The object of this newspaper is not only independence, but permanence."
Those words, from a Bee editorial in the paper's first edition on Feb. 3, 1857, have been the goal of five generations of the McClatchy and Maloney families - to produce a newspaper that serves the needs of its community without becoming subservient to the whims of public opinion or the pressures of the powerful.
Their success in terms of permanence is evidenced by 150 years of publishing without missing a single scheduled edition, overcoming obstacles that have ranged from floods to labor strife. Independence of voice and action came faster. Four days after its inception, The Bee exposed its first scandal -- $200,000 in missing state funds, resulting in the impeachment of the state treasurer.
The Bee's dogged coverage set the tone and established the character of our newspaper and company, first in the Sacramento community, then in the state, and eventually throughout the nation. Much of that character was drawn from an Irish immigrant named James McClatchy. A newspaperman who learned his craft under Horace Greeley at the fabled New York Tribune, McClatchy came west as part of the California Gold Rush in 1849. He never found gold, but he did found what would become an information empire.