Jim Dolan didn’t plan on a career in journalism.

Sure, the 1967 Woodward High School graduate was editor of the school newspaper and all, but once he went off to OU, his plans were to “do something serious.”

After three majors in three semesters – pre-med, geology and architecture – and a visit with a faculty advisor, Dolan, a National Merit Scholar, decided to take a journalism class.

“I loved it,” he said. “I had so much fun I was upset I had wasted so much time with the earlier stuff.”

That career choice has taken Dolan through a busy life as a journalist, entrepreneur and now the chairman, president and CEO of Dolan Media Company, a provider of specialized business information and services. The corporate offices are in downtown Minneapolis, Minn.

Dolan founded the company with investors in 1992 and Dolan Media publishes business newspapers in numerous markets – including the Journal Record in Oklahoma City – and is a leading business-to-business teleservices provider.

While his career has covered many places and events, it actually started in a ninth grade classroom in Woodward.

Dolan’s family had moved to Woodward when he was in the eighth grade and in ninth grade had a teacher named Edna Patterson.

“I was actually dragged into journalism,” Dolan said. “Edna saw something in me I didn’t see and drafted me for the junior high newspaper. In ninth grade speech and English she announced I was editor of the newspaper – I had no idea.”

Dolan added that Helen Davis, an English teacher at Woodward High School at the time, also “had a lot to do with what I was able to do in my life.”

That life eventually took Dolan to San Antonio in 1971 after graduation from OU, where he worked for the Hart-Hankes Newspapers at the San Antonio Express News. He worked his way through the beats, wrote a column and was capital bureau chief in Austin. He was with the paper when Rupert Murdoch made the Express News his first U. S. acquisition.

Dolan and his wife Sylvia (Razien) also a Woodward native, were transferred to Australia for a time, then England, then back to San Antonio as executive editor.

He then moved to New York and the corporate office, where he caught the “entrepreneurial virus” from Murdoch.

Dolan left Murdoch’s company to run an online information company in Chicago in the early days of online businesses, then to a small investment bank doing media buys. He and eight other investors bought the Chicago Sun-Times from Murdoch.

Dolan then went to an investment bank as a partner again doing media deals, then started his present company.

In addition to the Journal Record newspaper, Dolan Media publishes the Journal Record Legislative Reports, which blankets the Oklahoma Legislature, and the Tinker Takeoff, a publication that covers Tinker Air Force Base. His company also does a construction and residential real estate trade show in Tulsa.

Along the way, Dolan has earned several honors including the Outstanding Alumnus award from the Gaylord College of Journalism in 1998.

He’s also had a great time.

“It’s (journalism) been incredible fun,” Dolan said. “You get to be where the action is and you’re always around interesting people. It’s been terrific. Any other career I can think of pales by comparison.”

Dolan’s parents no longer live in Woodward – they are in Oklahoma City – but he still has family ties here through his wife.

“We still actually own a home there that her mother had so we come back some times,” Dolan said.

The Dolans live in Minnetonka, Minn.

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