Executive Vice President of Communications, Arnold Ventures
Jeff Cohen oversees Arnold Ventures’ media portfolio. Before joining the foundation, he spent more than 40 years as a reporter and editor.
Arnold Ventures provides grants to more than 60 communications endeavors. The majority of investments are designed to increase reporting capacity in three areas: investigative journalism, groups that cover policy in state capitals, and single subject websites that dovetail with the foundation’s research interests.
Before concentrating solely on nonprofit journalism, Jeff was Arnold Ventures’ executive vice president of communications and led a team responsible for the foundation’s communication strategies that helped turbocharge the transition of research into policy and the philanthropy’s branding, digital channels, social media, and news and media outreach.
He joined Arnold after many years of editing his hometown newspaper, the Houston Chronicle. The Chronicle’s Sunday circulation peaked at more than 800,000 during his tenure and was a catalyst of change in Houston and Texas. On his watch, the Chronicle newsroom accomplished significant and award-winning journalism on topics of particular interest to the people of Houston, including immigration, the border, environmental pollution, criminal justice, hurricanes, NASA, and judicial corruption. In other assignments during his career at the Hearst Corporation, Jeff was editor-in-chief of the Albany Times-Union, worked in the New Media offices at the chain’s New York office, and rose to managing editor of the San Antonio Light, where he began his career as a cub reporter on the sports desk covering the San Antonio Spurs.
Jeff was named the “Ben Bradlee Editor of the Year” by the National Press Foundation in 2008. He was a fellow in the Multicultural Management Program at the University of Missouri School of Journalism and completed another fellowship at the Newspaper Management Center at Northwestern’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management. A graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, Jeff is a past president and life member of UT’s College of Communication Advisory Council and a recipient of the college’s Robert C. Jeffery Benefactor Award. He was a member of the accrediting committee of The Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications, the agency responsible for the evaluation of professional journalism and mass communications programs in colleges and universities. He has been a Pulitzer juror on six occasions, and journalists in his newsroom have been Pulitzer finalists. He currently serves on the board of the American Journalism Project.
While in college, Jeff took note of the watchdog reporters at the Washington Post and CBS News who changed the course of the United States by pursuing the truth. Those journalists inspired him to make a career in the news business. Jeff also admired his journalism professors at the University of Texas who demanded fairness, accuracy, and balance each day. Journalism was then and is now a craft, he believes, that aligns with the core mission of Arnold Ventures to maximize opportunity and minimize injustice.
On the weekends, when he’s not trying to perfect his mother’s fried chicken recipe, Jeff attempts to wear out the chain on a mountain bike exploring far-flung neighborhoods in the Houston-Galveston area. He is married to Houston attorney Kathryn Kase.