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Santa Cruz, Marin papers get new publishers

Mario van Dongen (left), who has served as president and publisher of the Marin Independent Journal since 2006, has been named the new publisher of the Santa Cruz Sentinel. Replacing Van Dongen will be the IJ’s executive editor, Matthew Wilson (right). Both papers are operated by MediaNews Group.

Doug Bunnell, 48, who has been the IJ’s editorial page editor for the past two years, move up to the executive editor’s chair. Bunnell started at the IJ in 1989 and since then has served in a variety of newsroom positions, including managing editor.

Wilson, 51, spent 22 years at the San Francisco Chronicle, serving as managing editor, executive editor, associate publisher and executive vice president for news. He left the Chronicle in 2001 and later began a publishing consulting business. He later served as publisher of the weekly Novato Advance.

Van Dongen, 50, came to the IJ from the Napa Valley Register, where he was publisher. Before that he was regional vice president of sales for the Northern California PennySaver

In Santa Cruz, van Dongen will replace David Regan, who started with the Sentinel in 1983 and retired in early 2006. Regan returned less than a year later when then-publisher Molly Evans left for the East Coast as the paper was sold to Dean Singleton’s MediaNews Group.

Regan had told MediaNews executives that he would stay with the paper until they found someone new, hoping to stay until his 68th birthday in January. However, on Thursday, Mac Tully, head of the MediaNews-controlled California Newspaper Partnership, told Regan that van Dongen has been chosen to take over as the Sentinel’s new publisher.

“I always told my wife that I would stay as long as I was having fun,” Regan said Friday. “This business hasn’t been fun for the last year and a half with all the layoffs and the move from Santa Cruz.” (Coverage in the IJ and the Sentinel)

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