Tributes to ‘media champion’ Bob Satchwell after his death aged 73

Aine Fox, PA

Tributes have been paid after the death of a journalist described as “one of the media’s greatest champions”.

Bob Satchwell, founding executive director of the Society of Editors (SoE), died after developing pneumonia and Covid-19.

The 73-year-old had spent the last few weeks in hospital but did not respond to treatment and was in a hospice for the last week of his life before dying peacefully, his family said on Wednesday.

Mr Satchwell stepped down from the SoE due to illness in 2017.

Ian Murray, who took over from him as executive director, said Mr Satchwell was someone who had always fought for a free press.

He said: “I know I speak for the board and membership of the society when I say we have lost one of the media’s greatest champions.

“The principles of a free press ran through his veins.

“Bob was one of life’s great communicators and this gift made him superbly able to fight his many battles on behalf of the press.

Bob Satchwell and Jack Straw
Bob Satchwell (left) with Justice Secretary Jack Straw in 2009 (Society of Editors/PA)

“From Leveson to the creation of Ipso, from threats to Freedom of Information, to the countless other attempts to stifle free speech, Bob was always there in the fight.”

Mr Satchwell began his career as a reporter on the Lancashire Evening Post in 1970, went on to become assistant editor for the News of the World, and edited the Cambridge Evening News from 1984 to 1998.

His family said they were “devastated to lose a true character who was a loving father, brother, husband, son, grandfather and friend”.

They added: “Throughout his life Bob has fought and won many battles but is now resting peacefully with his beloved wife Michele.”

A memorial service is planned for later in the year, with details to be confirmed.