The Reporter traces its founding to August 22, 1870 when the Fond du Lac Commonwealth, which had been a weekly newspaper since 1856, began daily circulation. However, the first incarnation of the Fond du Lac Daily Reporter did not start until 1883, when L. A. Lange founded a new newspaper for Fond du Lac to compete with the Commonwealth, publishing Monday through Saturday. His was the first paper to have a telegraph line in the Fond du Lac area, giving a slight advantage over competing papers, with most eventually folding during the rest of the 19th and early 20th century.
In 1917, L. A. Lange was succeeded by his son A. H. Lange, as publisher of the Daily Reporter, beginning a tradition of Lange family involvement with operations throughout the rest of the 20th century.
In 1926 the Fond du Lac Daily Commonwealth and Fond du Lac Daily Reporter merged to become the Fond du Lac Commonwealth Reporter. Its offices and presses were located at 18 West First Street.
The Commonwealth Reporter remained the name of Fond du Lac's newspaper until the 1970s when the "Commonwealth" was dropped to promote its coverage of surrounding areas outside Fond du Lac County.
In 1970, the paper was sold to Thomson Newspapers, who erected a new building at its current address of 33 West Second Street in Fond du Lac. It was also during this time that the Saturday evening edition of the paper was switched to a Sunday morning delivery.
In 1998 and 1999 a nearly 60,000-square-foot (5,600 m2) addition was added to the present building to increase printing operations, and in 2000, Thomson sold their newspaper interests to Gannett to concentrate on financial news and data. The additional press capacity is now used to print publications for nearby sister newspaper The Sheboygan Press, after that publication's older presses at their Sheboygan facilities broke down in mid-1998, and were judged to be too obsolete to repair.
The Reporter closed its Fond du Lac printing location on September 20, 2009 and moved press operations to Gannett's Appleton, Wisconsin location. Publication of Sheboygan Press subsequently moved to Milwaukee and the presses of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Offices and the newsroom of The Reporter were moved across town to the printing and office facilities of the then recently Gannett purchased "Action Advertiser". The Action paper is not a full broad-sheet and its press operation is not suited to handle publication of a daily paper, creating the need for publishing The Reporter in Appleton. However, both papers share some writing and publication staff.