Mark Emmons

EmmonsAs for a remembrance, I don’t have a single, special memory. I just recall that I spent every free hour I could at the Wildcat and, having come from a junior-college journalism program (State University of New York-Morrisville) that produced a weekly newspaper, I was stunned how we put out a professional, five-day-a-week product that considered itself in serious competition with the Star and Citizen.   


Mark Emmons is an accomplished and competent researcher, interviewer and reporter with a serious commitment to excellence and accuracy in the published word. He has won numerous national journalism awards for long-form feature writing, biographies, essays and editorial pieces, and has been nominated three times for the Pulitzer Prize.

He specializes in front-page newspaper stories that communicate complex subject matter in clear and concise language to general audiences.  Plus, he’s the author of the book “The Last Chance Ranch: A Story about Football, Gang Members and Learning to Play by the Rules.”

Since 2000, he has been a writer with the San Jose Mercury News, in San Jose, Calif. He writes stories that deal with complicated and sensitive topics that are featured prominently on the newspaper’s home web page because of their ability to drive Internet traffic to the site.

He won several national writing awards in 2007 for a series called “Frank’s Fight,” which focused on Sgt. Frank Sandoval, an Iraqi war veteran wounded by an improvised explosive device who was being treated at the Veterans Administration’s Palo Alto polytrauma clinic. Emmons spent 11 months following his recovery. His journey with Sandoval and his family ended with Sandoval’s death, which Emmons also covered.

From 1998 to 2000, Emmons served as the sports enterprise writer for the Orange County Register in California. He was chosen to cover the Los Angeles Lakers because of ability to interact with, and not be intimidated by, forceful personalities such as Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant and Dennis Rodman. He became the “go-to” reporter for covering front-page breaking news because of his ability to meet tight deadlines and he received numerous national and state writing awards for feature and breaking-news writing and reporting.

From 1996 to 1998, he was a feature writer for the Detroit Free Press, specializing in high-impact stories, dropping into major stories such as natural disasters and other national news topics.

From 1984 through 1996, he was the sports columnist for the Tribune newspapers based in Mesa, Ariz. He covered every sports franchise and every major sports event as he helped a fast-growing collection of newspapers raise visibility with television and radio appearances. The chain’s circulation nearly doubled during his tenure and his book tour for “The Last Chance Ranch” gave the newspapers national exposure.

Emmons worked as a sports writer for the Wildcat and he earned his bachelor’s degree in journalism from the UA.

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