What is Open Room Media?

Open Room Media is a podcast that tells the surprising anecdotes behind scrappy media startups that haven’t been discovered by other media–yet–and explores the challenges they faced on their way to success or failure. The show is made possible through support from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation and the Reynolds School of Journalism at the University of Nevada, Reno. 

Who are we?

Photo credit: David Calvert
Mignon Fogarty, the Donald W. Reynolds Chair in Entrepreneurial Journalism, Photo by David Calvert


Mignon Fogarty is the founder the Quick and Dirty Tips podcast network, the creator of of the Grammar Girl website (one of Writer’s Digest‘s 101 Best Websites for Writers in 2012, 2013, and 2014), and the creator and host of the Grammar Girl podcast (Best Education Podcast in the 2012 and 2013 Podcast Awards). Mignon is the author of the New York Times best-seller Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing and six other books on writing. She appeared as a guest on the Oprah Winfrey Show and the Today Show and has been featured in the New York Times, Business Week, the Washington Post, USA Today, CNN.com, and more. She is also the Donald W. Reynolds Chair of Media Entrepreneurship in the Reynolds School of Journalism and Advanced Media Studies at the University of Nevada, Reno.


Photos by M.D. Welch, depth-of-field.com
Patty Bobek, Photo by M.D. Welch, depth-of-field.com


Patty Bobek began her storytelling career working in television in Los Angeles. She worked on Aftermath with William Shatner: The DC Snipers, a television show exploring the lives of individuals affected by the 2002 shootings. Other projects include an environmental show for the nonprofit foundation The Climate Reality Project and a documentary show about the 2012 Olympics. Most recently, she produced her own documentary, Hosting Algeria, about a group of teenagers who travel to America for the first time. She has been working on the Open Room Media podcast from its inception. Her storytelling skills include multiple platforms including writing, television, and radio.



Colombant Photo


Nico Colombant is a multimedia journalist, a documentary filmmaker and a podcasting instructor at the University Nevada, Reno.  He was inspired to be a journalist by the likes of Hunter S. Thompson (as you can see in the picture),  Ryszard Kapuscinski and V.S Naipaul.  He always falls asleep listening to a podcast, a sports game or international news. With a taste for travel and the tropics,  Nico has filed thousands of print, video and radio stories from more than fifty countries throughout Africa, Europe, the Americas and Asia. For every story he works on, Nico always like to shine a light on the human spirit, and what drives people to be who they are.  As part of Open Room Media, he is helping with storyboarding and audio editing.







Sam Johnson Headshot
Sam Johnson, Photo courtesy of Off the Rails Photography by Cristol Digangi


Sam Johnson is a journalism student at the University of Nevada, Reno, with a focus in visual communications and a minor in Spanish.  She is the arts and entertainment editor for the Nevada Sagebrush and a social media agent for Allgo Social.  She has done odd photography projects here and there, covering the National Championship Air Races in 2013 and a mission trip to Costa Rica the same year.  Her inspirations include her colleagues and professors, Steve McCurry and William Albert Allard.  She hopes to become a National Geographic photographer one day or work in social media for YouTubers like Markiplier and Seananners.



Zach Taylor Headshot
Zachary Taylor, Photo courtesy of Off the Rails Photography by Cristol Digangi


Zachary Taylor is a student at the University of Nevada, Reno studying journalism and secondary education, emphasis in English. He was born and raised in Las Vegas, Nevada and moved to Reno to further his education. Zachary has been working hard in his studies and has gained opportunities that he has not imagined, such as working in different fields that are developing constantly. He loves staying busy, thus working full time, while going to school full time. In his free time, he enjoys spending his time with his friends and family, but really enjoys the days that he can just sit on his couch and read a book or watch television.