|Education||Cornell University (BA)|
University of Michigan (MA)
|Employer||Las Vegas Review-Journal (1984–1999)|
Las Vegas Sun (1999–2012)
Reno Gazette-Journal (2015–2016)
|Television||KLAS-TV and Las Vegas One (1999–2010)|
KENV-DT, KRNV-DT and KSNV (2010–2014)
KLVX and KNPB (2015–2016)
|Political party||Independent (1994–present)|
Jonathan Mark Ralston (born July 13, 1959) is an American journalist, political commentator, and former talk show host. His show, Ralston Live, was seen each weekday on the two Nevada PBS stations in Las Vegas and Reno until his show was discontinued on June 21, 2016.
In 2017, Ralston launched The Nevada Independent (TNI), a nonprofit online news site devoted to Nevada business and government.
Early life and education
Ralston was born in Morristown, New Jersey and grew up in Buffalo, New York, where he attended Williamsville South High School. He received a Bachelor of Arts in English from Cornell University in 1981 and an Master of Arts in journalism from the University of Michigan in 1983.
After completing his master's degree, Ralston moved to Las Vegas, Nevada, to become a night-time police reporter for the Las Vegas Review-Journal in 1984. In 1986, he was assigned to cover politics and in 1989, he became a full-time political columnist for that paper. In 1999, he sold his newsletter side project to Greenspun Media Group and began writing for the Las Vegas Sun, one of their newspapers. His book, The Anointed One: An Inside Look At Nevada Politics, was published in September 2000. It recounted how Kenny Guinn won his first election, the Nevada governor's race in 1998, with backing from the casino industry and political insiders.
In September 2012, Ralston left the Las Vegas Sun. In 2014, Ralston appeared as an actor in the Amazon original series Alpha House. His KSNV Ralston Reports TV show ended on December 12, 2014. On January 7, 2015, he began writing for the Reno Gazette-Journal. As of 2016, he was primarily known in Nevada for his television show, Ralston Live, a different email newsletter called Flash, and a twice-weekly column for the Reno Gazette-Journal. His show was discontinued on June 21, 2016 by KLVX and KNPB.
Nevada election predictions and analysis
Ralston is known nationally for his analysis of Nevada elections, especially based upon early voting results. He has made appearances as a political commentator on various TV shows and networks including Meet the Press, MSNBC, Fox News and PBS. Ralston accurately predicted Sen. Harry Reid's victory in 2010 based on his early vote predictions, despite polling showing that Reid would lose. He accurately predicted both the presidential election in Nevada and the Nevada Senate race in 2016 on the basis of early voting data.
2016 Nevada Democratic state convention
Reporting on the Nevada Democratic state convention in 2016, Ralston tweeted that supporters of U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders had thrown chairs. The Associated Press filed a similar report. NPR originally repeated Ralston's reporting as did other media outlets, but removed it after only being able to find evidence of a chair being lifted in the air but not of one being thrown. Snopes, a website that documents and debunks urban legends and rumors, identified Ralston as the source for the statement that Sanders supporters had thrown chairs and said there was no evidence to support it.
The Nevada Independent
Ralston's plans to launch a digital news publication in early 2017 called The Nevada Independent were first reported in November 2016. The site launched on January 17, 2017 and Ralston announced he would disclose the sources of all its donations.
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- "The Anointed One Paperback – September 19, 2000". Amazon.com. Amazon.com. Retrieved March 11, 2016.
- Witt, Alex (January 11, 2014). "Surprising cameos in 'Alpha House' season finale". MSNBC. Retrieved May 25, 2016.
- Roerink, Kyle (December 2, 2014). "TV station pulls the plug on Nevada political reporter Jon Ralston's 'Ralston Reports". Nevada State Personnel Watch. Ty Robben. Retrieved March 11, 2016.
- Scott, Kelly (December 17, 2014). "Jon Ralston joins RGJ political coverage team". Nevada State Personnel Watch. Ty Robben. Retrieved March 11, 2016.
- Botkin, Ben (June 21, 2016). "Jon Ralston political shows dumped at Las Vegas, Reno PBS stations". Las Vegas Review-Journal. Retrieved January 20, 2017.
- Jamitis, Jim (November 5, 2016). "'Trump Is Dead' In NV Says Political Analyst Who Despite Polling Predicted Harry Reid Win in 2010". RedState.com. Retrieved November 6, 2016.
- "Ralston: How deep does the blue wave go?". Reno Gazette Journal. Retrieved November 17, 2016.
- "Jon Ralston to launch Nevada news site". POLITICO. Retrieved November 17, 2016.
- @@RalstonReports (May 15, 2016). "Convention ended w/security shutting it down, Bernie folks rushed stage, yelling obscenities, throwing chairs. Unity Now! On to Philly 2/2" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
- Jensen, Elizabeth (May 18, 2016). "Fact-Checking NPR's Reports On Vegas 'Violence'". NPR. Retrieved May 20, 2016.
- Kim LaCapria, "The Chair Thrown 'Round the World", Snopes, May 19, 2016. Retrieved May 20, 2016.
- Bilton, Ricardo (November 15, 2016). "Jon Ralston is launching The Nevada Independent, with polls and Spanish-language features to offer a unique angle on a changing state". NiemanLab. Retrieved January 22, 2017.
- Pratt, Timothy; Ember, Sydney (January 16, 2017). "Voice of Politics in Nevada Media Starts a News Website". New York Times. Retrieved January 22, 2017.