‘Citizen’ editor dies after long illness


There was an extraordinary silence on Tuesday morning The Citizen-news office reigned when the news broke that Amanda Watson, this newspaper’s news editor, had died at the age of 57.

Watson fell ill in August last year and died yesterday during a medical procedure in the Charlotte Maxeke academic hospital.

According to her partner, Kim Bernstein, Watson developed breathing problems, “and the doctors just couldn’t save her”.

“She will always be remembered for her caring heart and helpfulness towards others.

“When I was driving home from work at night, I was so excited to know that I was going to see her…how do I live without her now?”

The editor-in-chief of The CitizenTrevor Stevens, writes in a tribute to Watson that they were blessed to have her as news editor.

“She was a news person through and through. The Citizen was her passion and news was her life – she hated being on leave.”

Watson added in 2013 The Citizen joined. She previously worked at various news agencies, including Caxton, North Eastern Tribune and Randburg Sun.

According to Stevens, she quickly worked her way up to a senior reporter, deputy news editor and later news editor.

“Although she wanted to stay part of the action by reporting on news events herself, she realized that it was her calling to train young journalists – and even teach a few of the older news people a thing or two.”

Stevens says Watson was the “heart and soul of their newsroom”.

“Watson was nicknamed ‘fighter’ among her colleagues because she would always fight for her team – as well as for the readers – and would constantly fight to sniff out the truth for them.”

Tributes are pouring in from far and wide, says Stevens.

“It varies from journalists of The Citizento former colleagues and the hundreds of people on whom she made a great impression over the years.

“However, the tributes all have one clear message – she showed care and patience to everyone who crossed her path.”

The Citizen ‘s deputy editor, Brendan Seery, described Amanda as a “news editor of news editors”.

“She was a driven and hardworking person with a sixth sense for news. She was also fair and a voice for the left behind and the oppressed.

“There is a comment she once made that sums up her love for her job so well: ‘Please don’t ever tell the management, but I will pay them to do my job’.”

Marizka Coetzer, journalist at Caxton, says her heart is in pieces.

“Amanda was an icon in the media industry who was not afraid of anything. I have never heard a bad word about her. Everyone who knew her had a lot of respect and love for her – even though she also instilled fear in them.

“She was not only my editor, but my rock at work. If Amanda was on leave that day, I was simply upset – we really formed a formidable team – no story was impossible for us.

“Words cannot describe the void she leaves.”

Amanda has many internal awards The Citizen won, including columnist of the quarter last month “for her witty yet informative columns”.

Stevens says that although her role in the newsroom was leading, she was at her happiest in nature – especially in the Kruger National Park – covering environmental issues.

Stevens has on behalf of The Citizen express their deepest condolences to her family and friends. Her colleagues also lit a candle for her on her table yesterday.

“Amanda will be greatly missed, but her mentorship will live on in our journalists for years to come.”

In addition to Bernstein, Watson is survived by her two sons, Bryan and Brandon.

The funeral date and arrangements have yet to be finalized.