NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Press and Journal farming editor Joe Watson dies

Joe Watson Image copyright PA
Image caption Joe Watson became the P&J's farming editor in 1996

The Press and Journal's award-winning agricultural editor Joe Watson has died at the age of 43.

Mr Watson joined the regional newspaper as a young reporter after first working at his home town's weekly paper, the Turriff Advertiser, in Aberdeenshire.

A former pupil and prefect at Turriff Academy, he became the Press and Journal's farming editor in 1996.

Editor-in-chief Damian Bates said Mr Watson had been a "brilliant journalist".

He said: "Joe was a beautiful human being, a gentle giant and a skilled reporter who knew his subject inside and out.

"I can't believe he's been taken from us - we're all heartbroken."

Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead offered his condolences to Mr Watson's family, friends and colleagues.

He said: "I am shocked and saddened to hear that we have lost Joe Watson and, like so many people, I can't quite believe that he's no longer with us.

"I have known and worked with Joe for over 20 years since his days as a local reporter and in his role as the Press and Journal's farming man."

In a tribute, the Scottish Farmer magazine described Mr Watson as a hard working, campaigning journalist who had not been afraid to ask awkward questions.

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