It was created in 1939 from a combination of three newspapers founded between 1869 and 1905, and was later acquired by the E. W. Scripps Company. Scripps traded the paper, along with The Monterey County Herald, to Knight Ridder in 1997, in exchange for the Boulder Daily Camera. The McClatchy Company took over the paper on June 27, 2006, when it acquired Knight Ridder, formerly the United States' second-largest chain of daily newspapers.
In February 2015, the paper's publisher, Bruce Ray, announced his resignation; Fresno Bee president and publisher Tom Cullinan was named interim publisher for the paper. The Tribune's executive editor is Sandra Duerr.
According to McClatchy, the newspaper’s daily circulation is 35,080 (2015), rising to 45,250 on Sundays (unknown date). Total readership is estimated at 90,800 on weekdays and 102,800 on Sunday (unknown date).