Stanley E. Cohen, consumer journalist, dies at 93

Stanley E. Cohen, who, as Washington editor of Advertising Age magazine for 42 years, was one of the first journalists to focus on issues affecting consumers and truth in advertising, died May 6 at Sibley Memorial Hospital in the District. He was 93.

The cause was renal failure, his son Daniel Cohen said.

Mr. Cohen, who lived in Chevy Chase, began his career in 1942 with Broadcasting magazine and came to Washington a year later to join Advertising Age, a weekly publication that covers advertising, marketing and media. He was named Washington editor in 1945 and later became a vice president of the magazine’s parent company, Crain Communications.

Mr. Cohen was among the first journalists in Washington to cover the consumer movement led by Ralph Nader and was known for his sharply written columns that emphasized truth in labeling and advertising. He sometimes criticized the advertising industry itself and admonished companies not to mislead the public.

Howard Bell, founder of the National Advertising Review Council, told Advertising Age that Mr. Cohen was “the most knowledgeable and influential reporter on advertising issues at a time of major criticism by government and consumer groups.”

In 1979, Mr. Cohen was elected to the Hall of Fame of the Washington chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. He retired in 1987.

Stanley Edward Cohen was born Oct. 21, 1919, in Albany, N.Y., and was a 1941 graduate of Cornell University. He received a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University in 1942.

He was a member of a national food and drug advisory council in the 1960s and served on the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s consumer affairs committee from 1973 to 1978.

Mr. Cohen had been a member of the National Press Club since 1943. As chairman of its speakers committee, he was instrumental in bringing such notable leaders as Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos to speak at the club.

Mr. Cohen also had many letters to the editor published in The Washington Post.

He was a past member of Temple Sinai in Washington.

His first wife, Marjorie Barth Cohen, died in 1974 after 30 years of marriage. Their daughter, Sarah Betsy Fuller, died in 2004.

Survivors include his wife of 35 years, Esther Delaplaine of Chevy Chase; two sons from his first marriage, Edward B. Cohen of Washington and Daniel A. Cohen of Silver Spring; five stepchildren; 13 grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

Mohana Ravindranath

and Matt Schudel

Mohana Ravindranath covers IT and small business for the Washington Post and its weekly Capital Business publication.
Matt Schudel has been an obituary writer at The Washington Post since 2004.
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