools and other groups, it’s all about the people in our communities. And now we get to tell that story – the Story of Us – in more ways.”
The Mattsons welcome the following to their family of publications – the weekly Atascadero News and Paso Robles Press; the monthly Morro Bay Life and Avila Beach Life, and quarterly magazines VINO and Equine Enthusiast. In addition, there are several special sections and publications produced throughout the year including area maps, special event
guides, and more.
“News Media is very pleased to have found not only a local buyer, but another family company with Colony Media and Nic and Hayley Mattson,” News Media Corporation Marketing Director and Group Publisher J.J. Tompkins said. “It was very important to me that we passed on the rich history and future of the Atascadero News and Paso Robles Press to someone that will carry on what E.G Lewis started, the Porter family built, and News Media continued on. As a former resident of Atascadero and General Manager of the Atascadero News, I have no doubt Colony Media and the Mattson family will not only grow the newspapers, but be the best stewards of the newspapers in the best place to live in California.”
Although they had been discussing the possibility of the newspapers being available for purchase for a several weeks, the decision to make an offer happened quickly for the Mattsons.
“It was a quick decision,” Hayley said. “We looked at the numbers, made an offer, and now here we are.”
Nic adds, “J.J. called me to touch base, said they had an opportunity that might interest [us], and I was immediately excited. We really want to thank J.J. and everyone at New Media for their help through this process; they have been very supportive.”
For Nic, the purchase of Paso Robles Press and Atascadero News is akin to coming full circle. Nic got his start in reporting at the Atascadero News as the sports editor back in 2012, a position he held until 2017 when he and Hayley purchased Paso Robles Magazine. Since then, they have launched Colony Magazine and Central Coast TRVLR.
“Purchasing these newspapers has always been part of our [hopeful] ’plan,’ but we just didn’t know we would have that opportunity presented to us so soon,” Nic said. “It does feel like coming full circle. It’s hard to say that, because this has actually been a small circle; it was only six and a half years ago when I was hired at Atascadero News!”
Community & the written word
And why was it important for the Mattsons to own local newspapers in addition to having the local magazines?
“Nic’s writing career was a soulful journey for him,” Hayley said. “For as long as I’ve known him, Nic has always had these creative outlets that he’s wanted to explore in different ways. So, doing something different in Atascadero and Paso Robles goes back to the roots of the community, the roots of the people – and that’s true for both the Atascadero News and Paso Robles Press. It’s about the longevity, the history. The written word in print is so powerful; it’s something you just don’t get online. You get to see it in black and white, see and feel the pages, whether in a newspaper or magazine. It’s just something about knowing somebody’s hard work went into this product and they cared about putting this out for the community.”
The Mattsons said they appreciate the stewardship of the newspapers by News Media Corp. in between local ownership of the papers.
“The reason we wanted to make this purchase is because we want these papers and publications to be locally owned, locally produced, and provide coverage about locals from front to back,” Nic said. “Being able to return them to hometown ownership, we can now continue this legacy. It’s true that many major national and regional newspapers have shrunk, but the local papers still have a great place in the community and that’s what we are doing right here in Atascadero and Paso Robles.”
So, just what will change and what will remain the same?
“We are adopting a new motto: Good News, Real News, Your Hometown News,” Nic said. “We are going to start off each edition with the good news on the front page, move crime and city news to the interior section, and then move on from there. We know the great community we have so this new organization and flow of content is how we want to approach the newspaper and what we cover; there’s a lot of good news out there! We want to make great newspapers, and we want our writers and salespeople to be proud of the product.”