The Northwestern was owned by the Schwalm and Heaney families until 1998, when it was sold to Ogden Newspapers; Ogden traded the paper to Thomson Newspapers two months later for four papers in Ohio and Pennsylvania. It has been part of the Gannett chain of newspapers after 2000, when it was purchased from Thomson Corporation.
For the forty years preceding establishment of the newspaper's name as Oshkosh Northwestern in 1979, the newspaper was known as the Oshkosh Daily Northwestern.
The building for the newspaper was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on May 13, 1982. It is a significant example of 1930 Renaissance architecture.