Get to know The DOAA Board: Alumni Representative Stephen Cohen (’99)
Our series on The Daily Orange Alumni Association Board of Directors continues with Alumni Representative Stephen Cohen (’99). Cohen was a member of the first incarnation of The D.O.A.A. Board, which was created in 2003 to coincide with the paper’s 100th anniversary. He also was part of a previous attempt to revive the board in 2011.
Cohen serves as senior managing director at Teneo Strategy, a business management consultant company in New York City.
The Daily Orange: What were some memorable experiences from your time as editorial editor for The Daily Orange?
Stephen Cohen: I’ll answer it more broadly: I spent the dramatic majority of my college career someway involved in The D.O. as a reporter, copy editor and editorial editor. … I think there are literally thousands of memories that I have, but some of the most distinct were my first transition and the first time being part of the history of the institution and the sort of orderly transition of leadership with the paper. The leadership and the editorial staff manages to successfully transition and then, as far as I know, almost entirely without vandalism.
The other really distinct memory I have must be: We had a massive storm that came to campus on Labor Day weekend and I had been home downstate for a wedding that weekend and came back Monday. We didn’t have a paper the next day because of school break, and overnight, this storm came in, and we lost power. Really, a very devastating storm and this is a time where, hard as it is to believe, we didn’t have cellphones, we didn’t have the ability to communicate.
I remember coming out of my apartment around 11 at night on Euclid Avenue and realizing that my staff has a story to cover and we spent the rest of the night walking campus and neighborhoods talking to people and telling stories. And as the sun came out, one of the things we had to figure out was how we were going to put out a paper with no one on campus at 744 Ostrom. But that was the plan; we would print the paper. And that was before there was a D.O. website, before there was any other way of doing it. I think we sort of divided-and-conquered and figured out how to print the paper and we worked with (former D.O. printer) Scotsman to print the paper in Binghamton. We drove the plates there ultimately, but we relocated the editorial hub of the paper in (Newhouse School) labs and dorm rooms that actually had power. We ran the paper there for a better part of a week. It was an adventure and we got the paper out every night.
The D.O.: What was your transition like from The Daily Orange and journalism to media communications?
S.C.: It’s been great. I love my journalism career and my time at SU and time at The Daily Orange but what I love about the career I have now is that all of the skills and instincts I learn in journalism, in college and subsequent to that, remained relevant: The ability to write, the ability to work on tight deadlines, the ability to see and tell stories in a cohesive cognitive way, the ability to cultivate and have relationships that are essential. So I believe my D.O. experience was the foundation for the work I do now.
The D.O.: You’ve seen The D.O.A.A. evolve through the years, come in and fade out — why is it important The D.O.A.A. stays around?
S.C.: I would say two things. First: to have an alumni population that is engaged and able to support the long-term strategy of The Daily Orange as a corporation is really a great benefit to the paper. I say that knowing whether or not alumni are involved, I believe the paper can still survive and thrive.
But I think that if we as alumni find a way to support the institution and the people that lead it in its current form and current day, we can make it stronger with the benefit of our collective experiences and relationships. I think for people who gain so much from The Daily Orange, it’s an opportunity for all of us to contribute to its continued success.
The D.O.: You’ve been helping to get The D.O.A.A. registered as a 501(c)3? How’s that going?
S.C.: It’s good. Like any bureaucratic process, it is time consuming. But I think it is important for the association to have the infrastructure and the protection to operate as a corporation, and a nonprofit corporation at that, so that it can effectively raise funds for The Daily Orange when appropriate, but also be a networking tool for alumni who can continue to benefit from each other.
The D.O.: How do you think people can help make The D.O.A.A. better?
S.C.: I think the only thing I’d add is these kinds of organizations are only as strong and only have the wherewithal of the people that engage with it. Without question, people are busy and have commitments on their time, money and other things that are in the here and now. But for this organization to have a lasting impact and wherewithal to be a resource to both The Daily Orange and its alumni, it’s really important that folks are willing to commit their time and energy to its success.
Published on May 5, 2017 at 9:05 pm