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Ask the Expert

Signal Photos

 

Dan Watson returns as photo editor

Veteran hails from four generation documenting local news

Posted: January 27, 2009 9:14 p.m.
Updated: January 28, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Dan Watson

 
Veteran photojournalist and former Signal chief photographer Dan Watson has returned to the Santa Clarita Valley's only local newspaper to head up the photo department.

Watson, a resident of Castaic, served The Signal as photojournalist from 1998 to 2003. He has also worked for the Daily News of Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Times Community News Glendale News Press/Burbank Leader, ABC-TV and the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History.

"I love community news," Watson said. "I like the excitement of covering community events, youth sports and breaking news. I am happy to be back. Every day is a new day."

"Dan's vast photojournalistic experience will be a boon to The Signal as we move ahead in building a more vital and relevant newspaper," said Managing Editor Lila Littlejohn.

Watson is a fourth-generation photographer whose family tree includes 10 photographers. Nearly every major news story in Los Angeles during the past century has been documented by one of the Watsons.

Watson's great-uncle George R. Watson was the first staff photographer hired by the Los Angeles Times.

Among George R. Watson's many photo assignments for the Times was the failure of the St. Francis Dam in Francisquito Canyon on March 12, 1928.

Water from the burst dam raced down the Santa Clara River channel, flooding surrounding communities and killing nearly 500 people. George R. Watson shot rare aerial photos of the disaster, documenting the flood victims, debris fields and remains of the dam.

It was the second-worst disaster in California history after the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.

Dan Watson's father, Garry A. Watson, worked from 1946 until 1986 as a photojournalist at the Times and the Daily News. He also worked as a commercial photographer.

A great-uncle, Coy Watson Sr., was a special-effects pioneer in early film, and Dan Watson's father, uncles and aunts were well known as famous child actors. The family was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1999.

Watson and wife Candy have two grown daughters, Missy and Jennie. Their daughters are graduates of Valencia High School.

His wife has worked for Wells Fargo for 16 years.

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