Meet Newhouse Alumnus, Joe Cohen, APR



Joe Cohen is a senior vice president at MWW, one of the top ten global independent public relations firms, where he has helped establish best practices while guiding communications, integrated marketing and digital/social media strategy for such major brands and organizations as Gold’s Gym International and 1-800-FLOWERS.COM.  Cohen currently serves as Chair-Elect of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), and will be formally appointed as the organization’s Chair and CEO in 2014.  A ’99 broadcast journalism graduate of the Newhouse School, Cohen has won numerous industry awards including 2010 “PR Team Leader of the Year” and recognition by PRWeek in 2006 on its list of “Ten Rising Stars.”  Cohen had every intention of going into broadcast after graduation, but he had the opportunity to work with MWW and decided to test it out.  His great experience ultimately led to what will be 14 years with the firm in August 2013.

Q: Why did you choose Newhouse?

Joe CohenA: Newhouse is one of the top communications schools in the country.  I made Newhouse my number one choice because of the caliber of the professors, as well as thinking about prestigious alumni who graduated in the past.  When I was a high school senior, it was said at Syracuse orientations that the University opens the door for tremendous networking opportunities.  So a great communications school, awesome athletics program and having a great social scene were all appealing to me.  Looking back, the caliber of education I received was terrific.  It was a tremendous experience.  Being a Syracuse graduate has opened doors and given me a connection point with many people.  As a hiring manager and employer, Syracuse has been a great place for us to recruit talent.  Some of our best employees come from the Newhouse School.

Going back to campus for PR day and connecting with alumni was great.  By being an active alum., you are making great connections all the time.  You can do that by remaining involved with Newhouse and keeping that connection fresh and alive.

Q: How did Newhouse help to get you where you are now?

A: For me, a breakthrough was my first internship.  Being a student in Newhouse helped me land that internship.  After that, I interned with Channel 2, WCBS New York and Z100 FM Radio.  The training and education I received from Newhouse helped put me in a good position to land professional employment after graduation.  A lot of the building blocks that serve the foundation of my writing and presentation skills were formed in Syracuse.  Learning the basics of how to carry and present myself all cultivated at Newhouse.

Q: What is your favorite part about working at MWW Group?

A: I love the people, and I love managing people.  Managing and leading a team is fun and exciting, especially when you have people who inspire you and are fun to work with.  That makes the job so much more rewarding.

I also love the creative process.  Social media has opened the door for a lot of creative opportunities.  It has given us a hand in content development.  You are able to put your creativity and imagination into your work.

Q: What is your favorite Newhouse memory?

A: My semester abroad in London is one of my favorites.  I took classes with Bob Lissit, one of best educators I’ve ever had.  Studying under him in London was a wonderful experience.  I vividly remember some of the projects we worked on in the U.K.  I learned a lot from a journalism standpoint, as well as from media and cultural standpoints.

I also very much enjoyed the opportunity to be a part of the broadcast classes we did where we would tape our own newscasts and radio shows.  The adrenaline from preparing an entire newscast was so much fun.  Being able to learn how to deliver messages concisely and present myself are skills I now use every day.

I had Sharon Hollenback, Hub Brown, Tina Press and Stephen Masiclat, as well, and had great experiences in their classes.  I took a graphic design elective course with Masiclat, and it has added so much value for me in my career.  I am able to communicate with people in creative design.  15 years later, I find myself using language I learned in that class when trying to articulate ideas and vision for projects to my creative team.

Q: Do you have any advice for Newhouse students?

A: Get as much real-world experience as you can while in college.  Make the investment to pursue internships.  Take advantage of your classes in Newhouse, as well as great professors like Maria Russell and Hub Brown.  In addition to that, nothing replaces real world experience.  Get different kinds of experiences.  If you are majoring in public relations, get an internship in journalism so you understand what’s happening on the other side.  Try to learn a little of everything to gain some perspective.