Warren Watson, who was executive director of the Society of American Business Editors and Writers from 2009 to 2014, died Sunday at the age of 67.
Watson had been suffering from complications related to diabetes.
Watson was hired to relocate the SABEW headquarters office from the University of Missouri to Arizona State University’s Cronkite School in September 2009. He helped solidify SABEW’s finances during times that were tough for many journalism membership organizations hit hard by cutbacks in the industry.
SABEW’s membership rose from 3,200 to more than 4,000 during Watson’s tenure.
Watson helped organize and coordinate nine national SABEW conferences and expanded the group’s education offerings through grants from the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation, National Endowment for Financial Education, the McCormick Foundation and The Commonwealth Fund.
Before joining SABEW, Watson had been the director of J-Ideas, a journalism non-profit serving high-schoolers across the nation, since July of 2004. J-Ideas is based at Ball State University.
He was at the American Press Institute from 1998 to 2004, the last four years as a vice president and acting co-president. While there, he worked on the grant that established the Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism and organized and directed the institute’s annual business journalism seminars.
Watson was president of the Society of News Design in 2003 and editor of The American Editor, the magazine of the American Society of News Editors, in 2005-06. He had more than 25 years of experience at daily newspapers, mostly as an editor.
He held top news positions in Peabody, Mass.; Waterville, Maine; and Augusta, Maine. He also was managing editor of the Portland (Maine) Press Herald.