The Northwest Herald is a daily tabloid newspaper published in Crystal Lake, Illinois. The paper has a circulation of about 21,500 with a coverage area of McHenry County and northern Kane County in the Northwest Suburbs of Chicago.
The Northwest Herald is owned by Shaw Media. Shaw Media's suburban group includes the Kane County Chronicle, DeKalb Daily Chronicle, Lake County Journal, Great Lakes Bulletin, McHenryCountySports.com, and PlanitNorthwest.com.
In 1983, Shaw Newspapers doubled its newspaper holdings by acquiring the Cardunal Free Press and, by extension, every paper produced in McHenry County. In 1986, the company shuttered all of the small weeklies and dailies, some with more than 150 years of service in their communities, to create a new daily newspaper to serve all of McHenry County.
On March 12, 1989, the Northwest Herald added a Sunday edition and became McHenry County's first hometown, seven-day newspaper. It had a daily circulation of 29,688 and its new Sunday edition had 29,337 subscribers.
The paper was redesigned for the first time in 1992, with stock quotes added to the Business section and more space and sources for wire stories in the Front section. A Friday entertainment section in tabloid form named Sidetracks was added, as was a Saturday Neighbors section devoted entirely to readers' submissions.
Beginning in 1992, four different Northwest Herald front pages were printed each weekday. The practice, called zoning, ensured that readers would have the most local news product available to them on the front page of their paper. Zoning of the newspaper eventually would be expanded to seven editions in 2002, but was discontinued in February 2004.
After five years as a seven-day paper, the Northwest Herald won its first award for excellence from the Illinois Press Association in 1994. It has won IPA's Sweepstakes award, the Mabel Shaw Trophy (named after one of the founders of Shaw Media), six of the past eight years.
A 2012 rebranding of the features sections involved a partnership with PlanitNorthwest.com. The new sections include Plan!t Style, a Sunday tabloid section; Plan!t Screen, a Friday broadsheet section with movie, TV and video-game reviews; and Plan!t Pl@y, a Thursday tabloid section with entertainment news and information on local events.