The Minnesota Daily roots stem back to 1877 when 15 seniors and 26 juniors launched the publishing of a monthly literary magazine entitled The Ariel. The students began the newspaper because they believed it would provide a forum for student individuality and would keep the public informed on the growth of the University. In 1900 The Ariel began printing daily and was renamed The Minnesota Daily. The daily printing schedule was in response to a competing publication, The Football. After a few months of a daily printing schedule The Minnesota Daily combined itself with The Minnesota Daily News, another competitor within the campus community.
Since its origin, The Minnesota Daily has been a force for change on campus. The Minnesota Daily has covered many big events, including the end of compulsory military drills, the beginning of women's suffrage and campus riots. The Minnesota Daily has believed in the power of the press to bring about change. Also, since its beginning, The Minnesota Daily has been at the forefront of technological advancements. The Minnesota Daily was the first newspaper in the country available on the Internet via Gopher. Quality news coverage and organization advancements have been contributions from many talented University of Minnesota students. Notable alumni of The Minnesota Daily include Garrison Keillor, Harry Reasoner, Ray Mithun, Bob Dylan, Henry Fonda and Chris Ison.
Today, The Minnesota Daily remains completely student-run and managed. It operates separate from the University as a 501(c) non-profit organization, but is also classified as a student organization. In Minnesota it is the fifth largest daily newspaper and third largest daily newspaper in the metropolitan area.