New Times Publisher Returns to NY Press

Michael Cohen rejoins mentor Russ Smith; former NY Press ad director replaces Cohen in Miami.

In the latest instance of AAN musical chairs, Michael Cohen, publisher of Miami New Times, has accepted the same position at his old stomping ground, the New York Press. Cohen will take over on Nov. 1. He replaces Michael O’Hara, who left the paper in May.

Meanwhile, taking Cohen’s place in Miami is Jill Muller, who was ad director of the New York Press as recently as 1997. Muller could not be reached for comment, although her voicemail message confirmed that she is the paper’s new publisher.

Russ Smith, editor-in-chief and founder of the Press, first hired Cohen in 1983 as an entry-level ad rep at Baltimore City Paper, which was then owned by Smith and his former partner Alan Hirsh. In 1988, after selling his Baltimore paper, Smith brought Cohen with him to New York as ad director when he launched the Press. Cohen left the Press in 1992 to become publisher of NewMass Media’s Fairfield County Weekly, and later served briefly as publisher of Philadelphia Weekly before joining the New Times chain.

This is the second time Smith has poached Miami New Times ‘ ranks for a new publisher. In the mid-90’s he hired Ron Mann, who was then serving as ad director of the South Florida paper.

“The New York-Miami connection is a natural one: they’re the only two cities in the United States that are truly cosmopolitan,” Smith told AAN News via e-mail. “L.A.? Too phony. Boston? Too parochial. Chicago? Too flat. D.C.? Too many journalists and politicians with weird agendas.

“Naturally, New Times has scooped most of [the good publishers] up,” Smith wrote. “Michael, after five years in Miami, wanted to return to New York. … He’s also the best salesman I’ve ever known in this business.”

In addition to his sales acumen, Smith noted that Cohen possessed another qualification that was almost certainly vital to his hiring: “(H)e has a healthy dislike of the (NY Press competitor) Village Voice.”

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