The first Nevada Journal, it appears, was the one established in California’s Nevada County in 1851, just as the California Gold Rush was picking up momentum. A Whig newspaper, it existed, according to Wikipedia, until 1863. Its name differed slightly, from ours, as it included the definite article: The Nevada Journal.
The next well-known Nevada Journal appears to have arisen later in the 19th Century, after Iowa lawmakers had appointed commissioners to locate a county seat for a new county to be named after that century’s widely esteemed U.S. Supreme Court justice, Joseph Story. One commissioner, who’d participated in the national rush for California gold in 1848 and 1849, a Joseph M. Thrift, had “greatly admired the Sierras Nevada,” according to a history of that county, and proposed the name “Nevada” for the new town. No one objected, and so, in flat Iowa, arose a city named after the often snow-clad Sierra Nevada mountain chain.
For many decades, Iowans have been a bit sensitive over the naming of the Story County seat. Wrote William Orson Payne, the author of the history:
This event, be it noted, was all of ten years antecedent to the naming of the state of Nevada for the same mountains, and any suggestion therefore that the name of the county seat of Story County was taken from that of a decadent mining camp on the borders of the great American desert, is without foundation. If one political division could be imputed to be named for the other, it would be the state for the county seat; but as a matter of fact, both were named for the mountains, and the county seat does not even have to accept responsibility for the unpromising state.
According to Payne, the first newspaper in Story County, Iowa, had been established around 1858 — approximately “the middle” of the period from 1853 to 1864 — and had been named the Story County Advocate. It had been purchased and renamed multiple times until 1875, when Payne’s family moved to the town, as his father had been named principal of the city schools.
By 1911, when Payne’s history of Story County, Iowa was published, his family and he had been publishing the Advocate — which they had renamed the Representative — for almost three decades. It was only in the concluding pages of his history that Payne mentioned “the Journal,” noting it had been “founded in 1895, by the Benjamin Bros.,” and had “in recent years been a notable success.”
Thus, what is now Iowa’s “Nevada Journal” is today on the web at NevadaIowaJournal.com — Nevada Policy having registered the NevadaJournal.com domain with web authorities first, entirely unaware that the Iowa paper existed.
The Silver State’s Nevada Journal had come into being in the mid-1990s as a monthly publication of the the Nevada Policy Research Institute think tank, founded by Judy Cresanta. A few years later, in 1997, she recruited an independent but like-minded classic-liberal journalist, Steven Miller — who’d reported for both the Reno Gazette-Journal as well as the Las Vegas Review Journal — to serve as NJ’s managing editor.
Having been much younger when first occupying those reporting positions, Miller had more recently discovered that the years had brought him a background, skill set and perspective that allowed him to report at a significantly more in-depth level than in his 20s and 30s. During the next quarter century — all but the first five years of which have been based in Las Vegas — much of his reporting testified to this.
In early 2020, with the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as the political responses to it, increasingly crippling American businesses — whether for-profit or nonprofit — Nevada Policy agreed to transfer ownership of the publication to Miller, where he continues to report and serve as managing editor.