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SANEF mourns the passing on of the Citizen news editor Amanda Watson

7 (2)

08 May 2024

“News was her life – she hated taking leave – and The Citizen was her passion.”

These are the words of Trevor Stevens, editor at The Citizen on the untimely passing of the newspaper’s news editor, Amanda Watson.

Amanda passed away on Tuesday, after a short illness. She was 56. Her colleagues have described her as “the heart and soul” of The Citizen newsroom.

Trevor further wrote, in an obituary published by the newspaper, that they were blessed to have someone who was a newsperson through and through.

He said Amanda was a fantastic news editor who over the years did the job of two to three people as newsrooms shrink. Due to her hard work, she made the work of those around her easier, and critically, that paper is accurate, fair, and on top of the news agenda.

Amanda joined The Citizen in 2013, having previously worked at Caxton publications, the North Eastern Tribune, and the Randburg Sun. She quickly worked her way up to senior reporter, deputy news editor, and then news editor.

Trevor said Watson realised her calling was to train young journalists – and even teach a few of the older “newspeople” a thing or two. She nurtured young and experienced journalists alike, and never let go of a story until it is seen through all the way.

He said the newspaper received tributes from far and wide ranging from journalists within The Citizen to past colleagues and people she had made an impact on over the years in covering stories or working with.

The messages always had one clear thread running through them – care and patience for those who crossed her path. As one journalist recalled: “Mistakes were allowed to be made, just make sure you learn from them.”

The Citizen’s deputy editor, Brendan Seery, described Amanda as a “news editor’s news editor – driven and hard with a sixth sense about news, yet, at the same time, fair and with an ear for the stories of the underdog and the downtrodden”.

“She lived for news, well aware that our craft would never allow us to retire on the proverbial paradise island.

Amanda won many internal awards at The Citizen, winning the columnist of the quarter last month for her witty, yet insightful columns.

SANEF extends its heartfelt condolences to her family, friends, and the entire media fraternity during this time of deep loss.

Note to Editors:

The South African National Editors’ Forum (SANEF) is a non-profit organisation whose members are editors, senior journalists, and journalism trainers from all areas of South African media. We are committed to championing South Africa’s hard-won freedom of expression and promoting quality, ethics, and diversity in the South African media. We promote excellence in journalism by fighting for media freedom, writing policy submissions, research, and education and training programmes. SANEF is not a union.

For more information, please contact:

Sbu Ngalwa – SANEF Chairperson (073) 404-1415

Nwabisa Makunga – SANEF Deputy Chairperson (082) 555-1972

Dr. Glenda Daniels – SANEF Secretary-General (083) 229-9708

Tshamano Makhadi – Treasurer-General (082) 223-0621

Makhudu Sefara – SANEF Media Freedom Chair (079) 177-2134

Katy Katopodis – SANEF Wellness and Safety Chair (082) 805-7022

Judy Sandison – SANEF KZN Convenor (082) 571-3334

Rochelle De Kock – SANEF Eastern Cape Convenor (072) 969-8028

Reggy Moalusi – SANEF Executive Director (071) 682-3695

Twitter: @SAEditorsForum

Email: [email protected]

Website: www.sanef.org.za