50-year landmark with MD Helen Oldham
A stalwart local news reporter is this month celebrating fifty years of loyal service to a single weekly paper.
Margaret Watson started with the Dewsbury Reporter aged 17 and has since seen the paper undergo five decades of change – including eight different editors.
And the Reporter’s longest-serving journalist has been helping to celebrate another special anniversary – the Reporter’s 150th birthday in September – by writing nostalgia supplements during the year.
She now works part-time as features editor but in the past has also been chief reporter, news editor, assistant editor and deputy editor.
Margaret said: “It was a big thing for a local girl to be on a local paper and I chose to make my career on mine.
“I’ve been here for half a century and I’ve seen some of the biggest changes in the town and covered some of the biggest stories, but I never wanted to be editor.
“I wanted to still be able to get out in the community.”
Margaret is passionate about both the town and the paper and is well-known locally for her campaigning journalism.
She fought for Dewsbury Museum to stay in its current location and when it was moved to the town hall, fought for it to be moved back again.
She was told by colleagues to drop the campaign but instead, as news editor at the time, sent a reporter to the new location to count how many visitors it was getting.
After proving it was underused, the local council buckled and moved the museum back.
Margaret, who is also president of the town’s chamber of trade, said: “It just shows the power of the local paper and how it can be used.
“I’ve always felt privileged to work at the Reporter and I’ve always tried to look on the positive and I’ve always tried to be fair.
“I’d like to be remembered as a campaigning journalist who had fought vigorously for Dewsbury.”