Homecoming alumni reunions: Lauren Cohn

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Homecoming alumni reunions: Lauren Cohn

John Mauro, Staff Writer

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Covering everything from presidents to the 2004 Olympics, Lauren Cohn ‘84 has reported about it all.

Cohn is a radio host and afternoon News Anchor at WLS-AM 890 in Chicago. She also works as a contributor, news anchor, and occasional host for the 5-7 John Howell Show, a show that covers the big news topics of the day, she said.

As a journalist, Cohn reports on day to day news. She looks at the stories of the moment, in terms of both Chicago metropolitan area and national news, and builds it into a newscast, Cohn said.

Cohn was offered an unpaid internship at WABCTV in New York during her junior year at New York University. “My mother, the PR Director for Macy’s, was concerned that I wasn’t picking a direction for my career,” she said. Because of Cohn’s loved both photography and reading, her mother though she should try and marry the two ideas together, she said.

“I walked into WABC’s newsroom, and immediately the energy of the room, all the information being disseminated so quickly, it all just stuck with me. I was like a kid in a candy store,” Cohn said. “In those days, newsrooms had a lot of people. There were typewriters, cameramen, reporters, and pictures up of satellite interviews from all over the world. It was the coolest thing I had ever seen.”

Cohn then moved on to become a desk assistant and researcher at WPIX in New York, she said. Afterwards, she covered news on live air in Fresno, California.
Cohn has worked in this specific field for 32 years, and an important part of knowing what stories to pick comes from experience, she said.

“You choose the stories people want to know about, pick the top three or four facts that you think are most important, without opinion, and give it to the listener. Your job is to inform and educate the listener.”

“I’ve covered everything from the 2004 Olympics, to major hurricanes, to situations with gunfire,” Cohn said.

Unlike a standard nine to five job, Cohn is constantly on call, twenty-four seven, from writing stories in the morning to working overnights. “I’m currently on air, every 15 minutes, straight from two to seven pm,” Cohn said. “There’s no such thing as a lunch break in the news business.”

Although difficult, the work is worth it for Cohn.The most rewarding part about her job is to hear people tell their stories, she said.

“The most rewarding part is the people I get to meet who trust me with the intimate parts of their lives,” Cohn said. “I tell their story. It’s my job to seek out the truth, report the facts and let the public decide. I’m really lucky that I’m one of those people who love what they do.”

Because much of her journalism career is based on writing and critical thinking, Cohn remembers her time at the school fondly because of the skills she learned and the memories she made, she said.

“Horace Mann teaches you to think and to write, two major components of what I do today, and I’ll always appreciate that,” Cohn said. “The curriculum challenges you, and you’re surrounded by a lot of bright students, but it’s worth it; once you get into college and into the workforce, you’ll have the skills you need.”

During her time at the school, Cohn also played basketball, field hockey, and softball. “Basketball was my high school highlight,” she said. “It was all about my relationship with my dad, who was a tremendous athlete He would come to my games, and after the games he would make me shoot one hundred free throws every time. He encouraged me to be my very best.”

Because Cohn’s family couldn’t afford the tuition, the school granted her financial aid, she said. The school helped give Cohn the confidence to follow her dreams and do what she really wanted to do, she said. “I hope other students are able to get what I got from the school.