Jeff Cohen joined the Houston Chronicle in June 2002 as executive vice president and editor, overseeing the newspaper’s English and Spanish editions and its Web site, chron.com. He came to the Chronicle from a fellow Hearst newspaper, the Times Union in Albany, N.Y. He also worked at Hearst's corporate headquarters in New York, where he was a special projects editor for new media.
NPF’s judges said Cohen is a model for the modern newspaper editor, focusing on the broad journalistic horizon and keeping the print product strong even as the paper moves smartly and aggressively online.
Under his leadership, there is a greater emphasis on lively, engaging writing and a tighter focus on local topical issues as well as the broad themes that define the nation’s fourth largest city. The features and sports sections have been recognized by their peers as among the best in the country. The newspaper, along with its accompanying Web site, has been redesigned top to bottom. The site’s animated editorial cartoons have attracted national attention and made the newspaper’s cartoonist a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 2007. It has added a sister Spanish-language weekly, La Voz, and successfully launched niche publications in fashion and health.
Cohen directed the Chronicle’s coverage of some of the biggest news events in Houston’s recent history: hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the Enron trials, the space shuttle Columbia disaster and a scandal in the police department’s DNA lab that resulted in the release from prison of three innocent men.
Cohen joined the Hearst Corporation in 1976 as a sportswriter at the San Antonio Light. Among his beats was the National Basketball Association’s Spurs. He won awards in feature writing, including one for best story in Texas for an investigative series on cockfighting. Cohen became the managing editor of the Light in 1989. He has served as a Pulitzer Prize juror four times.