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Reporter Alan Cohn returns to investigative journalism with WWSB-TV newscast

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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 newsmakers.

“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 3-5-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 Monday, September 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, Conn.; 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 had 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.

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.

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