Two men named Bernard and Burtram founded the Summerside Journal, a weekly newspaper, in 1865. Under the leadership of A.R. Brennan, the Journal began publishing daily on September 21, 1939, in order to provide regular news of World War II. After the war, the Journal cut down to twice-weekly publication, then tri-weekly in 1949 after it closed a sister paper, The P.E. Island Agriculturalist.
After a fire at the press plant in 1947, the Journal was printed at the presses of its rival paper, The Pioneer, which had been founded in 1876 in Alberton, moving to Summerside in 1880. The papers merged into The Journal-Pioneer in 1951, and adopted a daily (weekdays) publishing schedule in October 1957. A Saturday edition was added two years later.