Mark Puente
Jayla Salter
Mark Puente, investigative journalist and former CSU student, speaks with journalism students at Cleveland State University on Tuesday, April 18, 2023.

Investigative Journalist Mark Puente visits CSU

Two time Pulitzer prize finalist Mark Puente sat down with CSU journalism students to share his journey as a journalist and inspire the next generation.

Being honest and fair is only everywhere, especially in the news, if you're talking about Mark Puente, who spoke to students on April 18 at Cleveland State University about his career as a successful reporter. 

During their hour-long discussion, Puente talked about his career’s uprising, his experience as a journalist and answered questions from student journalists.

Puente became a reporter at 32-years-old after working as a truck driver for over nine years. With a push from his wife, he decided to attend Cleveland State University in 2001 with the goal of becoming a lawyer. He completed assignments while completing driving routes.

After taking undergraduate courses at CSU, Puente went on to earn his bachelors in Political Science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Puente credits CSU with giving him the push to pivot careers due to accessible classes. 

In 2005, he became a crime and investigative reporter for the Cleveland Plain Dealer, where he led nationwide coverage of a Cleveland serial killer and sparked a criminal investigation of a Cuyahoga County Sheriff after reporting on his shady practices. Puente’s journey does not stop there, his reporting skills led him to work as a reporter for the Tampa Bay Times, Baltimore Sun, and Los Angeles Times.

Puente has built a reputable image with his investigative journalism reporting. Not only does he talk-the-talk, but he walks-the-walk, priding himself on being honest and fair regarding reporting. Puente’s presence is known when he walks into any room because of his reputation of writing the hard news and getting to the bottom of any story. 

"That became known, 'if he comes to your door… you're screwed'," said Puente when speaking about himself and how he handles getting political officials to talk.

Puente's work speaks for itself as he investigates Cleveland Police hiring practices, the city’s interest, or lack of, in police reform, and more in his current role as a staff writer, leading investigative reporting, for The Marshall Project in Cleveland.

Besides being a kick-ass journalist, in his free time, Puente runs a business, Puente's Tijuana Tacos. He says his tacos are the best in the area and can be found at various pop-up locations, listed on his website, this summer.