The Herald-Dispatch was founded in 1909 when two Huntington newspapers, the Herald and the Dispatch, merged. In 1927, the newspaper became a part of the Huntington Publishing Company, operated by Joseph Harvey Long, the owner of the Huntington Advertiser. The company was operated by the Long family until 1971, when it was sold to the Honolulu Star Bulletin and then to Gannett ten months later.
Its companion afternoon paper, the Huntington Advertiser, ceased as a separate publication in 1979. Prior to the Huntington Advertiser's demise, the combined Sunday newspaper was referred to as the Herald-Advertiser, correctly depicted in the movie We Are Marshall. Today, it also publishes the Putnam Herald and the Lawrence Herald, more localized editions of The Herald-Dispatch serving Putnam County, West Virginia and Lawrence County, Ohio, respectively.
For the six-month period ending March 31, 2005, the total average paid circulation was 29,098 for the daily edition and 35,552 for the Sunday edition.
On May 23, 2009, Champion Industries, which owned the paper at that time, revealed that it was in default of a $70 million loan from Fifth Third Bank and the previous owners, and fired 24 employees, representing about 15% of its workforce. In October 2011, they laid off additional employees.
In 2013, Champion Industries sold The Herald-Dispatch to local politician, Douglas Reynolds, the son of Champion's chief executive.