The Sacramento Bee is a daily newspaper published in Sacramento, California, in the United States. Since its founding in 1857, The Bee has become the largest newspaper in Sacramento, the fifth largest newspaper in California, and the 27th largest paper in the U.S. It is distributed in the upper Sacramento Valley, with a total circulation area that spans about 12,000 square miles (31,000 km2): south to Stockton, California, north to the Oregon border, east to Reno, Nevada, and west to the San Francisco Bay Area.
The Bee is the flagship of the nationwide McClatchy Company. Its "Scoopy Bee" mascot, created by Walt Disney in 1943, has been used by all three Bee newspapers (Sacramento, Modesto, and Fresno).
Under the name The Daily Bee, the first issue of the newspaper was published on February 3, 1857, proudly boasting that "the object of [the Sacramento Bee] is not only independence, but permanence". At this time, the Bee was in competition with the Sacramento Union, a newspaper founded in 1851. Although the Bee soon surpassed the Union in popularity, the Union survived until its closing in 1994, leaving the Sacramento Bee to be the longest-running newspaper in Sacramento's history.
On March 13, 2006, The McClatchy Company announced its agreement to purchase Knight Ridder, the United States' second-largest chain of daily newspapers. The purchase price of $4.5 billion in cash and stock will give McClatchy 32 daily newspapers in 29 markets, with a total circulation of 3.3 million.
On February 3, 2007, the paper celebrated its 150th anniversary, and a copy of the original issue was included in every newspaper. On February 4, 2007, a 120-page section was included about the paper's history from its founding to today.
On July 29, 2008, the Sacramento Bee redesigned and changed its layout. The Opinion Pages were added to the main news section of the paper; the "Metro" and "Business" sections were combined into "Our Region" and the name of the lifestyle section was changed from "Scene" to "Living Here".
On May 21, 2009, the newspaper published an early-version editorial that highly criticized Californians for voting against most of the ballot propositions in a special election. After numerous negative comments were posted by readers, the editorial was taken off the website and replaced with a final version of the editorial. A message stated that the early version of the editorial was posted in error.
The Sacramento Bee has won six Pulitzer Prizes in its history. It has won numerous other awards, including many for its progressive public service campaigns promoting free speech (the Bee often criticized government policy, and uncovered many scandals hurting Californians), anti-racism (the Bee supported the Union during the American Civil War and publicly denounced the Ku Klux Klan), worker's rights (the Bee has a strong history of supporting unionization), and environmental protection (leading numerous tree-planting campaigns and fighting against environmental destruction in the Sierra Nevada).