Good newspapering - as one senior editor put it - has lost a legend with the sudden death of Mike Cohen in Johannesburg. Cohen, 55, died of double pneumonia in a Johannesburg hospital Tuesday.
Former newspaper colleagues Robin Parker, Johann Potgieter, Henrie Geyser (at back) and the late Mike Cohen.
In various tributes which have flowed in on Facebook pages dedicated to newspaper journalism's colourful editorial characters of the '70s and '80s, former colleagues expressed their shock at his untimely passing.
"Legend of headlines and crime beat" was how he was described by Lucille Parker, writing from the UK. "Devastated to hear about Mike, a man of wonderful talent and generosity who was always fantastic to be around," said Bruce Heilbuth, a former Cape Argus
colleague now resident in Sydney. Sadness was also expressed by Jo Tyler and Johann Potgieter.Entire life in journalism
Cohen had spent his entire adult life in journalism pursuing his love for news. He made a name for himself when he took over the crime beat on The Star
in the late 1970s. He developed a strong bond with the then SAPS and was guaranteed to scoop his colleagues because of his commitment to his role. During this time he covered the rampaging Stander gang and eventually co-authored a book on the subject.
He later moved to Cape Town for a short while before returning to his beloved Johannesburg.
He left newspapers in 1996 to join the Internet world and became the first editor of iafrica.com
, where he laid the foundation for high quality editorial content and immediacy.
Latterly, Cohen had worked as deputy news editor of Johannesburg daily The Citizen
A memorial service is planned for him in Johannesburg tomorrow, Friday, 29 July 2011.
He leaves behind a former wife, Linda, and daughter Katie.