Ben Markus

Ben Markus is an investigative reporter for Colorado Public Radio.

Education:
Bachelor’s degree in history with a minor in English, University of California at Davis.

Professional background:
Ben joined Colorado Public Radio in April 2011 as a general assignment reporter. He was named business reporter in 2017 and became the investigative reporter in 2019. As a business reporter, he shaped CPR’s business and economics coverage creating dozens of databases to track the important drivers that define the Colorado economy.

Ben came to CPR after spending three years at Hawaii Public Radio where he produced award-winning coverage on a range of subjects, including health care, technology and education. He learned the ins and outs of public radio from his first job at Capital Public Radio in Sacramento, California. Following that, he served as a reporter and producer at KUAC-FM/Alaska One in Fairbanks, Alaska.

Awards:
In 2010, Ben won the top prize for general news and feature reporting in the Hawaii Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. He also served as senior fellow in NPR’s Economic Training Project.

Why I became a journalist:
I first realized I wanted to be a journalist after watching the movie “All The Presidents Men.” It was empowering to know that good journalism—exposing the truth—can shake the pillars of American society. I think members of the press still occupy a unique and revered role in our society as members of the fourth estate. I’m proud to call myself a journalist, and I take the job seriously.

Why I got into radio:
I came to radio because I wanted to tell stories that touched people’s lives, the way NPR so often touches mine. Like many listeners, I was glued to my radio following 9/11. Melissa Block’s reporting at that time was part of what inspired me to become a reporter.

How I ended up at CPR:
After living the island life in Hawaii for three years, I was ready to make a change. CPR stuck out to me because of the news team’s commitment to local issues, the state-of-the-art facilities, and the fact that there is a lot of support for CPR in the community. It was an added bonus that Colorado offers a lot of options for the leisure activities my wife and I enjoy, including traveling, listening to live music and attending sporting events. Denver seemed like an ideal place for us, and I’m really happy to being a part of CPR’s bright future.

  • The state Labor Department is whittling away at a $128 million unemployment overpayment balance.  The agency collected $20 million in the last 12 months. Source: Colorado Department of Labor and Employment.
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  • Data representing the most up to date information as of June 21st.
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  • Oil well in NE Colorado. Photo courtesy of Anadarko. Summer in Colorado means warm weather and sunny skies. It also means ozone pollution. The Denver metro area is again violating the federal ozone standard.
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  • Photo: Moms and kids deliver postcards to Boulder County Commissioners asking for an extension of a moratorium on drilling. [CPR/BMarkus] Opponents of fracking are licking their wounds after a bruising legislative session.  One by one, attempts to reign in the oil and gas industry were either watered down or died on the Senate floor.
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  • Photo: Inside the Pink House dispensary grow operation in North Denver. Ben Markus/CPR The smoke’s clearing from this year’s intense legislative session. Or is the smoke actually getting thicker? Lawmakers here were the first in the nation to come up with rules for recreational marijuana.
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  • Colorado has just become the first state in the country to pass regulations governing recreational marijuana sales.  The historic legislation that passed Wednesday is the product of months of work by a state task force and lawmakers.
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  • [Photos of the Parachute Creek cleanup courtesy of Bruce Gordon, Ecoflight] The state House could vote as early as this week on an overhaul of the state’s oil and gas regulating panel.
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  • *Source: Colorado Medical Marijuana Enforcement Division. Denver is the capital of medical marijuana, home to more than 40% of the state’s dispensaries.  An analysis of license data, mapped by CPR, shows the city of Denver is saturated.  So how will recreational pot shops fit in?
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  • Civil unions passed the state House of Representatives this morning.  The bill already made its way through the Senate and now awaits Governor John Hickenlooper’s signature.  When he signs it later this month, Colorado will be the 18th state to have legalized civil unions or gay marriage.  Colorado Public Radio’s Ben Markus has more.
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  • The Governor’s task force on recreational marijuana wrapped up it’s work last night.  We now have a better idea of what the industry will look like, who can buy marijuana, and how to protect kids.  That is: if the recommendations are adopted by the State legislature.  Colorado Public Radio’s Ben Markus reports.
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  • In about 10 months, Colorado’s first recreational marijuana retail businesses will open their doors. What exactly that new industry will look like is still a mystery. The cities and the state are scrambling to put regulations in place before that happens. Colorado has had lots of experience regulating marijuana for medical use.
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  • As the state transitions to legalized marijuana, many of the laws successfully governing the medical system will simply be transferred to recreational pot.  But one policy is sharply dividing Colorado’s marijuana industry.  Its requires all retail medical marijuana shops to grow their own product.  CPR’s Ben Markus reports.
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  • The theater in Aurora where a gunman killed twelve people and wounded dozens more reopened Thursday night with an invitation-only event.  Some victims and their families boycotted, while others came in support. Here is a transcript of a report from CPR’s Ben Markus.
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  • The pre-trial hearing for alleged Aurora theater gunman James Holmes wrapped up Wednesday.  Three days of dramatic testimony concluded with newly released photos of Holmes that disturbed some of the victims’ families.  Colorado Public Radio’s Ben Markus was in the courtroom.
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  • Recreational marijuana has been legal in Colorado for about a month now. Well, sort of. There’s still no place to buy it legally. So, anyone who doesn’t want to grow pot themselves is going to have to wait about a year for retail shops.
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  • On Tuesday, Boulder County will likely have new oil and gas regulations on the books.  County Commissioners are poised to pass some of the strictest possible rules they can on drilling.  It’s part of a growing movement by cities and counties attempting to control an industry spreading across the Front Range.
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