Mark Rockwell (’84)

Wireless Wizard

 

Just call Mark Rockwell (’84) a wireless wizard. Be it pagers, cellular phones, satellite communications or the wireless Internet, Rockwell can give you the lowdown. The telecommunications journalist was named bureau chief of Wireless Week, a weekly newspaper that reports on all types of wireless communications. Rockwell’s beat includes the wireless, regulatory and legislative news and trends of the nation’s capitol, including such bodies as the FCC, Capitol Hill, the Supreme Court and the White House.

A 15-year veteran reporter, Rockwell values the on-job internships and experiences he received at Harrisonburg’s Daily News-Record and the Waynesboro News-Virginian. “I started out covering all the stories no one else was willing to do,” he says, “like taking photos of unusual looking vegetables.” He also remembers readers saying things like, “Hey, don’t this potato look like Wynona Judd?” or “Can you send a reporter out to take a ‘pitcher’ of this huge moth I got trapped in my garage?”

Following the footsteps of his Associated Press reporter father, Rockwell has interviewed many politicians and celebrities including Al Gore, Bill Gates and numerous U.S. and state congressmen. He enjoys talking about how his father’s work influenced him. “My father interviewed Elvis Presley before the king went into the Army. I was impressed with his ability to talk with people and then write about it.”

After writing his first newspaper story, Rockwell became hooked on the process. “Seeing your byline can’t be beat,” he says.

Rockwell earned the 1996 American Business Press Jesse H. Neal Award for a feature he wrote for Tele.com Magazine. The article covered connections of underprivileged people, schools and libraries to the Internet. In 1984, he joined Phillips Publishing as a telecom reporter and after three years moved to MIS Week. He has written for Communications Daily and worked in public relations for GTE Space-net and NEC America.

In 1995 Rockwell returned to telecom journalism to cover the U.S. Congress as legislators prepared to pass the 1996 Telecommunications Act.

“There I was surrounded by reporters from the Washington Post, New York Times and Wall Street Journal in a press conference with Al Gore the day Clinton signed the Telecom Act. I have a photo from that day that I use to convince my wife I’m a working journalist

 

Allison Swanson (’02)

 


Publisher: Montpelier Magazine For Information Contact: montpelier@jmu.edu