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Key links:
Primary website:
mcclatchy.com
Primary Twitter:
@McClatchyCo

Editor’s Note: Encyclo has not been regularly updated since August 2014, so information posted here is likely to be out of date and may be no longer accurate. It’s best used as a snapshot of the media landscape at that point in time.

The McClatchy Company is the nation’s third-largest newspaper company, with 29 daily newspapers including the Kansas City Star, the Sacramento Bee, and the Miami Herald.

McClatchy is a publicly traded company based in Sacramento, Calif., where its flagship paper, the Sacramento Bee, was founded in 1857. The company was owned by the McClatchy family until 1989.

The company is known for the quality of its national and international reporting. Knight Ridder’s Washington bureau, which merged with McClatchy’s in 2006, has received praise and awards for its reporting in the runup to the Iraq War. The company also runs five foreign bureaus, sharing expenses with the Christian Science Monitor.

McClatchy bought the larger Knight Ridder chain of newspapers in 2006, selling off 12 of those newspapers shortly after the purchase, including the St. Paul Pioneer Press, the San Jose Mercury News, and the Philadelphia Inquirer. Several months later, McClatchy sold the Minneapolis Star Tribune, which it had owned since 1998. The company sold the Anchorage Daily News to the local journalism website Alaska Dispatch in 2014.

McClatchy’s purchase of Knight Ridder was initially welcomed, as the company had developed a good reputation among corporate newspaper publishers. But the purchase overwhelmed McClatchy with debt, leading the company to write off much of the sale costs, cut thousands of jobs, and face the threat of stock delisting.

The company’s stock price plunged to pennies on the dollar in 2009 but began to recover thereafter, stringing together four straight quarters of profitability through early 2010. McClatchy leads the newspaper industry in online traffic growth and percentage of total revenue derived from its websites, but it also carried $1.9 billion in long-term debt as of 2010. It also reported a loss in the first quarter of 2012. By later that year, its pension plan was reportedly underfunded by $383 million.

McClatchy announced in May 2012 that it would begin testing online paid-content plans in partnership with Press+, hinting at a model built around multiplatform subscription packages. The company planned to pilot paywalls at five papers in the third quarter of 2012 and spread them to the rest of its papers by the end of the year. One of its first major paywalls was unveiled at the Sacramento Bee in September 2012. McClatchy reported 22,000 digital subscribers across its company in April 2013 and $25 million in new revenue through the program in May 2013.

In February 2011, the company announced plans to make substantial cuts after further declines in overall ad revenue, even as online ad sales climbed slightly higher than print ads.

Peers, allies, & competitors:
Recent Nieman Lab coverage:
Aug. 1, 2019 / Ken Doctor
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Newsonomics: It’s looking like Gannett will be acquired by GateHouse — creating a newspaper megachain like the U.S. has never seen — The deal isn’t yet finished. But I’m told by multiple sources that there are no major stumbling blocks left to negotiate in a megamerger between the United States’ two largest daily newspaper chains —...
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Local news projects rush to fill The Vindicator’s void, with the McClatchy-Google network putting down roots — Youngstown, Ohio has become kind the beat-up poster child for industrial decline, the opioid crisis, the Trump phenomenon, and, most recently, the loss of local journalism. It's another blow for a region hit hard ear...
June 11, 2019 / Christine Schmidt
Mandy Jenkins will build McClatchy’s Google-funded new local sites. What’s her plan? — The seesaw between platforms and news outlets is culminating in a local news experiment between Google and McClatchy, in which Google has pledged to fund the development of three local news sites over the next three year...
May 30, 2019 / Ken Doctor
Newsonomics: The potential GateHouse/Gannett merger shows “more scale!” is still the newspaper industry’s top strategy — Call it megaclustering. If a GateHouse/Gannett merger — rumored for weeks, today reported as a deal in some stage of progress by The Wall Street Journal — becomes reality, about 1 of every 6 daily newspapers in the U...

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Primary author: Mark Coddington. Main text last updated: April 10, 2014.
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Explore: USA Today
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USA Today is a national daily newspaper based in McLean, Va., and owned by the media company Gannett. USA Today is America’s largest newspaper by circulation, with 3.2 million print and digital copies as of 2014, many of those distributed via inserts in Gannett’s other newspapers and others distributed free to hotel guests. Its total print…

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