An orphaned immigrant from Northern Ireland, James McClatchy helped launch the companys first newspaper, The Sacramento Bee, in 1857. McClatchy quickly became the papers top editor and, eventually, an owner and left his imprints on policies, values and character that remain with The McClatchy Company today.
The McClatchy Company dates to the California Gold Rush era of 1857, when James McClatchy was one of the founding editors of its first newspaper, The Sacramento Bee (then The Daily Bee) one of the oldest newspapers in the West. Coverage of Californias Central Valley expanded with the founding of The Fresno Bee in 1922 and the purchase of The Modesto Bee in 1927.
For more than a century, California was the cornerstone of the company. In 1979, McClatchy expanded into the Northwest with the purchase of the Anchorage Daily News and the Tri-City Herald in Kennewick, Wash. In 1986, The News Tribune in Tacoma, Wash., was added to McClatchys growing family of newspapers.
In 1990, McClatchy began publishing on the East Coast with the purchase of three daily newspapers in South Carolina. The company entered North Carolina in 1995 with the acquisition of The News & Observer in Raleigh and several affiliated nondailies. The Star Tribune, which serves the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, was acquired in 1998 and positioned the company in four distinct, fast-growing regions in the nation.
In 2004, McClatchy purchased the Merced Sun-Star in California's Central Valley. The newspaper, situated between Modesto and Fresno, serves a fast-growing region and provided a good strategic fit with McClatchys other Central Valley papers.
In 2006, McClatchy purchased Knight Ridder Inc. to become the second-largest newspaper publisher in the United States.
Of Knight Ridders 32 daily newspapers, McClatchy immediately announced its intentions to sell 12 that didn't fit its longstanding acquisition philosophy of buying newspapers in fast-growing markets. With the acquisition of Knight Ridder, McClatchy also acquired dozens of nondaily newspapers, added a number of digital assets and employees, significantly expanded its Washington, D.C., news bureau, and gained an international presence for the first time with the addition of several foreign news bureaus.
As part of its analysis of the Knight Ridder acquisition, McClatchy sold the Star Tribune in 2007. The sale of its largest newspaper made McClatchy the third-largest newspaper publisher in the United States at that time based on daily circulation.
In 2014, McClatchy sold the Anchorage Daily News. The sale left McClatchy with 29 daily newspapers in 28 U.S. markets, all of which are growing much faster than the U.S. average. In each of its daily newspaper markets, McClatchy operates the leading local media company, offering a wide array of print and digital products.