The Commonwealth Journal, Pulaski County’s only daily newspaper, is rich in history and tradition. The Commonwealth Journal is the product of the merger of two weekly newspapers: The Somerset Journal, founded in 1895, and The Commonwealth, founded in 1912.
The Somerset Journal was edited by Cecil Williams, who had entered the newspaper profession at the age of 17, making him the youngest editor in Kentucky. Williams continued to publish The Somerset Journal until his death in 1942. His wife, the late Mrs. Murray K. Rogers, assumed the duties of publisher of The Somerset Journal after his death, until the paper merged with The Commonwealth and became a daily in 1966. She remained co-publisher of the daily until the newspaper was sold to Park Newspapers of the Cumberlands, Inc. on May 1, 1988.
The Commonwealth was launched by William Schooler around 1916 and was later sold to R.M. Feese. Later the paper was sold again to George Joplin, Jr. George Joplin III assisted his father in the operation of The Commonwealth after returning from the U.S. Air Force in 1954. The elder Joplin died in 1957 and his wife, the late Barthenia Joplin, assumed duties as publisher of The Commonwealth. She was co-publisher of the Commonwealth Journal until her death in 1979. George Joplin III was named president of the corporation following his mother’s death, and was co-publisher until the paper was purchased by Park.
The Commonwealth and The Somerset Journal utilized the same production space and equipment for many years, occupying different offices in the same building. Originally, the two weekly newspapers operated on the second floor of a building on South Main Street. Around 1930, the newspapers’ offices were moved to the first floor of the same building. A few years later, they moved again to a building on the corner of East Mount Vernon Street and North Maple Street. This is still the home of the paper’s circulation offices, mailroom, and pressroom.
The Commonwealth Journal began Monday through Friday publications on January 3, 1966. The newspaper added a Sunday edition on October 31, 1982. Park Acquisitions purchased Park’s newspapers in 1995 and sold all of them in February 1997 to Media General Inc. On June 2, 1998, Media General sold all of their Kentucky newspapers to Community Newspaper Holdings, Inc., which in turn has branched into Newspaper Holdings, Inc, The Commonwealth Journal’s current owner.