25 Years of Publishing the Owl Media Guide's
Nevada Media Directory
Author: John Paul Owles
13-Digit ISBN: 978-0-9829803-4-7
Specs: 6" x 9" Perfect Bound; 372 Pages
Publication Date: August 15, 2012
Retail Price: $200.00
For the past 25 years, the Nevada Media Directory™ has
provided comprehensive, up-to-date information on the
Nevada news media, including radio, television, newspapers,
magazines, and direct mail. The directory does not accept
advertising. There is no charge for the listings of the Nevada news media who are contacted by fax, e-mail, and telephone to update their listings to ensure the information is as complete and accurate as possible.
Upon the publication of the 25th Anniversary edition, Publisher John Paul Owles decided to step aside to concentrate on Joshua Tree Publishing's growing catalog of books.
History of the Nevada Media Directory
The Birth of an Idea
In the spring of 1985, as a public relations project under Theodore Conover at the Donald W. Reynolds School of Journalism at the University of Nevada, Reno, a news media list was compiled as a resource for the M. S. Society of Northern Nevada and the Reno Rodeo. I turned in an 8-1/2” x 11” folder with a compilation of Northern Nevada media which was compiled on my Commodore 64 computer.
I was surprised when several people suggested that the information was valuable and should be made into a directory. I kept thinking who would want it. I was just starting out in computers and had taken the class because Professor Conover had said I could learn how to use a database while compiling the information. I was just happy that it came out and was well received.
While working for Xebec, a company that made the first hard drives for IBM and Apple computers, as an independent consultant, I had produced advertising material for their computer products and an operations manual for the Sider hard drive. While working directly for the president and vice-president, I found the corporate culture was not appealing. I issued a final report predicting the company’s demise and chose to take the last check for their catalogs directly to the bank to cash it. A few years later, Xebec was no longer.
The Concept of the Nevada Media Directory comes to life
After the Xebec experience, I met with Professor and my mentor, Dr. Joseph Howland, regarding the development of the directory. He encouraged me to enroll in the Master’s program and get a degree rather than just attending classes as a graduate special student. I did and was accepted.
I had been working nights since 1981 at Harrah’s Reno as a waiter in a showroom called the Headliner Room, which featured entertainers such as Sammy Davis, Jr. Bill Cosby, Wayne Newton…a virtual Who’s Who. I used the show times to study for school.
In my discussions with Dr. Howland, he suggested the directory become a reference book with no advertising and no charge to the news media for being included. I suggested that each media outlet have a full page so we could provide detailed information. He asked me what I made in tips at night, and I replied we tried to make $100.00 plus our daily wage.
His wisdom changed my life.
He encouraged me to develop the directory so it was valuable enough for a $100.00 subscription so by the time I graduated I would have a business I could do full-time. He suggested that by updating the directory several times a year I could achieve that goal. With Nevada growing and changing so fast, timely information would be available throughout the year…and subscriptions could be started at any time rather than once a year, which is the case for similar directories. Using my Xebec experience, I suggested I could print the directory in a computer-manual-like binder with tabs and half sheets (5-1/2” x 8”) three-hole punched. Subscribers could replace the quarterly updates in their binder—and have a new directory. The plan was set.
Research Begins for the Nevada Media Directory
In March, 1986, an extensive research effort was undertaken to gather pertinent information on the Nevada news media throughout the state. All known media resources to be included in the directory were personally interviewed. After Northern Nevada was compiled, the decision was made to go to Las Vegas.
I remember boarding the plane from Reno in August, 1986, to go to Las Vegas. I had visited a few times ten years earlier. I had hired the sister of one of my researchers to be my chauffer since I had 50 appointments in four days. Wearing my business suit, I was welcomed by 110 degree weather…and it remained triple digits the entire time. Being shuttled from place to place, my researcher had positioned the interviews near each other, and my driver kept the next person notified if I was running late.
My most memorable interview was with the editor of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. When I explained what I was doing, he said it was impossible. I recall telling him he was the first person to profess that belief…and then I added: “That’s too bad. I am working on my Masters at the Donald W. Reynolds School of Journalism where this all started as a special project. It’s going to be tough going back to them to tell them the only news media organization in Nevada that does not want to participate is the Las Vegas Review-Journal.”
At that point, he got out of his chair and retrieved a list of all the editors for the newspaper. As he handed it to me, he said: “We can’t have that happen, now can we? Good luck with your publication and call me if you have any problems.” I thanked him and left. For the past 26 years, the Las Vegas Review-Journal has been one of the most cooperative news media with updates.
[Footnote: At the time, Donald W. Reynolds and his Donrey Media Group owned the Las Vegas Review-Journal.]
Developing a Format for the Nevada Media Directory
When I started the process of interviewing the news media, I had no preconceived notion of what to include except the basics such as contact information, what type of format, and publication frequency were used. What evolved very quickly was that we were going to develop a directory that told how the media wanted to be communicated with for press and news releases. What were their preferences and deadlines? Who was the correct contact? What was the preferred method of contacting them? The format for the directory was really the result of all those one-on-one conversations.
The interviews were then compiled in a database on an IBM PC Jr. In order to be able to produced, the data had to be merged into a word processing document and edited. We hired an editor and linguist to review the work. At that point, the only way to get a quality printable versions was to use a typesetter, which would be incredibly expensive. Remember this is 1986.
And the Steve Jobs and Apple changed the way things were done.
While the Mac Plus was a great innovation, it really was the Apple LaserWriter which changed publishing forever. We could not afford one. I bought a Mac Plus from a salesman, who was a techie and hired him to help get us set up. Because he worked at Macys where they had one, we were able to produce our master pages at a $1.00 per sheet. Adobe added a revolutionary program called PageMaker which allowed us to do what typesetters did. While technology was moving fast, it still meant we had to send the data back and forth seven times before we could produce a Word Perfect (yes, remember that) document we could use for the merge data. The new merged file then was send back to our Mac to be flowed into PageMaker. It was not easy, but we found a way to control our information internally and to produce in-house the masters for the directory.
In the fall of 1986, we compiled all the interviews and returned them to the news media by mail with stamped envelopes for them to send them back. Most returned them promptly. The others were called by telephone to update their page. After the final information was received, we made the corrections in the database and had to repeat the entire process to produce another Word Perfect document.