The Weekly Times was founded in 1898 and later renamed The State College Times. It made its debut Thursday, May 12, 1898, with a four-page issue. The front page stories on the inaugural issue of the paper were the Bellefonte Central Railroad schedule, an update on the Spanish-American War, and three columns: one titled “Newsy Paragraphs: Interesting Topics Mentioned in a Brief Manner,” another titled “Live Little Liners: Pithy Points Pertaining to Business People,” and the third, “Campus Periodics: Culled from Week to Week by Able Writers.”
In 1904, the paper started being published in a tabloid size on higher quality paper, with most issues running 12 pages long. In 1934, the paper became a daily, the Centre Daily Times. The name reflected how the owner at the time stressed the importance of covering all of Centre County. To promote the new daily product, the CDT sent a complimentary paper to each household in State College, Bellefonte and Pleasant Gap for two weeks. After that, customers were asked to pay 3 cents a copy, which made the carriers’ bags a bit lighter.
The newspaper was purchased by Knight Ridder in 1979 with a Saturday morning edition added in 1980 and a Sunday edition in 1982. The CDT became a morning paper in 1986 and was then purchased by McClatchy Co. in 2006 with its acquisition of Knight Ridder. The paper is most well-known as being the hometown newspaper for Penn State, one of the largest universities in the country with more than 40,000 students at the University Park campus. The region is evenly divided among rural, primarily farm, communities and the urban, university town. It is also divided among conservatives and liberals, Penn State-related and non-Penn State families.