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Sleepy Hollow's Scott Cohn Marks 25th Year With CNBC Cable News

Scott Cohn
Scott Cohn Photo Credit: Contributed/NBC Universal

SLEEPY HOLLOW, N.Y. -- Sleepy Hollow's Scott Cohn, a senior correspondent and lead investigative reporter at CNBC cable news, celebrates 25 years with the network where he is a founding member.

Cohn, who also appears on "NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams," "The Today Show" and on MSNBC is a three-time Emmy nominee and a two-time CableACE nominee.

With cable networks already established to compete with "free" television, Cohn said he could foresee today's era of 24/7 news when  the network hit the air in April 1989.

"NBC Chairman Bob Wright knew the days of a single network with just a morning and evening newscast were over," Cohn said. "CNBC was NBC’s first big step out of the old network model, and the rest of the industry would soon follow. But it was already clear in ’89 that 24-hour news was coming."

Cohn said social media has multiplied all media and was not as predictable.

"The World Wide Web was still a couple years away, personal computers were still few and far between, and cell phones were still the size of bricks," he said. "It is hard to fathom now, but 1989 technologically seems like the Dark Ages."

Cohn has reported some of CNBC's most acclaimed documentaries, including "Billions Behind Bars: Inside America's Prison Industry," which received a 2012 Edward R. Murrow Award from the Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA). He covered Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath from New Orleans for CNBC and NBC News in 2005.

The new and more immediate news offers journalist the ability to broadcast in the moment.

"We don’t have to wait for the 6 o'clock news to report what we know," he said. "The other big change is that there is no longer such a thing as a “TV reporter.” When I report a story, I’m telling it on TV, online, on social media. Yes, that means a lot of multi-tasking. But to be able to tell a story on so many platforms is like being able to speak multiple languages -- all at once. Sometimes a little terrifying, but mostly really exciting."

Cohn leads CNBC's coverage of white collar crime and legal affairs. His coverage of the Bernard Madoff scandal earned a 2010 Loeb Award for breaking news coverage. The veteran reporter also covered the Enron and WorldCom scandals, including the landmark trials of the companies' chief executives.

Like many newsies, Cohn was hooked on journalism early on.

"I went to a large high school outside Chicago, and as it happened we had a student-operated FM radio station," Cohn said. "I got involved on a whim as a freshman, and I caught the bug."

Before joining CNBC, Cohn was an anchor and reporter for ABC affiliate WZZM in Grand Rapids, Mich.

A native of Chicago, Cohn holds a degree in journalism from the University of Wisconsin, where he currently serves on the advisory board of the Center for Journalism Ethics. In 2005, the University honored him with its annual award for Distinguished Service to Journalism.

Now a suburban New Yorker, Cohn and his family have found the Westchester lifestyle a great balance to the demands of 21st century manic media.

"We love the beauty of Sleepy Hollow, Tarrytown and the Hudson Valley," Cohn said. "There’s so much to see and do, and so much of it that you can walk to -- great restaurants, scenic trails, and terrific people along the way. Plus, Manhattan and CNBC are very easy to reach. All in all, it is a very nice place to call home."

Follow Scott Cohn on Twitter @ScottCohnCNBC.

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