WNPR

Jeff Cohen

News Director

Jeff Cohen, Connecticut Public Radio's News Director, is a proud New Orleans native who now calls New England home. Or at least his second home.

He started in newspapers in 2001 and joined WNPR in 2010, where he has worked as a reporter, a host, and, since 2017, the station's news director.

In addition to covering state and Hartford city politics, Jeff covered the December 2012 Newtown shootings and the stories that followed.  Much of that work was featured on NPR.  Also in 2012, Jeff was selected by NPR and Kaiser Health News for their joint Health Care In The States project. That work resulted in several national stories, including ones on the Affordable Care Act and medical education. In his role as news director, Jeff began The Island Next Door -- Puerto Rico and Conneticut After Hurricane Maria -- an ongoing, award-winning reporting project involving the entire Connecticut Public Radio newsroom. 

Before working at WNPR, Jeff worked as the city reporter for The Hartford Courant.  While at the Courant, he won a National Headliner Award for a Northeast Magazine story about the ostracized widow of the state's first casualty in Iraq; wrote about his post-Katrina, flooded out home in New Orleans; and was part of a team of reporters that broke the stories of alleged corruption at Hartford City Hall that led to the arrest of former Mayor Eddie A. Perez. He also worked at the Meriden Record-Journal and as a freelancer for The New York Times.

Jeff lives in Middletown with his wife, cats, and two trouble-making kids. Thanks to the kids, he's written two children's books. The first, Eva and Sadie and the Worst Haircut Ever!, came out in June 2014.  The second, Eva and Sadie and the Best Classroom Ever!, came out in June 2015.  He likes to make bread and wine.

Ways to Connect

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

It’s 7:00 am, and Joemar Class is dressed in his new Bulkeley High School uniform. His older brother William already finished school in Puerto Rico, so he’s still asleep in the bedroom the two boys share with their father.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

Son las 7:00 a.m. y Joemar Class viste su nuevo uniforme de la Secundaria Bukeley. Su hermano mayor William ya terminó la escuela en Puerto Rico, así que aún duerme en la habitación que los dos chicos comparten con su padre.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

We drove to Caguas, a city south of San Juan, four weeks after Hurricane Maria hit. Our guide was Luis Cotto -- a former Hartford city councilman now living in Cambridge, Massachusetts. We traveled to Puerto Rico to tell stories; he traveled to deliver thousands of dollars in inflatable solar lights and water filters to people who need them, including members of his family.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

Fuimos en auto hasta Caguas, una ciudad al sur de San Juan, cuatro semanas después de que golpeara el Huracán María. Nuestra guía fue Luis Cotto, un exconsejal de la ciudad de Hartford que ahora vive en Cambridge, Massachusetts. Viajamos a Puerto Rico para contar historias; él viajó para entregar miles de dólares en inflables, lámparas solares y filtros de agua a personas que las necesitan, incluso a integrantes de su propia familia.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

Blanca Ortiz-Torres was sitting in a Puerto Rican oasis. She was at a working bakery in the tiny mountain town of Maricao that had both a generator and a cistern and, as a result, could serve cold drinks, hot coffee, fresh pastries, and pizza.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

Blanca Ortiz-Torres estaba sentada en un oasis puertorriqueño. Estaba en una pastelería en funcionamiento en la pequeña ciudad de Maricao, que tenía tanto un generador como una cisterna, en consecuencia, podía servir bebidas frías, café caliente, pastelería fresca y pizza.

Veronica Montalvo fills up a water jug for a boy in Salinas, Puerto Rico.
Ryan Caron King / WNPR

Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico on September 20, and a month later, clean water continues to be hard to come by for some residents -- particularly those in more rural parts of the island.

Veronica Montalvo fills up a water jug for a boy in Salinas, Puerto Rico.
Ryan Caron King / WNPR

El Huracán María golpeó Puerto Rico el 20 de septiembre y un mes más tarde, el agua limpia sigue siendo difícil de conseguir para algunos residentes, particularmente para aquellos que viven en las zonas rurales de la isla.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

Guillermo Class just couldn’t wait any more. The reports he was getting from his two teenage sons living in Puerto Rico weren’t good. Food and water were getting to them and their mother. But not enough.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

Guillermo Class ya no podía esperar más. Los informes que recibía de sus dos hijos adolescentes que vivían en Puerto Rico no eran buenos. A ellos y a su madre les llegaban alimentos y agua, pero no suficientes.

Veronica Montalvo/Facebook

Veronica Montalvo was born in Willimantic and has lived in Hartford, Middletown, Waterbury -- and, now, San Juan. She moved there earlier this year. And she weathered Hurricane Maria in her 300-year-old apartment building. She says the hours of howling winds were unbearable. The walls of her apartment were so wet they looked like they were crying. Part of her ceiling caved in.

And now, the aftermath.

Veronica Montalvo/Facebook

Verónica Montalvo nació en Willimantic y ha vivo en Hartford, Middletown, Waterbury, y, ahora vive en San Juan. Se mudó para allá a principios del año. Y aguantó al Huracán María en su departamento de un edificio de 300 años. Dijo que las horas de vientos huracanados fueron insoportables. Las paredes de su departamento estaban tan mojadas que parecía que lloraban. Parte de su techo cedió.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

The first year of Hartford’s new minor league baseball stadium is complete, but the legal fights concerning the land surrounding it are far from over. On Monday, the city announced that it formally terminated Centerplan from further work. 

Ken Cedeno / International Medical Corps

Dr. Robert Fuller visited five primary clinics in Puerto Rico Wednesday -- gong clockwise around the island from San Juan to Arroyo and then north to Caguas.  

Ken Cedeno / International Medical Corps

Robert Fuller was loading his car with supplies in San Juan, getting ready to leave the battered capital for a trip inland to survey damage to local health facilities, when we caught up with him by phone.

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