Robert N. Brown started the Daily Journal in July 1963 as a sister paper to The Republic in Columbus, Indiana, which his grandfather had started in 1872 and which covered Bartholomew County, which adjoins Johnson County to the south.
The Daily Journal has won several Indiana journalism awards. It claims that its 1960s presses on the north side of Franklin were the first cold-type offset printing presses built in the United States.
Daily newspapers in Johnson County date back to the 1880s, and when the Daily Journal debuted it joined a newspaper war with The Franklin Evening Star, which had a history dating back to 1881. After six years, the war ended, with the Daily Journal absorbing its afternoon competitor in December 1969.
In February 2012, Home News announced that with newspaper printing consolidated at the company's presses in Columbus, the Daily Journal plans to sell its plant on U.S. Route 31 to KYB Americas, an auto-parts manufacturer, and relocate its newsroom and business offices in the historic Hazelett building in downtown Franklin.