Pulitzer Prize-winning foreign correspondent, cutting-edge investigative reporter, award-winning author. Finder of fresh stories both global and national as a staff writer for The Associated Press, the Los Angeles Times, Boston Globe and Wall Street Journal. Relief worker in Darfur and war crimes investigator in Uganda. Twice a visiting lecturer at the Poynter Institute of Media Studies. A sport-touring motorcyclist whose greatest talent is surviving completely unnecessary crashes.
Yeah, that’s a mouthful of self-aggrandizing shit. And not a complete sentence in the bunch. Did I mention that I was a copy editor on the roughest meat-grinder in the information industry, the AP’s international desk? I filed the agency’s domestic bulletin on the fall of the Berlin Wall, then proceeded to cover almost every global conflict that ensued, from Mogadishu to Lower Manhattan.
I’m essentially a journalist who finds hidden treasure at the often-overlooked intersection of seemingly disparate beats and disciplines. I’ve written about the impact of parental grief on public policy; how a simple tube changed the dynamics of the fierce debate over the definition of death; and the rainstorms that left wiped-out Michigan pumpkin growers with a hollow feeling inside.
I spent a year at the Boston Globe re-reporting World War II based on millions of (some only briefly) declassified intelligence records. To put my skill set in perspective, one of the books I’m writing contains a chapter about a single blowjob.
My work is featured in books both educational and entertaining (from The Mammoth Book of Journalism to Best Newspaper Writing: 25 Anniversary Edition). I am the author of LOST ON EARTH: Nomads of the New World (winner of the Salon non-fiction award) and last year’s PERMANENT DEADLINE, which I like to think of as “the book Big Media doesn’t want you to read.” The latter was graced with a blurb by the great Cami McCormick of CBS.
“PERMANENT DEADLINE is an insider’s look into what it’s like to be an outsider in the club of ‘professional journalism,’” the six-time winner of the Edward R. Murrow Award wrote. “Mark is a renegade. He is, and will always be, one of the most fascinating minds I will ever meet.”
I’ve been working on three books of late, one of which has taken me 5,000 miles over six months traveling from Key West to Memphis to LA to SLC to, currently, Laramie, Wyoming, the place where my loyal steed, an overworked old Jag, finally was put out to pasture. I left behind a trail of cranky editors and agents to pursue what I consider important and interesting and amusing stories and experiences.
Being a vagabond who has a tendency to Napalm bridges comes with a price: poverty. But, I’ve been relatively well-off and drop-dead broke before, and neither state has had much effect on my level of happiness. The state of Wyoming, though, is beginning to annoy me.