The St. Paul Pioneer Press traces its history back to the Minnesota Pioneer, Minnesota's first daily newspaper, was founded in 1849, and the St. Paul Dispatch was launched in 1868. Ridder Publications acquired the Pioneer Press and Dispatch in 1927. The two papers were operated as separate morning and evening papers. The papers merged into an all-day publication in 1985 as the St. Paul Pioneer Press and Dispatch and made the transition to morning-only newspaper in 1990 and dropped the word Dispatch. The paper is owned by Knight Ridder.
In 1952, the Dispatch began sponsoring a treasure hunt as part of the St. Paul Winter Carnival . Clues to finding a medallion are printed in the paper, and the first person to find it wins a sum of money. The prize started off at $1,000, but has risen to $10,000 as of 2004.
The Pioneer Press has won three Pulitzer Prizes: in 1986, 1988, and 2000.
The Pioneer Press' primary circulation area includes the East Minneapolis-St. Paul Metro region of Ramsey, Dakota, and Washington counties, along with western Wisconsin, eastern Minnesota and Anoka County, Minnesota. Circulation for the Pioneer Press 190,939 daily; 251,765 Sunday. It primarily competes with the Star Tribune, Newspaper of the Twin Cities.