Chronicle Mission Statement and History

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"We propose to publish a bold, bright, fearless and truly independent newspaper, independent in all things, neutral in nothing."

On January 16, 1865, The Daily Dramatic Chronicle, "a daily record of affairs -- local, critical and theatrical," was published by Charles and Michael deYoung. The brothers, not yet out of their teens, borrowed a $20 gold piece from their landlord, bought an old desk, several fonts of used type and some newsprint, established themselves in the corner of the landlord's printing shop on Clay Street and published their first four-page newspaper. Within a month, circulation reached 2,000.

Three months later, the theater paper published its first "extra," reporting the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln hours before other city dailies. By 1868, the newspaper's reputation as an aggressive, competitive journal had reached the point at which the deYoung brothers decided to sell subscriptions and publish a "real newspaper." The Morning Chronicle was launched in 1868.

With the help of the local literary crowd, including Mark Twain and Bret Harte, who wrote short pieces in return for desk space, The Chronicle captured the largest circulation west of the Mississippi.

In the more than 130 years since then, The Chronicle has maintained the tradition set forth by the de Young brothers. Even today, The Chronicle has been a pioneer in changing newspaper writing, readability and design, while adhering to the original vision of bold, bright, fearless and independent coverage.

Every morning, more than 1,175,000 people read The Chronicle, making it the eleventh-largest newspaper in the United States and the preeminent newspaper in Northern California.

These are new and exciting times for the venerable Chronicle, which has a history as old and colorful as the city it calls home. The paper was owned and operated by the de Young family for most of its existence, through The Chronicle Publishing Company. In 1965, the Chronicle and its rival, the Examiner, formed an agency to handle their operations together, sharing profits through a joint operating agreement.

On July 27, 2000, The Hearst Corporation purchased The Chronicle from The Chronicle Publishing Company, and sold the Examiner, with the staffs of both papers merging into a new Hearst-owned Chronicle.

Developments since the merger include the high-profile launch of a redesigned Sunday Chronicle, including new sections such as Insight and Living, and improvements to existing sections such as Real Estate, At Work, Datebook, and Chronicle Magazine. In addition, a Bay Area icon was revived in November 2003 when the Sunday Datebook section became pink again. SFGate (, the online arm of The Chronicle, is the fastest-growing major news and information site, and the fourth-most visited daily newspaper web site, in the United States. This growth comes at a time when newspapers and online media sites are facing enormous competition and consolidation.

The most significant recognition of progress at The Chronicle was by the Columbia Journalism Review, the most respected publication in the business, which declared in a feature story on changes at the paper that The Chronicle "has become a serious journalistic player at last".

The Chronicle's readership is a sophisticated, well-educated segment of a market that expects the highest-quality news, business, sports, and entertainment coverage. 41% of The Chronicle's daily readers are college graduates, a significant figure since only 30% of Bay Area residents are college graduates.

The San Francisco Chronicle is committed not only to providing award-winning journalism, but also to serving the Bay Area as an active and involved corporate citizen. Each year, The Chronicle sponsors scores of events throughout the Bay Area by donating in-paper space or making cash grants. With the paper's support, arts, social, and youth-related projects are able to raise millions of dollars. Also, The Chronicle's extensive commitment to its annual "Season of Sharing" Fund has brought $35 million into the community since the inception of the fund in 1986. $3.5 million was raised in 2002 alone. All "Season of Sharing" funds are used to assist low-income families with one-time critical needs.

The Hearst Corporation is one of the nation's largest diversified communications companies, with major interests including newspaper and business publishing, magazines, cable networks, television and radio broadcasting, internet businesses, relevision production and distribution, newspaper features distribution and real estate.


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