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

Chion Wolf / WNPR

The Hartford board of education is scheduled to meet Tuesday to pick a successor to Superintendent Steven Adamowski, who is leaving after this year.  But there's some concern in the community that the process was flawed.  The district’s spokesman has been advocating for one of the two candidates to take Adamowski’s place.

You might know the name Elizabeth Horton Sheff.  She's the Sheff in Sheff vs. O'Neill, the landmark school desegregation case in Hartford.

Chion Wolf/WNPR

Governor Dannel Malloy presented his plan to close the state’s $3.2 billion budget gap to a joint session of the state legislature today. 

Chion Wolf Photo

Chion Wolf/WNPR

Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra took over last summer after Eddie Perez was found guilty of corruption and resigned his office. Now Segarra is running for mayor, and he says Perez’s political allies are targeting him. Segarra appeared on WNPR’s Where We Live with John Dankosky. He suggested that efforts by at least one of his opponents, State Representative Kelvin Roldan, have the feel of Perez politics.

Front Street in Court

Feb 8, 2011
Jeff Cohen/WNPR

The retail development known as Front Street in Hartford is finally built and looking for tenants.  But the project took years to materialize, and now it's in court.

Front Street is a publicly-subsidized development that was geared to attract area people to downtown Hartford and the adjacent Connecticut Convention Center.  Here’s how George Royster puts it. He's an attorney for the state:

“Because people coming to Hartford with no place to go would not be likely to return to the convention center or the hotel if they had no entertainment or retail or places to eat.”

Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra is taking the city's schools superintendent to task for issuing a series of bonuses to district employees. Segarra says he understands the bonuses total about $2.7 million -- a figure that seemed to frustrated the mayor of this cash-strapped city. In a letter to Superintendent Steven Adamowski, Segarra said he wants to know why these bonuses were issued, what criteria was used in a awarding them, and who approved them.

Jeff Cohen/WNPR

(photo: Hartford.gov)

The long-vacant hotel at the center of downtown Hartford's Constitution Plaza may soon have a new use. The city says the hotel commonly known as the Sonesta has sat vacant for at least a decade.  Now, a New York-based development groups says it plans to buy the building this week, invest as much as $20 million dollars, and turn the building into high-end apartments.

Joseph Klaynberg runs Wonder Works Construction and Development.  He says this will be his first investment property in Hartford.

A state court judge said she would not immediately rule on the lawsuit brought by Republican Martha Dean that tries to disqualify Democrat George Jepsen from the race for attorney general. Dean filed suit earlier this week claiming that Jepsen didn’t have the required legal experience to serve as attorney general.

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