This 20-year-old U of M student makes six figures breaking stories about Apple
Mark Gurman started his tech journalism career in high school. Now he's a junior at the University of Michigan and he's still making good money by breaking stories about Apple Inc.
Michigan Radio's Kate Wells reported on Gurman last year predicting "We will all be working for this kid someday."
In a profile of Gurman from the Columbia Journalism Review's Michael Rosenwald we learn how Gurman's tech journalism career got started in the 10th grade. That's when 9to5Mac founder Seth Weintraub hired him as a reporter:
Weintraub said his young reporter’s early posts required heavy editing and some basic journalism schooling, but his tenaciousness was innate and unteachable. Gurman’s ability to find sources on social networks and make connections with them or their friends was masterly. “In a different dimension,” Weintraub jokingly said, “he’d make a great scam artist.” Gurman, true to his profession, gives away little about his sources, except to say, “If you want to get the juicy story and find out how it’s going to impact the customer, you need to talk to the people familiar with the development with these products.”
There are several theories about how Gurman gets the juicy story, but the CJR piece shows how deep knowledge and a passion for the subject he's reporting on seems to be the main driver for his success.
Kara Swisher, co-founder of the tech news site Re/code puts it this way:
“He really loves Apple, but he’s not a cheerleader,” she said. “He loves the topic. And therefore he brings that curiousness into his writing. It creates a really compelling read. It’s much more passion than journalism, but it turns out he commits journalism all the time.”
Rosenwald writes that the Annenberg School of Journalism didn't think much of Gurman. They turned down his application and that's how he ended up at the University of Michigan's School of Information.
What will Gurman do after he graduates? He's not so sure. He's just entering his junior year, after all.