SCV Publications, LLC, has a new pet project. Literally. As part of an ongoing effort to strengthen connectivity with local readership, SCV Publications has added Pet Me! Magazine to a portfolio that also includes the Santa Clarita Gazette and Canyon Country Magazine. The 10-year-old, bi-monthly pet magazine will continue to serve as the SCV’s “central resource for pet lovers and animal-related industries” while placing an “emphasis on drawing attention to rescue animals and operations,” said Gazette Editor Martha Michael. Michael is also editor of Canyon Country Magazine, a monthly neighborhood publication that underscores SCV Publications’ desire to serve the local community. “We intend to take the effective reporting that we’ve established with the Gazette and Canyon Country Magazine and expand it into the pet industry,” said Doug Sutton, who, along with his wife, Jeannie, and Paladin Multi-Media Group partners own the Gazette and Canyon Country Magazine. Michael and Sutton are, themselves, animal enthusiasts. They have a combined 10 pets – including dogs, cats and turtles. The Pet Me! acquisition was years in the making, Sutton said. He had expressed interest in buying the magazine about two years ago but couldn’t “agree on the terms” with Publisher Bridget Alves. Through Michael, who had been editing Pet Me! on a freelance basis, Sutton said he learned late last year of Alves’ interest in selling the magazine and approached Paladin partners about preparing an offer. Since brokering a deal in December 2015 to buy The Signal from Georgia-based Morris Multimedia, which had owned the newspaper since the late 1970s, Paladin has focused on bolstering its local reporting efforts and growing its support for the local business community. In addition to working with the Suttons to resolve a contentious, years-long feud between the two publications, Paladin initiated an extensive 2017 redesign of The Signal’s website (SignalSCV.com) to improve functionality and created quarterly events through the monthly Santa Clarita Valley Business Journal (SCVBJ.com) to celebrate the region’s business professionals. The new-look SignalSCV.com has helped attract near-record visitation in recent months – including 1.72 million page views and 335,458 unique visitors for the 30-day period that ended Jan. 25. The majority of readers, 76.1 percent, are from California, primarily in the Santa Clarita Valley and Los Angeles County. The nearly 10-year-old SCVBJ will soon undergo its own evolution, including a revamped editorial strategy built around deeper storytelling and a fresh design presence. The Signal also launched a weekly page dedicated to local veterans and their families along with an accompanying video series on the SignalSCV.com. Paladin isn’t done adding to its portfolio, either. The Signal Vault, an online venture that will feature enterprising journalism, video, podcasts, contests and other exclusive content, is set to debut this spring. “We have been serving our local readers for almost 100 years and, during that time, we have grown and evolved with the community. We are committed and passionate about maintaining the integrity and equity of this great local trusted brand,” said Ken DePaola, Paladin’s chief revenue officer and one of The Signal’s four owners. “As we embark on the celebration of our 100th anniversary, The Signal will be launching a new suite of products and platforms, such as a complete redesign of the Business Journal, a series of 100th anniversary-themed sections about our great history here in Santa Clarita, and the introduction of The Signal Vault across all of our digital platforms.” The Paladin leadership team, in addition to DePaola, includes Charles F. Champion, The Signal’s president and publisher; Gary Sproule, a longtime business partner of Champion who serves as chief operating officer and chief financial officer; and Russ Briley, the newspaper’s former publisher who now oversees community relations and audience development.