Ben Markus

Ben Markus is an investigative reporter for Colorado Public Radio.

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.

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.

  • What’s the possibility of a big, deadly tornado in Colorado? We couldn’t help but wonder with all the twisters that’ve hit the Midwest, South and even the Northeast. Mike Nelson, chief meteorologist for 7 News in Denver and author of the “Colorado Weather Almanac” joins host Ryan Warner to talk about tornadoes in Colorado.
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  • Colorado doesn’t have a nuclear power plant. But a Pueblo attorney wants to change that. He’s proposed an energy park with a nuclear power plant as the centerpiece. Now the Fukushima meltdown in Japan may have galvanized community opposition against it. Colorado Public Radio’s Ben Markus reports.
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  •  Denver voters will soon choose their new mayor. Candidates Michael Hancock and Chris Romer are both Democrats…but differ in style and upbringing.  CPR’s Ben Markus starts our profiles with Michael Hancock…a relative newcomer to politics with a compelling life story.
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  •  Denver elects a new mayor in a week.. The race pits two politicians who differ more in style than substance.  Both are Democrats, but their backgrounds couldn’t be more different.  Councilman Michael Hancock grew up amidst poverty and tragedy.
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  • Colorado has the nation’s toughest restrictions on state taxing and spending.  And now a suit in federal court says that may violate the U.S. Constitution.  Three dozen current and former elected officials from across the political spectrum are asking the court to overturn TABOR–the Taxpayer Bill of Rights.
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  • Environmental groups are taking a novel approach to fighting coal mines.  They’re asking the federal government to examine the impact–not just of the mining operations but also the coal as it’s burned in far off power plants.  This tactic is being tested against an expansion of the Elk Creek mine in the small western slope

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  • Colorado ranks in the top ten nationwide for foreclosures.  But as Colorado Public Radio’s Ben Markus reports, the quarterly numbers from the State Division of Housing offer new hope. Foreclosure fillings fell last quarter by 27%.  Ryan McMaken is the chief economist at the Colorado Division of Housing.
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  • Officials unveiled the details of a unprecedented water deal. The agreement took nearly five years to negotiate. In part, Denver Water will address environmental damage to mountain rivers and streams—committing millions of dollars.
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  • There’s enough oil beneath Western Colorado and across the border into Utah and Wyoming to dwarf Saudi Arabia. The trick is, it’s locked in rock, and so-called oil shale isn’t even liquid yet. Some companies are working on ways to profitably turn it into a source of energy.
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  • Deep cuts to the state’s education budget may shutter a half century old program in Jefferson County.  Generations of Jeffco students have attended Outdoor Lab Schools in idyllic country settings.  But with major deficits looming, the relatively expensive program is on the chopping block.  Colorado Public Radio’s Ben Markus has more.
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