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 presidential candidates have very different visions for the nation’s energy policy.  And Coloradans should pay attention.  The state has a mix of coal, natural gas, oil and wind … and lots of federal land.  That means it’s uniquely positioned to feel the impact of either candidate’s energy policy.
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  • As Barack Obama and Mitt Romney faced off inside DU’s Magness Arena, thousands gathered outside to watch the debate and to protest.
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  • The first presidential debate is tomorrow at the University of Denver.  It’s the first time ever that it will be held in the Rocky Mountain region.  With more than 3-thousand members of the media expected from all over the world, the debate will thrust DU, Denver, and Colorado onto the international stage.
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  • Campaign bracelet supporting Repubilcan Danny Stroud [Photo: CPR/Ben Markus] We’re looking at Colorado’s Congressional races as part of our “Colorado Votes” election coverage, and two of those races were over before they started.  Denver’s first district hasn’t elected a Republican since the ‘70s.
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  • Being a swing state, Colorado sees a ton of political ads. It used to be that if you wanted to know who was behind them, you had to visit local TV stations and go through their files. That’s something very few people did.
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  • Law enforcement is raising new concerns that Colorado’s medical marijuana is being smuggled onto the black market.  Supporters argue a few cases shouldn’t taint the highly-regulated industry.  But CPR’s Ben Markus reports the drug may not be as heavily regulated as originally planned.
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  • Prosecutors are weighing whether the Aurora theatre shooting suspect will face the death penalty.  But there’s a looming problem: Colorado’s death penalty may be unconstitutional.  That’s according to a study by a legal scholars at the University of Denver.  CPR’s Ben Markus explains.
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  • President Barack Obama was in Denver yesterday to kick off a two-day campaign swing through the state.  Colorado Public Radio’s Ben Markus reports the president spoke to a crowd, filled mostly with women, about healthcare.
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  • Alex Teves was one of the 12 people killed in an Aurora movie theatre more than a week ago.  He died shielding his girlfriend as the suspected gunman opened fire on the crowd.  Alex was a comic book fan, but he also had a passion for craft beer.
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  • USOC Headquarters in downtown Colorado Springs [Photo: Courtesy USOC]The Opening Ceremonies for the London Olympics are just two days away.  CPR is looking at our state’s Olympic ties with our series “Colorado Competes.”   Since 1978, Colorado Springs has been home to the U.S.
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  • A severe drought is hitting farmers and ranchers in this state hard. But they’ve been here before.  A similar drought, ten years ago, walloped agriculture. We’ll talk shortly with the head of a sale barn, who says the drought is forcing ranchers to sell cattle much earlier than they would otherwise.
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  • The view from I-25 in Colorado Springs. Photo: Ben Markus The Waldo Canyon Fire continues to rage west of Colorado Springs consuming more than 15-thousand acres.  Containment stands at just 5-percent.  There’s still no word on how many structures have burned, and hundreds of firefighters continue to battle the blaze.
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  • The economy is slowly getting better, but Colorado’s unemployment rate is still more than double what it was before the recession.  That has put tremendous pressure on the state’s unemployment insurance system.  Add to that an emphasis on reducing false payments, which has bogged things down further.  Colorado Public Radio’s Ben Markus reports it is

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  • Nearly a quarter of all troops who’ve served in Afghanistan or Iraq struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder.  Doctors and counselors also struggle to find good treatments.  But there’s a drug that some vets swear by.  It’s marijuana.  And here in Colorado, a groups of vets have asked the State to allow medical marijuana as an

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  • Rents are at historic highs in parts of the Front Range, and it’s prompting renters to look at buying. The problem is, there aren’t a lot of affordable homes on the market these days. Ryan McMaken, an economist for the Colorado Division of Housing, speaks with Ryan Warner.
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  • On a warm Sunday, 30 years ago, news went out on the radio that Exxon was abandonning its oil shale operations on the Western Slope. Instantly, more than 2,000 people were out of work. Today is the 30th anniversary of what would become known as Black Sunday.
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