Benjamin Cohen (journalist)

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Benjamin Cohen

Benjamin Cohen (born 14 August 1982) is a journalist based in London. He became known for his dot.com enterprises as a teenager and for a dispute with Apple computers over the domain itunes.co.uk. From 2006 until 2012 he was technology correspondent for Channel 4 News in the UK.[1] Cohen has a diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis/MS.[2] He campaigns on gay and disabled rights and is now the publisher of Pink News, executive director of public relations firm Clarity PR[3] and regularly writes for the London Evening Standard.[4]

Early life[edit]

In 1998, at the age of sixteen, Cohen started the Jewishnet.co.uk website, an early social networking community which later became soJewish.com, with GB£150, and floated it on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) ten months later.[5] The company controlling the website, which Cohen had a 10–15% stake in, along with investors, was valued at £5 million in September 1998.[5] The Daily Telegraph reported that he exchanged his stake in this company to AIM-quoted Totally plc for £310,000 in an all-share deal; yet when Cohen later sold half of his stake, these shares were worth just £40,000.[6]

Business life[edit]

Cohen attracted media attention because of a legal dispute with Apple over the domain name iTunes.co.uk. In November 2000, two weeks after Apple lodged its UK trademark application for the term 'iTunes', Cohen's company CyberBritain Group registered the iTunes.co.uk domain name and redirected it to a music search engine.[7] Cohen's company's actions were considered to be "abusive" by the independent expert appointed by the arbiter Nominet and his company was required to transfer the domain name to Apple.[8] In 2001, Cohen was involved with a search engine for internet pornography (hunt4porn.com) which formed part of his CyberBritain.com internet portal. Cohen was reported as stating that CyberBritain company revenue was £12,000 per month at this time. The company filed a Companies House return showing a total yearly profit of £165 up to 31 March 2001.[6]

His Channel 4 News profile describes him as having been the youngest ever director of a public company. In 2006 he joined Channel 4 News as a technology correspondent at the age of 23, the youngest correspondent to have been appointed in the programme's history.[9] In summer 2012 he left Channel 4 News suddenly. No explanation was given by ITN, the owners of Channel 4 News. After leaving Channel 4 News, Benjamin was appointed executive director of public relations firm Clarity PR.

He writes for Pink News regularly, which he created in 2005.[10] Between 2004 and 2006, Cohen wrote a column on e-business for The Times under the heading "dot.com millionaire".

Charitable work[edit]

Cohen was diagnosed with Multiple sclerosis shortly after joining Channel 4 News.[2] [11] In 2010, he joined the board of trustees of the Nobel Peace Prize winning global disability charity, Handicap International.[12][13] He is also a trustee of the LGBT arts charity, Wise Thoughts.[14] and joined a ”it gets better” campaign.[15]

In May 2012, Cohen founded the Out4Marriage campaign for marriage equality in the United Kingdom which features politicians, religious leaders and celebrities explaining on YouTube videos why they support changing the law to allow gay couples to marry.[16]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Sharp, Rob (2006-08-20). "Question Time editor is TV's top young gun". London: The Observer. Retrieved 2009-02-14. 
  2. ^ a b Cohen: Breaking not making news, Disability Now
  3. ^ [1], Clarity.PR
  4. ^ Evening Standard author profile, Evening Standard website
  5. ^ a b "Schoolboy set for internet fortune". BBC News. 2000-01-06. Retrieved 2009-02-14. 
  6. ^ a b "BackTo The Real World - Whatever Happened To The Dotcom Whizzkids?". Daily Telegraph (UK) (London). 2002-03-02. Retrieved 2009-02-14. 
  7. ^ "Apple Computer Inc -v- CyberBritain Group Ltd -- Decision of Independent Expert". Nominet. Retrieved 2009-02-23. 
  8. ^ "Apple Computer Inc -v- CyberBritain Group Ltd -- Decision of Independent Expert". Nominet. Retrieved 2009-02-18. 
  9. ^ "Benjamin Cohen profile". Channel 4 News. Retrieved 2009-02-14. [dead link]
  10. ^ Cohen, Benjamin (4 January 2006), Comment: Can we tolerate homophobia for much longer?. Retrieved 16 November 2006.
  11. ^ "PinkNews- How PinkNews changed gay media". Pink News. 2007-07-30. Retrieved 2009-02-14. 
  12. ^ & Trustees, Handicap International
  13. ^ Staff & Trustees, Handicap International
  14. ^ http://www.wisethoughts.org/patrons.php Patrons, Wise Thoughts
  15. ^ It gets better
  16. ^ Out4Marriage website

External links[edit]