Nearly 10 years ago I took the advice of former Pajaronian Sports Editor Glenn Cravens to apply for his position as he was leaving for another regional publication. At the time, I was three years removed from my Watsonville High School graduation, and still in the thick of earning my journalism degree from San Jose State University. I’m not sure where my life would have gone if I had decided to not walk through the doors of our old offices on Westridge Drive and interview for the job. All I know is that I’m happy I did, indeed, muster up enough courage to do so.
Monday was officially my final day as the Managing Editor of the Pajaronian, and the following day was my first as the News Editor of the Good Times, our countywide alt-weekly sister paper in Santa Cruz. It was a difficult decision to leave behind a title and paper that I held so dearly—a decision in which I not only had to weigh responsibility and service but family and opportunity, too.
I grew up with the Pajaronian in more ways than one. As a kid, I helped my cousins deliver the paper around the Lake Village Drive area. Then, as a teenager, I read the Pajaronian to keep up with everything sports related, whether it was conjecture about my rudderless San Francisco 49ers or coverage of the Watsonville High Wildcatz football team during our special 2009 season. After high school, I became interested in politics thanks to the Pajaronian’s tireless coverage of local issues. As I slowly began to dip my toe into news reporting in the months before I took over as Managing Editor in 2019, I knew it was something I wanted to eventually dive into. This paper allowed me to grow into the person I am today. For that, I’m forever grateful.
I turned 30 earlier this year, and it still amazes me that I’ve dedicated roughly a third of my life to the Pajaronian. I most certainly did not do it for the money. And I definitely did not do it for all the stomach-churning comments, calls and emails from angry readers—somehow I’m both a liberal hack and a conservative sellout, go figure. Looking back at the past 10 years, I can easily say that I dedicated an absurd amount of time and energy to this paper because I loved serving my community. I took pride in showcasing Watsonville’s successes, holding people accountable and making a concerted effort to dive deep into issues that interested our readers and the greater community.
Funny enough, my predecessor, Erik Chalhoub, has become my successor. Erik knows Watsonville from his previous seven-year stint with the Pajaronian, and I have full confidence that he will continue to build on what our incredible staff and web of contributors have helped create. As the title of this column suggests, I’m not saying goodbye to my hometown. I’m still a Watsonville resident and I plan to continue covering Watsonville City Council for both the Pajaronian and Good Times. Also, I’m also still on the Board of Directors for the Pajaro Valley Health Care District, which will oversee the operations of the Watsonville Community Hospital in the near future.
So while I won’t say goodbye, I will say thank you. Thank you to our readers. Thank you to our subscribers. Thank you to our contributors. Thank you to the Pajaronian staff. Thank you to everyone who has trusted us to tell your story. There are still so many more stories to tell, and I can’t wait to do so.
Tony Nuñez is the former Managing Editor of the Pajaronian, and the News Editor of the Good Times in Santa Cruz. Contact Nuñez at [email protected].