The Daily Citizen started as the Des Arc Citizen in September 1854, by John J. Morrill. Publication was suspended 1862-1866 by destruction of the newspaper office during the Civil War. The newspaper was reopened by J.H. Balding and sold to A.C. Matthews in 1867 and then later sold to J.S. Thomas in 1872. The Citizen consolidated with the Des Arc Argus on May 1, 1880, under the ownership of J.J. Baugh and with the Prairie County Appeal in 1889. The newspaper moved to Searcy in 1889 and the name was changed to White County Citizen. It consolidated with the Searcy Morning Call in 1890 and became a daily newspaper at that time. It further consolidated with the Arkansas Beacon in 1905 and in 1928 it bought out the Searcy Times.
J.J. Baugh published the newspaper until his death in 1940. The new publisher M.T. Jones then published the newspaper until his death in August 1957. In 1964 Jamie Jones Young, mother of M.T. Jones, sold the newspaper to Perrin Jones and Jim Baugh Jones. The Citizen was purchased by Harte-Hanks in 1977. It was sold again in 1986 to Worrell Enterprises and then finally purchased by the Paxton family.
Paxton Media Group traces it roots to 1896, when a group of investors headed by William F. Paxton launched The Evening Sun by buying the assets of the failing Paducah Standard at 214 Broadway. The cost was $8,900, and the men started with $10,000 capital. The newspaper did not make a profit until 1918. In 1929, Paxton's son, Edwin J. Paxton, who had taken over as editor, bought out the rival News-Democrat. After the merger, the newspaper became The Sun-Democrat, and operations were moved to the current location at 408 Kentucky Avenue in 1934. The name changed to The Paducah Sun in 1978 at the request of Jack Paxton, editor at the time and grandson of Edwin J. Paxton.
At 4:20 p.m. May 28, 1957, WPSD television, (the PSD stands for Paducah Sun-Democrat) went on the air as the company-owned television station based in Paducah. It is an NBC affiliate.
The company operated only The Paducah Sun and WPSD-TV until 1989, when it began acquiring other newspapers. The company owns 32 daily newspapers and numerous weekly newspapers, mostly in the southern United States. Daily circulation totals 350,000. Holdings include The Paducah Sun, The Herald-Sun in Durham, North Carolina, The High Point Enterprise in High Point, North Carolina, the Jonesboro Sun in Jonesboro, Arkansas, and the Daily Star in Hammond, Louisiana. In 1998, the company purchased Nixon Newspapers Inc which included the Wabash Plain Dealer, located in Wabash, Indiana.
In 2007, Paxton Media Group purchased three Indiana newspapers: the Marion Chronicle-Tribune (in July) from the Gannett Foundation; the Huntington Herald-Press (in May) from the Quayle family; and the LaPorte County Herald-Argus from Small Newspaper Group (in September).
The Paxton's have owned and operated the Searcy Daily Citizen since 1991. In May 2014 the Citizen moved from its long time location on Race Street to its current location of 723 W. Beebe-Capps Expressway.