After taking a stab at Congress last year, Alan Cohn is revisiting his more-familiar career: investigative journalism.
WWSB-TV, Sarasota’s ABC affiliate, announced the longtime Tampa Bay reporter, and former congressional candidate, will lead a new 7 p.m. newscast with a political slant.
According to Cohn, “ABC 7 News at 7:00” will center on long-form reporting on a topic of the day, including live, round-table discussions with community leaders, legislators and news-makers.
“We’re going to do news headlines to catch people up who may not be home by 6 p.m.,” Cohn said in an email to Florida Politics. “But then we’re going to be doing a daily three- to five-minute in-depth story on a local, regional, or statewide issue.”
Cohn added that the show will give reporters time and resources to develop stories that are investigative in nature, to provide “a deeper dive on important issues that local television stations rarely take time to cover.”
The new show premieres Sept. 14.
“We, as a company, believe strongly in localism and have expanded our commitment to providing quality news and local programming,” said Jeff Benninghoff, vice president of broadcast for ABC 7’s parent company, Calkins Media. “We believe that this 7 p.m. newscast will provide the perfect forum for more in-depth reporting — and debate — on important issues and stories in the Suncoast community.”
Cohn, best known for his work at WFTS-Ch. 28 in Tampa, will lead a team of ABC 7’s veteran anchors and reporters – many with long-standing ties to the community – who will also contribute to “ABC 7 News at 7:00.”
“We are very excited to provide more local news for the Suncoast audience,” said Steve Sabato, Director of News and Digital Content. “‘ABC 7 News at 7:00’ will give us the ideal platform to better serve working professionals, and others, who may not be available for our early evening newscasts.”
Prior to joining ABC 7, Cohn was an investigative reporter at WFTS-TV in Tampa; WTNH-TV in New Haven, Connecticut; WAMI-TV in Miami; and New England Cable News in Boston. In 2007, he won a George Foster Peabody award for a series uncovering defective parts installed on Black Hawk helicopters. Cohn also won several awards for investigative reporting, including Emmys and a Florida Associated Press award.
In 2014, Cohn campaigned to unseat incumbent Lakeland Republican Dennis Ross in Florida’s 15th Congressional District, which covers Hillsborough and Polk counties, Lakeland, Plant City, New Tampa and Bartow.