The Tribune is the second-oldest newspaper in Texas. Established on August 23, 1845 as a weekly, the newspaper moved from Matagorda to Bay City when the location of the county seat was changed in 1894.
It was published as both a daily and weekly from 1904-1959, when the weekly ceased publication. The newspaper converted to twice-weekly publication in 2002.
Carey Smith Sr. bought the Tribune in 1919 and owned it until his death in 1937. He was succeeded by son Carey Smith Jr., who led the paper until it was bought by Southern Newspapers in 1958. Southern president Glenn J. Sedam then became publisher, a position he held until 1981.
The Tribune received the Texas Press Association's general excellence award in 1968 for newspapers under 25,000 circulation.