The London-Derry Journal and General Advertiser was launched on Wednesday 3 June 1842 and was a four page paper that cost one penny and was initially published on Wednesday and Saturday. In October of the same year, the paper's publication days were changed to Tuesday and Friday, and 1877 it became a daily paper for a brief time, however, this lasted just three months and the paper became a tri-weekly publication after three months (Monday, Wednesday and Friday).
In its early days, the paper's editorial policy was that of the Protestant community who would become known as 'Unionists' in the following decades. However, in 1829 the paper endorsed Catholic Emancipation (equal rights for Catholics), leading to the then editor, William Wallen, to resign in protest to form the Londonderry Sentinel and North West Advertiser. The paper's position became more nationalist throughout the nineteenth century and was renamed the 'Derry Journal' in 1880 (the nationalist name for the city). The next major change to the paper took place in January 1958 when the paper reverted to its current publishing schedule: Tuesday and Friday.
The Journal is also the only mainstream newspaper to have been banned on both sides of the border; firstly in 1932 and again in 1940. Under the McCarroll family, the paper was firmly nationalist and it is this that is believed to have been behind a ban on the newspaper in the Irish Free State in January 1932. The Journal had been calling for Donegal voters to back Fianna Fáil candidates in the upcoming election and had been a strong critic of the Cumann na nGaedheal government. On Monday 6 January, Gardaí across Donegal told newsagents not to sell the paper until further notice, however, the source of the ban remains unknown and was rescinded almost immediately. It has been suggested that the decision to stop the selling of the paper was linked to a Fianna Fáil conference in Donegal that weekend, which received extensive coverage in the Monday edition published in Derry. The second ban was enforced in Northern Ireland by the Unionist government on 1 June 1940, it was also cut short and was removed by special dispensation four days later. This ban came again because of the paper's nationalist point of view - it had sided with the neutral Éire government, which Stormont believed amounted to not supporting the Allied war effort. Ironically the paper was able to cover its own banning through circulation on the other side of the border
In 1998, the McCarroll family sold the paper to what became Trinity Mirror, who sold it to Local Press Ltd, a 3i holding company, in January 2004. Johnston Press took ownership through the purchase of Local Press in November 2005 and it is now operated by the holding company Derry Journal Newspapers.