George Watson, Former ABC News Washington Bureau Chief, Has Died

George Watson, former Washington bureau chief at ABC News
(Image credit: ABC News)

George Watson, former ABC News Washington bureau chief and vice president, died June 1. He was 86. ABC News did not mention the cause of death, but said it was peaceful. 

Watson was managing editor of The Harvard Crimson while at Harvard University, and got his master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University. 

He arrived at ABC News as a radio news writer in 1962. He was a correspondent and bureau chief in Moscow and London, and his reporting for the 1971 ABC News documentary, Terror in Northern Ireland, won the Overseas Press Club Award for Best Foreign Affairs Documentary.  

After returning to the United States, Watson was named ABC News’s White House correspondent. Soon after, he became Washington bureau chief and VP, a role he held two different times, spanning 12 years. He also worked as vice president in New York, where he was the first network executive responsible for overseeing policies, standards and practices for news programs, and developed and produced Viewpoint, which Ted Koppel hosted. 

Watson spent a year at CNN when it launched in 1980 before returning to ABC News. He was also director of the Committee to Protect Journalists for a decade and a longtime member of the National Press Club.  

“Please join me in remembering George and honoring the lasting mark he made on journalism,” Kim Godwin, ABC News president, said in a memo to staff. 

Michael Malone

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.